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A recruiterless future?


September 14, 2022

Recruiter. Nurse Advocate. Nurse Navigator. Talent Coordinator. Hmm. There’s a lot of buzz about the “recruiterless” model in healthcare staffing.

What my recruiters have done for me over the years as a traveler is something tech can’t replace. When I entered the complex world of travel healthcare, I was fortunate to start working with a very strong network of recruiters. I’m not sure I would have survived without them.

What exactly defines a recruiter, though?

A strong recruiter educates you on complexities within the travel healthcare world. Goes the extra mile to secure the hard-to-get contract. Recommends career advancement opportunities. Provides interview guidance on how to stand out. Negotiates the best pay package and advises against the lousy ones. Protects you from nightmare hospitals. Calls the nurse manager to make sure you can make it to your best friend’s wedding during your second week on contract.

Strong recruiters identify your motivations for travel and suggest creative alternatives when initial plans don’t pan out. Sets realistic expectations about contract offers. Answers messages on a Saturday morning when your paycheck is late or incorrect. Mitigates scheduling issues with the facility. Offers support on your first day when, you can’t clock in, the EHR doesn’t recognize your credentials, your badge wont open doors and the charge nurse “didn’t know they had a traveler showing up today.

(insert your own here)

Rolling into a new city with no familiar faces, pulling into a hospital you just heard of last month, and meeting an entire unit of strangers can be daunting to say the least. Things never go perfectly, and my recruiter has always been there to solve problems when no one else can, or will. My recruiter is my teammate in an ever-changing healthcare arena.

It’s safe to assume that most healthcare professionals don’t want these aspects of the traveler-recruiter relationship to disappear, but this is just a fraction of their responsibilities.

Recruiters are also daunted by repetitive, labor-intensive tasks. They scrape lists of already inundated candidates. Cold call a hundred times a day. Lose precious time with tire-kickers. Wait on skills checklists. Have repetitive conversations. Repetitive conversations. Repetitive conversations. Copy/paste, parse, edit, and manually hack together talent profiles. Play phone tag with references. Sift through texts and emails to organize piles of documents. Beg for documents that are missing. Hope their agency avoids a data breach. Manipulate candidate profiles for various VMS/MSP submittals. Frantically keep track of when credentials expire. Remind us when those credentials expire.

They’re still waiting on that skills checklist.

Clearly, things need to change. Technology, however, is only part of the equation that will keep this industry moving forward. People and relationships remain at the heart of healthcare staffing. Removing them would be detrimental for everyone involved.

Nurse Advocate. Nurse Navigator. Talent Coordinator…Recruiter. Call them what you want, but they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. And we ought to be grateful for it.


John Modica, RN

John is a career travel nurse and co-founder of Kamana. He has spent over a decade working in healthcare, specializing in ER and PEDs.

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