How to Start a Travel Nursing Agency

by Linda Ray; Updated September 26, 2017

A travel nursing agency acts as a staffing firm for hospitals, clinics, private practices and homebound patients, bringing in nurses from various locations to fill the local needs. Traveling nurses move from place to place to respond to shortages, work temporary assignments and fill in long-term assignments in growing areas. Many nurses prefer to work through an agency where they can pick and choose their own hours, change pace by working in a variety of settings and increase their experience in varying fields of medicine.

Items you will need

  • Bonds and insurance
  • Business license
  • Healthcare facility contracts
  • Nurses
Step 1

Get a business license from your secretary of state's office and check with the state health department to find out what other kinds of licenses are required. The kind of license will depend on the level of services your company will provide. Nurses typically work as independent contractors and carry their own licenses. Check that all nurses have up-to-date credentials for the state in which they will work.

Step 2

Work with an insurance carrier such as Nurses Service Organization (see Resources) that specializes in providing insurance for nurse staffing agencies to make sure you get the proper coverage for each contract that you take on. Expect to pay high premiums for bonds and insurance coverage to obtain licenses for the various states in which you plan to operate.

Step 3

Invest in software to help manage the business and follow compliance rules for medical coding for billing purposes. Programs such as Nursing Agency Package and Nursing Agency Backoffice provide time management, medical coding for billing and other vital business platforms.

Step 4

Post open positions on sites such as Travel Nursing (see Resources) to build a ready staff of nurses willing to travel and work in the areas in which you've landed contracts. Use Craigslist to post job openings in other areas at no cost. Ask nurses for referrals to other nurses who may be interested in other opportunities. Make sure that nursing schools have your information and pass it on to graduating students.

Step 5

Contact hospitals, nursing homes and home health agencies with brochures that explain how your company operates. Present them with a contract that lists all the services you provide, the timelines you can fill and the flexibility of your nurses. Encourage facilities to sign contracts with your company and keep them on file so that you can respond quickly to their temporary and urgent needs for nursing staff.

Tips

  • Join an organization such as the National Nurses in Business Association to network with other agency business owners looking for opportunities for partnerships.

Warnings

  • Perform thorough background checks on nurses because sometimes travel nurse agencies attract those registered and licensed nurses that don't always have the best records of reliability.

About the Author

Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."