This is the number one question that I get from Newbies.

In all my years in this business, I have never seen one company who truly is “the best” for every nurse.  Nurses are all different, and although several companies do a great job at providing a good quality choice, I have yet to meet the ultimate, perfect-for-everyone company.

As a nurse, the first thing that you must do is to make a list of your priorities.  What are the most important things in your career?  What things would be nice, but you could live without?  Finally, what things are just icing on the cake?

One of the top things to look for in a travel company is their size! 

Larger companies tend to have the greatest number of jobs, but you might get lost in the shuffle and feel like just a number instead of a name.  In all probability, the receptionist in a large company will not recognize your voice, although you might have worked for the same company for over a year.

With a medium-sized company, you could get the best of both worlds:  a good selection of assignments with great personalization.

In a smaller company, they may all take turns answering the phones, but after a fairly small amount of time they will more than likely all know your voice on the phone.  You may not have the exact location that you want, but they will go the extra mile to get you a nearly perfect location.  Most travel companies started out small but the future of these travel nursing companies tend to be bright.

You can’t travel down the highway of nursing happiness without a map.  First you need to take time out and list everything that you want in a travel company.  

1. Why are you traveling?  Adventure, money, near family, looking for a new place to live permanently?

2. What benefits are you looking for?  Do you need insurance or want a 401K with company match?

3. What type of recruiter are you looking for?  One that is talkative, one that is quiet, or one that is just honest.

4. What type of hospital are you looking for?  Teaching, non-teaching, Level 1 Trauma, small ER, large OR, or specialty hospital?

5. What type of city are you looking for?  Inner city with public transportation, suburban with a lot of things to do, or the peace of rural or small town setting.  What about the beach or the mountains?

One of the most important things you must ask yourself when choosing an assignment is, “Which company can help me out the best.”

After you figure out what you are looking for, you need to know which company can help you the best.

1.  First you might check the Ultimate List of Travel Nursing Companies on, which lists most of the travel companies and their benefits. 

2. Ask others at travel nursing forums, such as our Travel Nursing Newbies Facebook group, about what others think about the company that you are interested in.

3. You might also check out the Top Ten Travel Nursing Companies on

4. Yet, another option would be to get a coach at

Having a travel nursing agent is a new idea taken from the old fashioned idea of a romance match making service and applying it to matching up nurses with the right company.

With this new concept, I have created a service that goes far beyond the conventional matchmaking service in that I offer my clients education on the lifestyle of travel nursing, what to look for in an assignment, and what to look for in a travel nursing agency.  Agencies are not only matched on benefits and salary, but every attempt is made to find the perfect recruiter according to personality. 

Now make your list and get out there and get on the road!

Written by Kay Slane, RN, BSed, CGM (Certified Grad-level Nursing Management) Matriarch of Travel Nursing. The CEO of Highway Hypodermics®, LLC, the longest-running travel nursing website by a traveling nurse. Author of “Highway Hypodermics: Travel Nursing 2019.”


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