One of the hottest topics during the last two years at the Healthcare Staffing Summit has been the nurses using computers to find their perfect assignment, and are recruiters needed?

This article started out with the topic of working as an independent contractor/1099 employee, but I soon realized that there are NOT many companies that are being “warehouse databases.” The trend now is for nurses to build their profile and then submit themselves to assignments through an application. Especially in the per diem world, the nurse can pick and choose the hospital, days/nights, and hours that they work.

But first, exactly what is a 1099 Employee or “Independent Contractor.” According to IRS Publication, “Independent Contractor Defined,” the general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done. The earnings of a person who is working as an independent contractor are subject to Self-Employment Tax. When I looked at Indeed and Simply Hired, I didn’t find many travel nursing 1099 contractor jobs, but the ones that I did find were for insurance assessments, home IV services, a PICC line nurse, and an Ambulance Critical Care Transport (CCT) nurse. Since I couldn’t find too many direct independent contractor jobs, next I looked for agencies that supplied those type of assignments.

When I first started travel nursing, back in 2003, there were a few companies, including Hospital Support, that showed a database of job locations on a website and you could contact the owner of the website for the information to apply for the 1099 job. He took like 10% for the listing, and the rest was the nurses. This service ended in 2009. So what is out there now? I did NOT find a company that does 1099s, but I did see a few that had an app for that, and the recruiter job was taken to a minimal level.

The first one that I found was CareRev. They work through a phone app. After signing up, they get your credentials setup and check your references then you pick the shifts that you want. There is no contract. This is all per diem work. You can work as much or as little as you want. You log your time into the app, and then you get paid twice a week. They are in hundreds of medical centers, hospitals, and ambulatory surgery center, but only in California, Florida, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. This would be an excellent option for those living in those areas who want to pick up some extra hours.

Another one that we found that does per diem and you get connected by a phone app is NurseFinders, which is a division of AMN Healthcare. The big difference with NurseFinders is that they have access to the most extensive network of qualified clinicians across the country and specialize in matching per diem nurses, allied healthcare professionals, and non-clinical support staff in 34 states. Although this gives you great options for non-contract employment, you are a W-2 employee.

Next, we visited Trusted Health. With their services you set your work preferences, personalize your profile, and get job matches in real time. They are upfront with their pay packages and give you the best deal the first time. They are well known for the trusted support system. The onboarding process consists of creating a profile, finding your perfect match, applying for the job you want, and then they walk you through the onboarding process to make it very easy for you. Although you do have the freedom to find your own assignment without much help, we found that you will be a W-2 employee.

When we inquired about R-Visions, this is what their COO, Mel Johnson, wrote to us, “We keep our margins low (usually less than half of competing W2 agencies) and while with us, we provide advanced weekly pay, all invoicing/payroll and contract paperwork, nationwide contracts and loads of personalized help with maximizing yearly tax savings, expense reporting, and other pertinent info. The vast majority of travelers that have worked with us over the last 15 years tend to have at least a few years behind them, so they are quick to notice when earnings increase. Most travelers have unreimbursed expenses that go far beyond the normal housing stipends that we are offered. Our nurses still get all these usual stipends to write-off and are still able to add all additional expenses to this list. There’s also a new 20% small business deduction which provides even more incentive and potential profits at the end of each year! It’s not for everyone, but I think what has kept us around for so many years is the fact that my partner and I are travel nurses ourselves and we believe in TOTAL transparency. Travelers that are new to us suddenly get a to see so all these things that have been carefully hidden away from them for so long! The knowledge that each traveler takes away from their assignments with us is something they can use for the rest of their career! Our motto is that an educated nurse that can better represent themselves in each and every situation is an awesome and powerful thing!!”

I would NOT recommend this for a first time traveler, but in that first assignment you learn so much, that I would look at using one of these services for your second assignment. Put some more money in your pocket!

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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