Compliance can trip up even experienced travel nurses. The process has lots of moving parts and can be fraught with snags. To assist travel nurses in navigating the process, Healthcare staffing firms should provide a dedicated compliance team to help smooth out any bumps along the way.
To help you understand the nurse’s role in completing the compliance checklist, this article will define compliance, help you understand why compliance needs to be completed in a timely manner, and give you some tips on how to complete the process efficiently.
What is Compliance?
Compliance refers to the process of submitting a nurse’s pre-employment information to the hiring facility. The compliance process verifies that the nurse is who they say they are and has met the requirements for employment.
Compliance is the last piece of the puzzle before the nurse steps into the facility. Here is a breakdown of the three phases of obtaining a travel nurse assignment:
- The submission – the recruiter submits a nurse for a position at a facility.
- The interview/offer/acceptance – the nurse interviews with the facility; the facility contacts the agency with an offer of contract employment; the nurse accepts the assignment.
- Compliance – the submission/completion of pre-employment documentation/services.
Due to its time-sensitive nature, compliance is a critical part of the hiring process. The time from offer to start date is typically three weeks. Submitting your information a week or two in advance of beginning the assignment is the key to making a great first impression.
The compliance checklist generally includes:
- Identification documents: driver’s license, social security card, nursing license and certifications, proof of education
- CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) release form signed (background check)
- Immunization record, TB test, physical
- Drug screening
- Signed agreements
Why Is Timely Compliance Important?
A travel nurse assignment isn’t any different from your last staff job. Your employer needs certain information before you can step foot in their facility as an employee. Making sure the agency has the information in advance of your start date eliminates any surprises and allows time to deal with any missing or incomplete information.
Efficiently completing the compliance requirements puts you in good standing with not only your recruiter, but the hospital that offered you the assignment. The recruiter can tell you’re ready for the job and the hospital fills a staffing gap on time.
What can happen if you do not complete the compliance checklist on time? This scenario hurts everyone involved. Your start date may be pushed out costing you a week of pay. Worse yet you may no longer be eligible for the position, especially if you wait too long or refuse to submit all the requirements. The hospital may experience a staffing gap that directly affects patient care too. And changes to the contract can harm the relationship between your recruiting partner and the hospital.
What can you do to handle the compliance process efficiently? Glad you asked!
Tips for Efficiently Managing the Compliance Process
- Be proactive – Once you’ve accepted an assignment, immediately ask for the compliance checklist. The clock starts ticking with the offer. This is not the time to drag your feet.
- Plan how you’ll print documents. If you don’t have a printer, find one. Ask a friend or use the library, or head down to your nearest Staples store.
- Plan to have all documents and services (medical testing, vaccinations, etc.) completed at least one week before your start date.
- Be flexible when working with the compliance team to schedule any needed services, such as drug screening or updating immunizations. Get these on the calendar early so appointment issues can be dealt with before your start date.
- Respond quickly to all communications. Allow your phone to notify you of calls, texts, and emails from your agency.
- Ask questions early and often. There are no dumb questions when it comes to compliance. A good recruiter will be on your side. They want you to finish strong and succeed in your assignment.
- Reveal upfront anything the compliance team may encounter on the background check. This may be uncomfortable, but it’ll get any future surprises out of the way, and gives the team time to talk with you about the circumstances.
- Keep your compliance information organized. Put it in a physical folder and/or a clearly marked folder on your computer. Many of the requirements will carry over to future assignments, but some will not. Some will need to be periodically renewed. Having all of your information in one place makes it easy for you to complete future compliance processes quickly.
- Copy the recruiter when texting or emailing the compliance team. Everyone is busy. This redundancy ensures that important information doesn’t get missed.
- Roll with the punches. The pandemic can cause issues with scheduling and gaining access to information. Remember that everyone is doing their best and act professionally.
What NOT to do:
- Wait until the final week to work on the compliance requirements.
- Wait until the last minute to schedule drug testing, vaccines, etc.
- Assume that certain items on the compliance list are optional. Go into the process knowing that every item on the list is required and non-negotiable.
- Ghost your recruiter or compliance team. Keep the lines of communication open. If you have problems with ANYTHING, let your team know.
- Apply for jobs through two different agencies and then decline one just shy of the start date. Do not do this. This can lead you to being ineligible to work in any facility the affected agency works with.
Remember, compliance is just as important as the job offer. Working with an agency like Planet Healthcare gives you access to a dedicated compliance team whose job it is to make sure you get from the offer to the front door of the facility on time. Help them help you by being efficient, responsible, flexible, and professional. You’ll soon become the ideal candidate in the eyes of your recruiter.