Travel nurses: a challenging population for credentialing and monitoring


Hospitals and health systems continue to find themselves in a desperate hunt for available frontline nurses to relieve their exhausted staff.  With continued increases in nurse turnover and staffing issues, reliance on a more mobile workforce continues as hospitalization rates driven by the Covid-19 pandemic continue to waver. It’s easy to see why travel nursing is appealing – with higher pay rates and flexibility in location, these popular positions present new and fresh opportunities for an otherwise burnt-out workforce. And after two years of a seemingly relentless pandemic, hospitals and health systems are desperate – these mobile, contracted positions are in high demand.  

According to Proculent Health, a workforce data and technology company cited in a recent Healthcare Dive deep dive, “From January 2020 to [January 2022], advertised pay rates for travel nurses jumped 67%, with staffing firms billing hospitals an additional 28% to 32% over those pay rates.”

However, travel nurses prove to be a challenging population for ongoing compliance and credential monitoring, presenting several challenges for healthcare organizations that are already navigating the staffing crisis and ongoing pandemic-related management issues.  With an increasingly mobile workforce, the trend of travel nursing shows no signs of slowing down and being aware of potential compliance challenges and solutions is critical.

Challenges of monitoring travel nurse licenses

As the largest category of licensed caregivers, nurses are the most commonly excluded discipline. High demand and turnover mean they often move around. Interstate moving is a crucial strategy for outrunning disciplinary sanctions and exclusions. Given the delays in reporting disciplinary and administrative license actions, ongoing, intelligent exclusion monitoring with data enrichment is the best way to protect your organization and patients from bad actors taking advantage of administrative complexities and outrunning sanctions.

For healthcare and hospital administration, it can be a challenge to stay on top of every individual licensing board across the entire country. At times, it can be difficult enough to verify that the license is valid and active. It can be a manual, time-consuming process, preventing legitimate talent from providing care as quickly as possible.  With patient safety as a top priority, the cost of having credentials and license verification tied up in a slow process is the ability to provide care at the moment patients need it. 

The role of the Nursing License Compact

Credentialing and license monitoring for traveling nurses also have their own set of nuances. In addition to administrative challenges that come with monitoring this mobile workforce, the Nurse Licensure Compact or NLC,  is a multi-state agreement that allows nurses to practice in any participating state, and can sometimes be tricky to monitor. Known as one of the most popular and widely supported compacts in the country, it enables nurses to move across the country without obtaining any additional licenses. For nurses moving from a compact state to a non-compact state or moving from a non-compact state to another non-compact state, the process is complicated (to say the least). For this reason, providers should pay close attention when investigating whether their travel nurses have the correct licensure. 

Quickly and thoroughly verify licenses to get talent on the floor

It is critical to have a credentialing and ongoing monitoring solution in place that can monitor state license boards in all 50 states. If a traveling nurse is working at a given hospital, that nurse is treating patients on behalf of the provider organization. It’s important to add these nurses to your ongoing license and exclusion monitoring environment. It is similarly crucial for a solution to ensure that licenses are active and that both online and offline sources are verified. Ensuring that license and exclusion monitoring is a part of daily compliance and HR workflows can help healthcare organizations easily determine whether their providers are in good standing and eligible to provide safe healthcare to their patients. 

About ProviderTrust

ProviderTrust simplifies and automates the license monitoring process for healthcare’s top HR and compliance teams. ProviderTrust provides daily exact-match results from the primary source. This allows healthcare organizations to focus on their patients, with in-house and contracted staff, while ensuring credentials are always in good standing. Accessible healthcare does not have to compromise the standard of care.

Ensure your providers are properly licensed for interstate care by learning more about ProviderTrust’s license monitoring solution.



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