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4 Key Differences Between Travel Nurses and Avant Healthcare Professionals Nurses

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August 04, 2017

Healthcare executives are eagerly seeking solutions to alleviate the pressure of nurse shortages on their unit floors. Utilizing a staffing agency for contract nurses is one of the most popular solutions; however, the type of agency you choose can make all the difference between improving your unit in the long-term or providing merely a quick fix and continuing the "churn and burn" cycle.

One of the questions I get asked most when working with a prospective client is, "What are the differences between travel nurses and the international nurses that Avant Healthcare Professionals provides?" It's important to understand the difference between travel nurse agencies, a short-term assignment program, and an international nurse staffing partner such as Avant Healthcare Professionals. Ours is a long-term approach to solving the nurse shortage and building your future full-time internal staff. While not all inclusive, these 4 Key Differences may provide clarity.

Contract Length

Travel nurses and Avant Healthcare Professionals nurses have significant differences in length of contract.

Most travel nurse agencies have 13-to-26-week contract terms. Historically, travel nurses were intended to relieve short-term vacancies, and address census fluctuations at a premium bill rate. However, the worsening nurse shortage has contributed to increased bill rates that can be cost prohibitive when using travel nurses on a long-term basis. Travel nurse experience level varies from 2 years to very seasoned professionals.

Avant Healthcare Professionals nurses on average have 5-7 years of experience and work on a single long-term contract with your facility that provides 30-36 months of stability to your staffing needs. This long-term solution provides continuity of care, consistent patient satisfaction, and drives retention. There is an added benefit in helping you reduce costs; Avant Healthcare rates typically are $5-$10 less than travelers, although the savings can be much greater depending on the specialty.

Incentive to the Nurse

Nurses are compelled to accept travel assignments for the financial benefits associated with the high hourly wages that travel nurses often receive. Additionally, travel nurse agencies offer nurses the excitement of exploring new destinations while gaining professional experience at varied locations. However, the incentive for a travel nurse to adapt to the nuances of an organization and to adopt the hospital's culture is not there due to the short-lived assignments. Freedom and flexibility are key incentives for travel nurses.

The big incentive for our nurses is stability and becoming part of your organization and a community that they can call home after making the transition from overseas. Approximately 75% will convert to your core nursing team. The Avant Healthcare Professionals experienced nurses are placed on long term assignments with no upfront or conversion fees upon placement within your facility. Our nurses have a personal investment in your facility and have the incentive to acclimate themselves to your culture and build a long-term career path inside your organization.

Cost Factor

As mentioned earlier, cost does play a factor with the pressures associated with reductions in reimbursement, the move to value based care with reimbursement tied to outcomes and patient satisfaction, as well as uncertainties around the future of healthcare. We know demand will continue to increase with the baby boomers and the supply of experienced nurses will go down with anticipated retirements, faculty shortages, pull to advanced practice roles and historical attrition from the nursing profession. How you plan and budget will be critical to your success and creating positive patient experiences.

The cost for a travel nurse does not just stop at the clinical skills they provide on shift; the bill rate includes their housing stipend, per diem, and their travel expenses as they are reassigned from city to city. Not to mention the time and cost spent on integrating the nurse into your organization, only to see them leave.

The cost for an Avant nurse is a flat hourly rate that is paid as the nurse works their assigned shifts. There are no extra or hidden costs in the contract. Not only will using an Avant nurse create instant savings on the hour, but we create savings based on soft costs because of the long-term assignment, which avoids putting your internal staff into overtime to cover gaps when travel nurses don't finish and start assignments cohesively with your shift schedules. This also avoids emotional and physical burnout within your core nursing team.

Return on Investment

Your return on investment is dependent upon your needs. This is the deciding factor of whether your staffing shortage is just a minor cut or a wound in need of stitches. The severity of your pain in the nurse shortage will depend on what services you require. It actually may require a combination of both travel and international nurses:

Travel nurses are often on a contract with up to four plus hospitals in a year and they are typically not interested in joining your full-time staff. You also run the danger of travel nurses recruiting your internal staff to become a travel nurse for their agency, further worsening your situation. Again, short-term assignments can be beneficial to an organization in need of bridging a gap during staff leave or addressing seasonal census fluctuations, but not in growing your future full-time staff.

With the supply of nurses limited, organizations facing a chronic shortage may want to invest in our international nurse staffing for its long-term consistency and access to a deep pipeline of experienced nurses. Avant Healthcare Professionals is in the business of solving the nurse shortage, which means we are the solution in building your full-time staff. Our nurses are living out their "American Dream" and are seeking to be part of your community, and eventually join your organization. Currently we have a 75% conversion rate with our nurses becoming permanent staff members at your facility when they finish an assignment.

If you have any comments or would like to discuss the Avant Healthcare Professionals international nurse solution, feel free to contact me at or 888.681.2999 x193.

About Avant Healthcare Professionals

Need nurses? Avant Healthcare Professionals is the premier staffing specialist for internationally educated registered nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists. Avant has placed thousands of international healthcare professionals across U.S. facilities to help improve the continuity of their care, fill hard-to-find specialties, and increase patient satisfaction, revenue and HCAHPS scores. Avant is a Joint Commission accredited staffing agency and founding member of the American Association of International Healthcare Recruitment (AAIHR). Avant Healthcare Professionals is a member of the Jackson Healthcare® family of companies.


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Avant Healthcare Professionals is a member of the Jackson Healthcare family of companies.