How to Create the BEST Welcome Experience for Travel Clinicians

Author: Michael Elm, Business Development Manager, Central Region
Welcome handshake


What a simple word, yet just hearing it makes you feel good. Now consider travelers who regularly move from one facility to another every 13 weeks. I know from my own experience and hearing from other travelers that receiving a genuine welcome when starting a new assignment can make a huge difference.


Over the course of my career, I've had the opportunity to work for a few diverse employers. From healthcare to government positions, each company has had their own way of welcoming me into the fold. I have received everything from a small pat on the back and a handshake to gift baskets filled with goodies to make the transition into a new role a bit easier.


Regardless of the industry, a warm and inviting welcome cannot be underestimated.


I remember those first days at companies that were too concerned about their bottom line to worry about how I felt joining their team. I always assumed they had good intentions, but lacked the resources and the will to make any changes. Honestly, I thought this was normal. It wasn’t until I found my forever home at FlexCare Medical Staffing that I discovered the impact of a well-executed welcome and orientation.


Before I even started, the company mailed a gift package with lots of goodies and a book to be used during my first month with the company. “Monday Morning Choices,” by David Cottrell, was about setting the correct mindset for each week and it was my introduction to a company that I could tell cared about my personal and professional development. This was shocking and lifechanging. I had never received this kind of welcome and when I arrived for my first day, I was greeted with yet another gift basket of office goodies, a welcome sign, and two cards signed by the entire company! I was inspired, motivated, and passionate about giving this company my all. They sold me from the start. I instantly bought into the corporate culture and the exceptional service that is their trademark. For the first time, I felt like I was coming home instead of going to work.


Through my own experience I’ve learned a few things that apply to how you can improve the welcome and orientation experience for your travel nurses:

  1. Strive for greatness! Never settle for the “pat on the back” welcome. Become invested in welcoming each traveler to your team. You will find their passion for your organization explode!

  2. Create a tangible welcome experience. Use your collective creativity as a unit to create an experience that expresses your culture.

  3. Use your resources. Outfit new travelers with your organization’s “swag” (branded sweatshirts, keychains, tumblers, coffee mugs, lanyards, etc.).

  4. Throw a welcome party on the unit! It could be a simple pizza party or a fun potluck.

  5. Establish a point-of-contact or mentor. This is important as it helps facilitate orientation on the floor.

  6. Check in on your traveler. As the manager, this interaction will go a long way and contribute to the traveler's success.


Orientation: An Extension of the Welcome Experience

Every hospital orientation is unique. This can be inspiring to staff but inconsistent for travelers who are used to changing facilities every three months. This means every three months they will complete a new orientation, meet new people, and learn new policies.


Most travelers become accustomed to filling in holes of information about the organization with questions to their managers.


We all know orientations cannot be standardized for travelers nationally, but there are a few things that are relatively consistent, and a blog article on lists the orientation basics needed for almost any traveler.


“The most important thing to remember when it comes to orientation is no matter how extensive or non-existent the orientation is, make sure that you are willing to ask questions when needed.  I insist on a few items on arrival prior to accepting patients. These items are needed in order to ensure the safety of my patients and I refuse to accept a patient load until I am informed of the following:

  • Crash Cart
  • Emergency policies/procedures, codes and numbers
  • Procedure for calling a code
  • How to reach MD
  • Tour of unit: med room, supplies, emergency exits, oxygen, equipment, etc.”




Whatever you and your organization decide to do to welcome and orient your travelers, always know that your efforts are not in vain. The value of your kindness will be reflected in a successful travel nurse program and elevated patient care. It is no surprise that the most lucrative, successful facilities are those that are identified as “traveler friendly.”


It all starts with a warm “Welcome!”


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