Recruiting Diaries: Three Months at Axis!

You may have read my previous blog post about jumping back on the travel nurse recruiting saddle just as the COVID-19 pandemic was breaking loose. For any concerned parties out there (Hi, Mom!), I have made it three months now with Axis and it’s actually going really well!

I must admit that there have been many moments of uncertainty. The job market was insane in those first several weeks. Crisis positions were coming out of my ears, and pay rates were skyrocketing to levels I had never seen in my 12-odd years in the industry. Fast forward to a mere few weeks later, and crickets were chirping on the job boards. Hundreds of contracts were getting cut, shifts cancelled, permanent staff getting furloughed as census levels dropped. What. Just. Happened.

Chilling out near Angkor Wat, Cambodia

I asked myself several times, “Is it possible for me to be successful at a time like this?”

From the beginning of the pandemic, Axis elected to take a measured and cautious approach in terms of how we addressed these crisis rate contracts. Seems counterintuitive, right? High bill rates = high pay rates = win/win for everyone. But while others focused on filling every crisis rate contract placed on their desks, our conversations centered around the safety of our nurses, the uncertainty of the market, and the high probability these contracts would be the first ones cancelled should anything change. 

I remember thinking, “I hope we are getting this right”. In retrospect, this approach proved to be the correct one, at least for us and our travelers. While we still were not devoid of having contracts cancelled (which was awful), it certainly wasn’t to the extent that we have seen industry-wide. 

How, you may ask? Good question! 

We focused on our well-established clients – the hospitals and facilities that have been our ‘tried and true’ throughout the ebbs and flows of the job market for 15+ years. While they weren’t necessarily offering the huge rates we had seen in some of the harder-hit areas from COVID-19, they guaranteed hours, offered sufficient PPE, and provided stability in a suddenly unstable market. 

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It’s because of these clients that we’ve been able to better navigate through the volatility of the job market.  We were able to continue to provide options for assignments while others had to close their doors to travelers until census levels returned to normal. Note: Still waiting on this.

Not only that, but the pandemic called for many of us, at work as well as at home, to pay more attention to the essentials of our lives. I’m referring more to family and loved ones here versus toilet paper – though I’m sure the producers of T.P. are grateful for our patronage. At the end of the day, the factor that sets agencies apart – and defines me most as a recruiter – is the ability to build relationships with our travelers. While the jobs may not be as plentiful, the benefit is that I have more time to get to know my travelers, and I can find other ways to help them out.

At Axis, we have been doing things like producing more educational content such as videos and blogs, offering creative ideas for assignments unique to us (hint – ask me), walking travelers through unemployment applications when needed, and again, focusing on the clients who we’ve spent years developing relationships with that continue to provide us with open assignments while waiting for others to open back up.

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One of the main reasons I chose to work with Axis in the first place was because I could tell right away that the company took a traveler-centric approach to the business and put a huge emphasis on building trust and relationships with travelers. This was evident in the many reviews I’d read online on various sites such as BluePipes, Indeed, Facebook, etc. Now that I’ve been with Axis for a few months, it’s given me a different perspective as to what these reviews truly mean. I’ve been able to garner a few reviews of my own which have reinforced the importance of having a trusted partnership with travelers. Even (and especially) during times of crisis, this remains at the top of the list of what travelers value the most. It’s been refreshing and motivating to read the comments left by my travelers and it has further validated my choice to return back to travel nurse recruiting.

Milford Sound, New Zealand – one of my most favorite places on Earth!

As I look forward to the next three months with my fingers crossed that the travel nurse job market will ‘normalize’ a bit, I am excited to keep having conversations with new and current travelers, and to learn more about who they are and what their goals are. I hope to one day cross paths with some of them in person and thank them personally for the hard work they continue to put in every day. My team and I will continue to come up with creative ways to help travelers during these uncertain times, and we’ll be ready to work hard for you as the positions continue to trickle in. I’m thrilled to be part of a team that takes great care of those who dedicate their lives to taking care of others, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for all of us!

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