The complete guide to onboarding travel nurses to increase engagement & improve patient care

The complete guide to onboarding travel nurses to increase engagement & improve patient care

The demand for travel nurses is on the rise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates 1 million job vacancies for registered nurses through 2022, and health care centers will continue to rely on travel nurses to supplement their staffing. 

Onboarding travel nurses has its own unique challenges. The contracts are temporary, the nurses are not physically on site until their first day, and the healthcare center is relying on individual nurses to uphold their contract and show up.  

If you have plans to or currently hire travel nurses and aren’t sure how to engage them and integrate them into your team, you’ve come to the right place. The three steps below outline an easy-to-follow structured onboarding program that anyone can use to make their travel nurses feel prepared, connected, and ready to go.

Step 1: BEFORE DAY 1

Travel nurses mirror regular employees with new job jitters. Put their mind at ease and start building trust by engaging them before their first day. Sending a ‘welcome to the team’ packet is a wonderful way to connect and make them feel confident about working with your team.  

At Click Boarding, we recommend including:


Connect them with a realtor who can help them look for affordable housing in a safe area within their budget. Include fun facts and things to do in your city/town to get them looking forward to their new location.

Onboarding Schedule

Setting expectations is a crucial component of best-in-class onboarding. Share what they can expect from the hospital their first week and what is expected of them. This could include information about an orientation, anyone they will be meeting with, and when they will start working with patients.

Facility Map & Contact Information

Don’t make them feel lost on their first day! Provide a map and highlight where to park and meet. Show where the cafeteria, orientation, and break rooms are. Include contact numbers for key personnel, such as labs, pharmacies, and security.  

Hospital Details

Provide a summary of the information they need to know about your hospital. Consider including unit patient ratios, steps for admissions and discharges, and floor policies and procedures.

Don’t forget to request a photo so you can prepare their ID badge in advance.

Step 2: DAY 1

Greet them in the lobby

A small, but impactful gesture is to meet your travel nurse in the lobby when they arrive. This makes them feel valued and starts the day off positively. It also eliminates any stress they might have about finding you.

Onboarding Paperwork

Walk them through the compliance paperwork that must be completed in person. This can be actual paperwork or better yet a pre-day one digital experience. We recommend leveraging a digital onboarding program to simplify the process and keep their personal data secure.

Orientation & Introductions

Provide an overview of the hospital and introduce them to any equipment they might be unfamiliar with. Allow ample time for questions and share any ways of working that are specific to your unit or the hospital.

Take the time to walk them around and introduce them to the people they will be working with during their tenure.


Make sure they have access to all the tools and supplies they need. If there are locked cabinets, make sure they know who has the key/code. If there are systems they need to access, make sure they have a login and password.


Provide them with a home base – somewhere to sit, store their personal belongings, etc. Travel employees definitely appreciate the feeling of a consistent space to call their own.

Mentor/ Welcome Committee

It might be tempting to skimp on the social aspect of onboarding for temporary staff but this is an important part of making the travel nurses feel like part of your team, and by extension, make your patient’s experience feel no different than any other interaction with your staff. Link your travel nurse up with a mentor or buddy who will help them get acquainted, show them the inner workings of your facility, and ensure all their questions can be answered. 

Step 3: DAYS 2 – 30

Onboarding is more than just the first day. Your travel nurses will continue to have questions and uncertainties throughout their first month. Keep the lines of communication open and encourage questions. A follow up survey from your onboarding platform ensures feedback loops are provided. Take all the recurring questions you hear and update that original welcome packet with answers to help your next round of travel nurses.

Contact Click Boarding

If you’re looking to make a change or want to enhance your onboarding program let us help! Our platform simplifies the process with a digital onboarding hub that your traveling nurses can access from anywhere. We work together to set up the customized workflows and automated triggers, so we can delight your travel nurses with a dynamic onboarding experience and minimize the time needed by your team.

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