By Melissa Hagstrom, contributor
April 22, 2013 - With eight years of experience as a recruiter with leading travel nurse staffing company Medical Express, an AMN Healthcare company, it may seem like Brandi Gallegos has seen and heard it all, but she continues to experience new adventures through her daily interactions with travel nurses.
The vivacious and outgoing recruitment manager and 2011 recipient of the “Recruiter of the Year” award is based out of Colorado and got started as a travel nurse recruiter because of the growing health care industry and her passion for helping others.
Brandi Gallegos, a recruiter with NurseZone's partner Medical Express, can be found answering questions and providing career advice on NurseZone's Facebook
“I like having the opportunity to give nurses a flexible career,” she said. “I like to be a part of matching the right nurse with the right facility. Travelers have so much opportunity and are so excited to go to new places. It’s almost like I’m living vicariously through their travels to all of these amazing places—from Hawaii and California to the East Coast.”
“I’ve also learned a ton of geography; I know where every little town is throughout the United States that might need a travel nurse.”
Building and maintaining a close traveler-recruiter relationship is key to a successful experience, Brandi explained – just as important as choosing the right company.
“The relationship a traveler has with a recruiter is hands-down the most important thing, second only to finding a good company,” she said. “You need to be with a solid company such as AMN that has the orders because you could have the best recruiter in the world, but if you aren’t backed by a company that is well known and has contact with facilities across the country, then that will limit you.”
“I look at my role as a partnership with my travelers. I am an advocate for them and I am also there as a resource to help them through the assignment. Most of the time things go smoothly, but if there is a bump in the road you need to have a recruiter who is responsive to you not only when you are looking for a job, but throughout the contract.”
Communication, honesty and knowledge about the travel nursing industry are three important traits Brandi says every traveler should look for in a potential recruiter. In fact, she used these skills to form a long-standing partnership with a travel nurse based out of Barbados who has been traveling with Medical Express since 1999.
“He is just one of those people who have been all over the place with us during his long career and he’s never once gone with another company. He will send birthday cards and Christmas cards and I know all about his life back in Barbados. He’s not only been able to travel, but he has also had the opportunity to work at some of the best facilities in the nation.”
Not every traveler who she works with is as experienced, and Brandi advises newer travel nurses to stay flexible and keep an open mind when first starting out.
“In travel nursing there are a lot of seasoned people and if you are somebody who has one year of experience – which I do get jobs for – you have to open yourself up to opportunities, even if they may not be what you thought you wanted. Be open to facilities, locations, and talk to your recruiter about things you enjoy doing outside of work. They may be able to suggest a location or facility you had not considered.”
When she’s not finding an assignment for her travelers, Brandi spends her time with her three young children and focuses on maintaining a healthy work/life balance.
“The most important thing is helping fill the facility’s need and at the same time fulfilling the goals of the traveler. Each traveler has his or her own goals. For some it’s getting out there and traveling to different places and experiencing new things. For others it is an opportunity to earn more income with less politics. Travel nursing offers a little bit of something for everyone.”
Send Brandi an e-mail or give her a call at (888) 518-2788 to find out about the current travel nursing opportunities she has available.
You can also connect with Brandi online on NurseZone's Facebook and Twitter pages. Log on today to see exclusive job opportunities and ask all your nursing career questions.