The Extra Mile

Personal service, staying in contact among ways to keep contingent workers engaged

Some common themes among travel healthcare workers when dealing with Omaha, Neb.-based Fusion Medical Staffing: friendliness, the company does what it says it will and recruiters keep in contact with personalized service. The praise added up for Fusion Medical Staffing, based on a survey of its external workers. Fusion also ranked on this same list last year.

Listening Well

“Very consistently the people that I talk to are really friendly, they’re really organized, they respond to my emails and phone calls quickly,” says Sarah Dorsey, a labor and delivery registered nurse who has been a traveler for five years. It’s not just her recruiter, she says, but everyone that she has worked with at the company. Dorsey says she gets calls every day from other agencies. However, it’s not just the friendliness that helps set Fusion apart. “One of the reasons I like them is they have a good selection of contracts; they are a big enough agency that you have a good selection of potential jobs, but they’re not so huge that you feel like a number as a traveler,” she says.

The company also listens to what travelers say, and when there have been problems, such as a missing reimbursement, it has been fixed quickly.

In one case, a client was offering a standard contract of 36 hours per week, but Dorsey says her recruiter at Fusion was willing to call the hospital and see if it could be 48 hours per week. Not all recruiters at other firms are willing to do that — and the end result can be great contracts for the traveler.

“Sometimes the hospital says ‘no,’ and that’s fine,” Dorsey says. “But my recruiter is always willing to ask.”

Travellers First

She also describes a time between assignments when she was overseas on vacation; her recruiter worked with her during that time so that she would have a contract when she returned. Last summer, the company also found her an assignment located within driving distance to three cities in which she had weddings to attend.

Ben Sternitzky also cited the personal services the company provides as a reason he believes it’s a great place to work through. The company sends him a card on his birthday and even recommends possible fun events that might be of interest to him, such as fairs, national parks or even a balloon festival in one instance. The recruiter is in contact once a week to make sure an assignment is going smoothly.

Fusion recruiters don’t try to sell clinicians on something they don’t want, and they are flexible, says Sternitzky, a registered nurse who has been traveling for almost two years. One example of flexibility: Fusion’s recruiters are willing to negotiate with hospitals on price packages, while recruiters at some other firms are not. And if someone forgets to fill out a time card, the company will give the person an extra day instead of delaying their pay for that week.

Sternitzky also cites the company’s friendly staff. Although a traveler won’t necessarily meet his or her recruiter in person, Sternitzky did stop at Fusion while driving through Omaha and had a meal with his recruiter.

“It’s a company that treats you like you want to be treated,” he says. “They’re going to treat you like one of your coworkers in your office next to them.”

And Sternitzky says he’s never heard a horror story about Fusion.

“All the recruiters are so nice, and they actually make you feel like family,” said Kathy Kauffman, a long-time traveler with Fusion who had now taken on a permanent position.

Kauffman, a labor and delivery nurse, traveled for the last three years with Fusion but has traveled for 12 years in total.

She initially stopped traveling after nine years to take a permanent position. However, when that job went away, a Fusion recruiter worked hard to find Kauffman another position. In addition, she says the recruiter helped build her confidence back up and feel good about what she was doing again.

If a problem comes up, such as a family emergency, the company gives travelers the time to handle it, Kauffman says. In addition, when there’s a bad situation at work — one that could put a clinician’s license in jeopardy — they will let clinicians leave without a penalty. They trust the clinicians to do the right thing. “They know, if you work with them, the type of nurse you are,” Kauffman says.

Happy Recruiters, Happy Temps

One of the reasons Fusion treats its travelers well is because the company treats its internal staff well, she says. The company is big into community services and always doing things as a team. It keeps the recruiters happy and they pass it along. In fact, Fusion also ranks on the list of Best Staffing Firms to Work For. “They’re just absolutely a great company,” Kauffman says. “Once you go with Fusion, you don’t go with other companies.” All the other travelers she has referred to the company are still working there as well, she says.

Bobbi Metsker, a registered nurse who has traveled for almost four years, also cited the personal attention the company pays its travelers.

Metsker says she has worked with her same recruiter for all four years, and the recruiter always keeps in touch during assignments to see how things are going. The contacts are weekly — if not more frequent. And even though travelers aren’t at the home office in Omaha, they feel like they are part of the team. Recruiters will send texts saying “good job,” and have sent Fusion T-shirts and cups. They even forwarded a video showing the faces of the people Metsker works with, even though she has not met them in person.

“They keep in touch with you and work with you if you have any problems,” Metsker says. And it’s not just recruiters, but everybody at the company, who is friendly.