Health care staffing has long been a competitive industry. But, with the rise of travel nursing, especially since 2020, more options are available to nurses than ever before. No longer are health care workers limited to working in a traditional facility role. Instead, you can choose from dozens of travel healthcare agencies that will place you in assignments all over the country.
Triage Staffing is one such company. Founded in 2006 by John Maaske and Tyler Pieper, the two health care staffing experts joined forces to “do medical staffing differently.” The company aims for a more personal approach, striving to create a trusting relationship with every traveling professional. Today, it has over 500 internal employees and roughly 4,000 traveling health care professionals placed across the United States, according to Maaske.
We explored what makes Triage different from other travel nursing agencies—and I spoke with the company and current clinicians to learn more about the benefits and drawbacks. Here’s how it stacks up against the competition.
What Is Triage Staffing?
Headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, Triage Staffing offers short-term travel assignments to registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), certified nursing assistants (CNAs), and other allied health professionals. It holds contracts with hospitals, clinics, and various other healthcare facilities. “Triage has contracts in all 50 states, with hundreds of facilities,” John Maaske, CEO, and co-founder tells Verywell Health. “Although nursing is our largest division, we also staff health care providers in lab, radiology, rehab therapy, and cardiopulmonary.”
Named one of the best travel nursing agencies in recent years, Triage supports clinicians throughout the entire staffing process—from choosing an assignment to getting settled in at a new location. The company also has staff who’ve worked in the field and act as a support system for traveling health care professionals.
“One thing many travelers may not realize is that we have a clinical staff that works behind the scenes,” says Maaske. “These former clinicians are available to help our travelers with any questions or concerns that may arise during their assignments. While our travelers may never set foot in our physical offices, it’s important they know a whole team of people is supporting them, so they can provide patients the best care possible.”
When you arrive at Triage’s website, you’re greeted with a minimalistic design in blues and grays. The site is user-friendly, with clear navigation tabs for About Us, How It Works, Facilities, Resources, and the Blog. In the upper right-hand corner, you can select “Find Jobs” to browse open positions or “Quick Apply” to start the application process.
A search bar lets you find your next assignment by selecting your credentials from the drop-down menu, then picking your preferred contract state. Scrolling down, you’ll find pictures of prime positions around the country, which you can click on to learn more about each. The homepage also features a video about the company’s mission and values and a link to schedule an introductory call.
Links for pay, housing, and benefits provide more detailed information about each. I found these pages clear, with just enough information to pique my interest as a nurse—without feeling overwhelmed.
As a whole, I found Triage’s website clean, easy to use, and informative—without being overly sales-y or pushy. As a healthcare professional, I appreciate its straightforward approach and claim of contract transparency.
“I use the website mostly when looking for potential next contracts, and then I have a discussion with my recruiter about the facility,” says Natasha Wynn, BSN, RN, a traveler who’s been with Triage for around five years. “The website is simple and user-friendly for my purposes.”
Sign-Up/Onboard/Job Search Process
If you want to apply to Triage, there are a few application methods available. You can either fill out an online form that takes one minute, schedule a call, create an account through Kamana—a software that allows users to share onboarding documents securely—or reach out to a recruiter directly.
I first opted to create an online account. After clicking on “Traveler Login” located on the bottom navigation footer, I was directed to an account creation page. I entered my name, contact information, credentials, years of experience, and specialty into the form. Start date and location preferences were optional fields.
Within minutes, I had access to my online portal, which has left-side navigation tabs for your Dashboard, Jobs, Profile Sharing, Communication Center, and Alert Center. I could now begin reviewing personalized job recommendations and the internal job board.
The search function lets you filter by profession, specialties, and state. I noticed the site doesn’t have an advanced filter option, which can be frustrating if you’re looking for something specific. Another drawback is that it lacks a search function to narrow down listings by keyword. A sorting feature was also missing, which would also come in handy.
As a starting place, I selected “Registered Nurse” and combed through nearly 15 states to get a feel for available contracts and what specific details were accessible. Clicking on each job prompted information about the position and the option to express interest.
I could now view basic information like location, gross weekly pay, start/end dates, a description of contract requirements like shift times and minimum qualifications, and detailed pay package information. The latter is broken down by gross pay, hourly rate, stipend amounts, and travel reimbursement, along with a list of requirements like a resume and skills checklist.
The level of detail was valuable, as it allowed me to compare different positions side-by-side and make an informed decision about which job was right for me, without having to contact a recruiter. The biggest drawback of the internal job search process is the lack of advanced filters, keyword searches, and sorting options, which makes it hard to narrow down the results.
After exploring the online portal, I decided to walk through the scheduling process using the link on the homepage. After clicking on my profession and entering my email address, I scheduled a 30-minute call with a nursing recruiter two hours later. The entire process was straightforward, and appointment options were available Monday through Friday from 9:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST. If you create a traveler profile on the website, a recruiter will reach out to you via email. For me, this occurred about 30 minutes after signing up for an account.
I also interviewed several nurses who have worked with Triage in the past, and all expressed satisfaction with the company’s job search process, saying it was easy to use and navigate. One nurse (who asked to remain anonymous) specified, “The process is very expedient. The communication lines are literally super fast, and the onboarding is usually seamless.”
Wynn shared her experience with the onboarding and job search process, stating that her recruiter often goes “above and beyond” to ensure she’s getting the most out of her experience with the company. “The first encounter with my recruiter was a conversation about what I was expecting and what I was looking for as a traveler,” explains Wynn.
“I have worked with my recruiter, Jesse, for over five years, and since the first contract, he asks about how things are with me and also my family regularly,” she continues. “He responds almost immediately to my calls by answering or sending a text. His phone has always been available because I believe he understands, as a nurse on the road, that things can happen unexpectedly at any time.”
While contracts rarely exceed 26 weeks, some positions are open to extensions. “Triage supports helping our facilities get the staff they need and travelers finding the right spot to grow their career. A facility is welcome to make a permanent offer of employment to a traveler following the end of a contract,” explains Maaske.
States/Countries You Can Travel To
Triage has open assignments in all 50 states. After clicking the “Find Jobs” tab from the homepage, you can browse open positions by credential and state without creating an account. From there, you’re directed to a more detailed search, where you can filter by state, city, pay rate, facility type, and more. There were thousands of contracts available in various locations, which should give most travelers plenty of options.
Looking at individual specialties and states, I could browse through dozens of open positions—with new jobs added daily. For example, when searching for ICU RN positions in Illinois, I found 58 active job listings. California had 87 ICU RN jobs available, while Georgia had 45 ICU RN contracts. By the next day, the number of open positions for each had increased, lending credence to the claim that Triage is constantly adding new jobs.
Overall, the public job board has more advanced filter options than the one inside the online portal, which only lets you search by profession and state. However, it doesn’t show the actual pay breakdown, which is crucial information for most travelers. For that, you must create an account and log in to the internal portal—which lacks some of the same filtering options as the public job board.
Benefits – What Does the Agency Offer Prospective Employees?
In addition to an assortment of job opportunities in different locations, Triage offers several benefits to its travelers. Health insurance, including medical, dental, and vision, is available on the first day of your assignment—a unique perk. It also offers a matching 401(k) program, but matching contributions are subject to a waiting period.
“Our travelers have access to day-one insurance that includes a health savings account,” explains Maaske. He says that travelers can also enroll in a vision plan and have their pick of two different dental plans. They can start contributing to a 401k right after receiving their first paycheck. “And we offer a Safe Harbor match after a specific amount of time worked,” he says.
Pay packages are customizable, and Triage offers weekly direct deposits. Most packages include an hourly wage, a housing stipend (unless you opt for the company-provided housing option), and a meals and incidentals stipend. The company also offers travel reimbursement, but you’ll have to work with your recruiter to leverage this benefit.
You can receive a $750 bonus for each referral you give that takes a nursing or allied assignment. You can also take advantage of reimbursement for any professional license for your contract. Continuing education reimbursement is available annually. After working 2,080 hours with Triage, travelers are eligible to receive 40 hours of pay at a predetermined hourly rate to use for vacation.
After reviewing other travel nursing agencies, I found Triage’s benefits fairly standard. However, it’s not uncommon for other agencies to offer additional perks, such as wellness programs and mental health resources. Day-one insurance is a significant selling point for this agency, but it doesn’t offer supplementary wellness perks. Overall, the benefits are adequate, but nothing that sets it apart from the competition.
Triage also offers a few additional features and services that may be appealing. The blog has up-to-date planning resources and articles about the travel nursing lifestyle. Text alerts are available to notify you of new job openings that match your preferences. A “Swag Store” is accessible from the website, where you can purchase Triage-branded merchandise, such as coffee cups, clothing, and hats. The company often hosts photo contests on social media, with chances to win free swag and gift cards to the company store.
The resources section of the website displays valuable information for current and future travelers. Here, you’ll find links to guides, traveler documents, licensing details, FAQs, and more. Lastly, the blog features recent articles, from “Questions to Ask About Your Allied or Travel Nurse Pay Package” to “Pros and Cons of Being a Healthcare Traveler”—though it’s unclear whether staff or travelers write these.
Triage also has somewhat of a presence on social media, with over 13,000 followers on Facebook, almost 3,500 on Instagram, and nearly 8,000 LinkedIn connections. The company frequently posts updates, photos, articles, inspirational quotes, and other information that would be valuable to a traveler. Each channel was up to date and active, with posts from the last few days or weeks.
Diversity and Cultural Competence
Unlike some agencies that have a one-size-fits-all approach, Triage recognizes that each traveler is an individual with a unique background and aims to support and respect that. Triage’s Traveler Handbook reads:
“Managing diversity is the set of actions that Triage takes to establish and support a culture in which personal and cultural backgrounds are leveraged effectively, thereby allowing Triage to attract and retain a diverse workforce, build organizational and individual capabilities to respect and manage similarities and differences, provide culturally competent care, [and]enhance our relationships with the variety of diverse audiences that we serve.”
Maaske also spoke on the company’s dedication to the principles of diversity and inclusion, stating:
“We’re committed to fostering a safe and welcoming environment for our travelers and internal employees,” he explains. “One of our four core values is respect, and for us, that means treating everyone the same way you would want to be treated, regardless of if you get something from it or not. We hold ourselves to that standard, with no exceptions. It may sound overly simple, but we believe taking care of each other should be simple.”
Is This a Good Travel Nursing Agency to Work With?
Triage has plenty of contract opportunities throughout the United States with postings for a wide range of professionals, including nurses, healthcare administration workers, x-ray technicians, physical therapists, and most other allied health roles. There were 80+ professions listed on the site and more than 10,000 open positions at the time of this review.
Depending on your needs and personal preferences, the company may or may not be a good fit. On one hand, it offers plentiful job opportunities, a well-rounded benefits package, and a rapidly-growing team of recruiters. But if you’re looking for a specific benefit or perk Triage doesn’t offer, such as short-term disability, sick pay, or wellness programs, you may want to consider another agency.
Triage will likely appeal to nursing and allied health professionals looking for a reliable staffing agency with numerous contract opportunities throughout all 50 states. It’s also great for professionals looking for a few unique benefits, including day-one insurance and the option to receive vacation pay after working 2,080 hours.
That said, Triage notes that most facilities they work with require two years of experience in the specialty you wish to travel in—although the website states that many rehab therapy positions are obtainable immediately after graduating.
Despite the availability and benefits, Triage’s lack of control over the contract can be a downside for travelers. “Triage’s biggest drawback to me is that sometimes, Triage isn’t the direct holder of the contract,” explains Wynn. “I prefer when Triage is the direct recruiting agency for the facility.” However, Wynn praises the company’s customer service and communication skills. “I have run into issues with Triage in the years I’ve worked for them, but the issues were handled [in a] timely [way] and explanations were given to resolve the problem.”
Triage Staffing is dedicated to transparency in an industry with a reputation for being misleading. It’s a terrific option for new and seasoned travelers who want full disclosure about their contracts before committing. But even the best companies have room for improvement—in this case, more wellness benefits and mental health support for employees would be a welcomed addition. Sick pay would also be beneficial.
“I have worked for four other agencies in the past and Triage and my recruiter have been the best all around,” concludes Wynn. “The insurance, pay, and locations of assignments are competitive with even the bigger companies—but at the end of the day, the communication from Triage is what makes it stand out.”
With thousands of open positions across the United States, overall positive reviews from travelers, and a host of agency awards, Triage is a well-rounded choice for anyone in the nursing or allied health field looking for a temporary travel assignment, whether in their home state or miles away.
Our methodology for evaluating travel nursing agencies is data-driven and based on many factors, including website usability, the onboarding process, states served, benefits offered, compensation, and reviews from travelers who have worked with the agency. We use publicly available data to assess ratings, as well as data provided by the companies themselves.
Awards received, reviews from third-party websites, transparency of the application process, and company history were all considered. We contacted customer service representatives to ask about the application process and the types of support available to travelers. We also interviewed nurses who have worked with the company to get their first-hand experience. Finally, we spoke with representatives of the company to learn more about their mission, values, and what sets them apart from other agencies in the industry.