Effective Strategies for Managing References in Healthcare Careers


Navigating the request for references when your assignments are short-term, and you may not have had the opportunity to develop deep connections with colleagues can indeed be challenging. However, as a traveling or contract healthcare provider, you’re well aware of the dynamic nature of your profession. From exploring new destinations to adapting to different healthcare settings, your career path is marked by diversity and change. Despite these challenges, there are several strategies and tips you can employ to effectively manage and leverage references in your career journey.

Understanding the Importance of References 

References serve as a testament to your skills, work ethic, and professionalism, whether you’re applying for a new assignment, seeking permanent placement, or advancing within your field. Strong references significantly enhance your credibility and marketability, as healthcare facilities rely on them to assess your suitability for their team.

Building and Maintaining Relationships

Networking is key in the healthcare industry, especially for travel nurses and contract providers. Take proactive steps to cultivate relationships with supervisors, colleagues, and mentors during your assignments. Establishing rapport and demonstrating reliability can lead to valuable references down the line. Stay in touch with former colleagues and supervisors through professional networking platforms, like LinkedIn, and consider reaching out periodically to keep the connection alive. Additionally, it’s also helpful to offer to be a reference in return for others who travel. By extending this gesture, you not only strengthen your professional network but also foster mutually beneficial relationships within the healthcare community.  

Requesting References

Approach the individual respectfully when requesting a reference and provide relevant context. Be prepared to offer guidance on what aspects of your performance you’d like them to highlight. Consider creating a reference request template that includes key information such as your current assignment, the type of position you’re applying for, and any specific skills or accomplishments you’d like them to emphasize. Remember to express gratitude for their time and support.

Rotating Your Reference Pool

Maintaining a diverse and rotating pool of references is essential for preserving relationships and avoiding over-reliance on a few individuals. Instead of repeatedly tapping into the same references, aim to cultivate a network of professionals from various settings and specialties. By rotating your reference pool, you not only showcase your adaptability and versatility but also ensure a fresh perspective on your capabilities.

Preparing Your References

Before listing someone as a reference, seek their permission and ensure they are comfortable vouching for you. Provide them with an updated copy of your resume, along with any relevant details about the position you’re applying for. If possible, offer to draft a reference letter or summary of your key accomplishments to make the process easier for them. Keep your references informed about your job search progress and notify them when you’ve secured a new position.

Navigating Challenges

Securing references may sometimes pose challenges despite your best efforts. If you encounter difficulties obtaining references from certain employers or supervisors, it’s important to be transparent with prospective employers about the situation. You can offer alternative references such as colleagues, professional mentors, or educational instructors who can attest to your skills and character. Delayed references are a common cause of credentialing delays. To address this, follow up with references or previous employers to keep this aspect at the forefront. Additionally, maintaining open communication with potential employers and providing updates on the progress of obtaining references can demonstrate your proactive approach and commitment to the credentialing process. By actively managing this aspect, you can mitigate delays and ensure a smoother transition into new assignments.

Take Home

References play a pivotal role in the career advancement of travel nurses and contract healthcare providers. By proactively cultivating relationships, diversifying your reference base, and effectively managing the reference process, you can enhance your professional reputation and seize new opportunities with confidence. Remember, strong references are not just a requirement but a reflection of your dedication and expertise in the ever-evolving world of healthcare.


  • Protect yourself and your assets by performing your contract work under the umbrella of a business entity. Think about what you’d like your proposed business to be named!
    • Visit your Secretary of State website to see if your chosen name is available
    • Check with your state’s Board of Nursing for state specific requirements
  • File applicable business set-up paperwork
  • The S-Corp Edge: How you structure your 1099 CRNA business will have far-reaching consequences, whether it is a sole proprietorship, a limited liability corporation (LLC), or an S corporation (S-corp). 
    An S-corp may offer several advantages over other business structures when it comes to taxation. In this structure, a business owner is called a shareholder, and the business owner is recognized by the IRS as an employee of the business. What this means is that the business owner must pay themselves a salary through the corporation. The S-corp pays their payroll taxes, which can in turn be deducted as a business expense. Income tax is paid through its owners’ tax returns based on their percentage of ownership. Moreover, any remaining profits have a lower tax rate than regular income. An S-corp may also allow 1099 CRNAs to avoid a higher tax level that other self-employed contractors pay for Medicare and Social Security.
          A CRNA may structure their company as an S-corp serving as the sole owner, with their business income, tax deductions, and losses passing through to the owner, as opposed to being taxed at a corporate level – a potentially smart move for maximizing financial security in the future.
    • Register for an EIN
  • Open a business checking account and credit card
  • Keep track of all your business expenses as these could save you money come tax time!
    • Have an envelope for receipts or a folder on your computer where you scan these into
  • Be sure not to co-mingle your business and personal finances!
  • Remember, as a freelance CRNA, if you don’t work, you don’t get paid!
    • Do you have at least six months savings should your contract abruptly stop?
  • Think about replacing your current benefits
    • Health Insurance
    • Health Savings Account/Dependent Savings Account
    • Retirement Savings Account
    • Life Insurance
    • Disability Insurance
  • Procure malpractice insurance
  • Look for jobs!
  • Apply for state licenses where you want to work
    • Each state needs a different CRNA license (and RN if they are not a compact state). Keep this in mind as some BONs can take 3-6 months to license a provider.
  • Have an employment attorney review your contract
  • Have your contract written to your business and deposit all earnings into your business checking
  • Keep A Schedule
  • As a W-2 employee, your taxable income and amounts taken out for taxes appeared on your W-2 form at the end of every year, without you having to calculate them. But when a firm pays more than $600 for services from an independent contractor, that income must be reported to the IRS.
    What many 1099 CRNAs don’t realize is that they must pay taxes on their income as they earn it. Paying your quarterly estimated income taxes will be a new part of running your business successfully. 
          It doesn’t sound so difficult—keeping track of paying estimated income tax only happens four times a year. But the reality is a late payment can result in penalties and fines from the IRS. Keeping a schedule to help you stay on top of your quarterly estimated tax payments, and paying adequately to avoid underpayment, is imperative in avoiding penalties in the future. Not to mention providing peace of mind!
  • Make sure you have a trusted team of accounting and/or financial professionals who have experience with freelance CRNAs to guide you through this process!
  • CPAs
  • Financial Planners
  • Bookkeepers
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