Behind the Scenes in Travel Nursing: What is a VMS and How Does It Impact Your Salary?
We’d like to take you behind the scenes and fill you in on some of the processes that affect you as a travel nurse. For the first post in this series, we’re exploring Vendor Management Services (VMSs): what they are, how they interact with your travel nurse agencies, and how they might impact you.
What are VMSs?
A Vendor Management Service is a broad term for a tool or organization that helps a healthcare system manage their relationship with outside services, such as healthcare staffing agencies.
The three types of VMSs that are relevant to travel nurses are Vendor Management Systems, Managed Service Providers, and Group Purchasing Organizations.
- A Vendor Management System is a software tool that allows an organization to self-manage their relationships with outside organizations. So, your recruiter and the hospital both interact with the system; it facilitates communication and automates some aspects of their relationship.
- A Managed Service Provider (MSP) is an uber staffing agency. VMS software provides the resources for a hospital to manage their own staffing, and an MSP manages all aspects of contingent staffing for the hospital. This may include sourcing, credentialing, hiring, onboarding, timekeeping, and billing. An MSP may draw on the resources of multiple staffing firms to fulfill these needs.
- A Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) is an organization that buys supplies and services, including staffing solutions, for multiple hospitals. Purchasing in bulk allows the GPOs to save their member hospitals money.
How do VMSs impact you?
Each model for managing the relationship between a hospital and an agency can impact the bottom line in different ways.
- VMS software is a more or less vendor-neutral way for the hospital and the staffing firm to conduct business: it will not prioritize any staffing company over any other. When all staffing agencies are treated the same way, you will have an equal chance of getting a position at a hospital for the same salary, no matter which agency you work with.
- An MSP, on the other hand, has a vested interest in filling open hospital positions with their own candidates. They often have exclusivity agreements with the hospitals that they contract with. This is why you can only find positions at certain hospitals through certain staffing agencies. If a hospital has a particularly high need, an MSP will source candidates from other staffing agencies. Either way, the MSP retains a portion of the total bill rate, resulting in lower take-home pay for you.
- GPOs are similar to Vendor Management Services software in that they help the hospitals secure staff while remaining vendor-neutral. So, they similarly have a less pronounced effect on your salary and career.
Looking for more on travel nursing salary? Check out this article on how to tell if a pay package is too good to be true.