How It Works
Chesapeake Medical Staffing is proud to say we are one of the only agencies in the Baltimore/DC area that supplies staffing support in both a PRN (or Per Diem) and Full-Time (Contract or Travel) capacity. What does that mean for you? It means you have the flexibility to work one day a month or collect overtime pay weekly, all from the widest array of options in the area. So, let’s talk a bit more about how it works.
In Latin, per diem translates to ‘for each day’ and in the staffing world it refers to day to day or one off staffing solutions. We have opportunities in a variety of units at many local hospitals and health systems, as well as long-term care facilities, home care, schools, and other outpatient settings. Every opportunity will have its own clearance process, and you can review the orientation process and dates for locations that interest you by visiting our Hospital Orientations Page. Please note that nursing credentialing and orientation processes for hospitals are very extensive. For any hospital based nursing PRN options you must be in ‘active’ status with CMS and cleared for hospital placements. If you are not in ‘active’ status and cleared for hospital placements, please consider our current contract opportunities.
The benefit of per diem staffing is you pick and choose which dates and hours you want to work. There is no minimum hours requirement, but there is also the possibility of a shift being canceled due to patient census or other reasons. You can also try a variety of different setting to learn which work best for you.
In order to start scheduling on a per diem basis, you must complete the hiring process and become a formal employee of CMS. Visit our Employment Requirements page to learn more about the hiring & credentialing process.
If you are interested in a full time agency assignment for an extended period of time, a local contract or travel assignment is likely the best option. We always keep a real-time list of current openings if you check our Current Contracts page.
These assignments are typically 13 weeks in length (though for local requests they can be shorter, and for high-demand needs they can be even longer) and are usually 36-40 hours per week. Contracts are similar to a short-term staff position, where they will have a weekend and holiday requirement, in addition to requiring scheduling flexibility from the clinician.
For full-time contracts, you do not need to complete the entire hiring process to line up interviews. Staffing coordinators and unit managers will review ‘mini-profiles’ and reach out for phone or in person interviews for candidates that interest them. A mini-profile includes the following:
- Supervisory References
- Skills Checklist
- Potential Start Date
- Any Dates to request off over the duration of the assignment
Once a phone or in person interview is completed, a formal offer will be presented. If accepted, a start date is worked out in order to give all parties time to review and approve the clinician’s credentials. Once the file is cleared, your 1st day reporting instructions and orientation schedule will be relayed and your are all set to start. About half way through CMS will see if all parties want to extend, and will work out a contract extension or start to line up your next assignment.
Full-time contracts can be local or travel assignments – ask us about the advantages of working full-time as well as the tax incentives for working as a traveler. We work all throughout MD, VA, and PA. And find lots of helpful insight in our FAQ below.
CMS’s seasoned agency full-time employees cite two major reasons – because CMS maintains its staffing focus on the Baltimore/DC area, and CMS is RN owned & operated. Maintaining our focus has made us experts in the Baltimore-based staffing industry. We translate our thorough understanding of the different facilities and units in the area into the highest-quality agency employment experience you will find. Our travelers frequently comment on how well prepared they were for their assignment. Being RN owned and operated means that we have always put a heavy emphasis into what is best for our employees, not necessarily just our clients or our company. The end result is that you don’t work for us; we work for you. You are not an expense as you may be to a hospital; you are an asset. We take employee advocacy very seriously; you are not just a number to us. It also helps that we have a large number of diverse opportunities, competitive and comprehensive compensation packages, and by far the best administrative team in the business. For more details please give us a call or e-mail anytime.
Yes! Agency clinicians are empowered to take their assignment through the agency of their choice. If you are unhappy with your agency for any reason, or would rather be a CMS employee, we can inform the hospital or client and facilitate your extension to go through CMS.
Pay rates vary by assignment and unit, but CMS prides itself on offering very competitive rates in the marketplace. We offer up to 8 hours of OT every week to all RN employees, and pay 1.5x our standard rates for all hours over 40. Being on a contract offers additional perks such as full rate for orientation and parking & travel reimbursements.
You are eligible for a per diem travel expense reimbursement if your temporary assignment through CMS requires you to be away from your “tax home” – your tax home is defined as the entire city or general area where your main work is located. This would also typically be the area of your permanent residency. Based on government guidelines, we calculate your reimbursement by adding the applicable meals and incidentals rate to the applicable lodging rate, and determine a daily per diem rate. Here is the government website that outlines these rates, first by state, then by county: www.gsa.gov
Your hourly compensation varies by facility and unit, but you will know in advance prior to CMS presenting you as a candidate for any assignment. We can provide you with a sample pay stub in advance so that you can clearly see how your per diem travel expense reimbursement and your hourly compensation will appear on your typical weekly pay stub.
I have talked to other travelers that have owed thousands of dollars in back taxes from illegal travel reimbursements – will I be exposed if the IRS audits me in the future?
You definitely should not be. We have heard the horror stories, and are well versed in the regulations. We will educate you on exactly how the reimbursements are calculated, keep a detailed file of reimbursement substantiation for you, and ensure you are in compliance. While we do retain records of all documentation you provide that substantiates your reimbursements, it is advised that everyone also maintain these records with your professional accountant, as they will be your main support in the event of an IRS audit.
CMS offers a full range of benefits (including a 401K with a 4% match*) to employees who have worked an average of at least 30 hours per week for the 12-months following their date of hire (Note CMS will be rolling out a new policy where you will become eligible the 1st of the month after 30 days of full time employemnt – ask for more details!). We will notify you one year after your date of hire if you have worked the necessary amount of hours to be eligible and ask that you waive or elect benefits at that time. In the interim, you have several health benefit options, including extension of your current plan or COBRA, or applying for one of the many exchange plans that are available – the Maryland Health Connection exchange link for you to compare individual plans to our group plan options:
*401K 4% match is based on a 5% contribution by employee
How does the transition work if I am currently staff somewhere? Do I have to leave my current position before you can secure me an assignment?
No, you never have to leave a current employer hoping to secure something. You can interview to open positions while working staff, secure your contract, and then give your notice to your current position once we know your start date. Start dates are typically two-four weeks from the date of interview offer and acceptance, due to education department schedules and current full time employment ending. Hiring managers often have more confidence when interviewing currently employed candidates as well, and it often leads to successful placements.
That varies greatly based on the candidate and the unit manager’s availability. We can coordinate an interview as soon as you send us the documents we required, and sometimes you will receive an interview and offer within an hour. Typical turnaround from when you provide us what we need to when you speak with a considering manager is approximately 2-3 business days, but again can be much sooner than that.
Anywhere from the following day to 4-6 weeks from the date of interview. Variables that affect start date are your availability, credentialing process, and education department availability. Most facilities request candidates that can start “ASAP”, and based on those variables, it is usually 2-3 weeks. We have credentialed candidates and had them starting the next day, and other candidates have planned for assignments to start well in the future.
Some facilities will consider a candidate just based on a current resume. Different facilities have different criteria however, and are more or less strict in what they require before they will review a candidate. They typical requirements are a current resume, recent references, and a skills checklist. Ask for more details on how to appear as strong as possible on paper.
About 4-5 weeks out from your end date we ask both you, and the hospital, if you would like to extend the current assignment. If all parties on board, we sign and finalize the details much like your initial contract. If not, this gives all parties plenty of time to plan for the future to ensure no employment or coverage gaps.
Every hospital is different, but you typically have 40+ hours of orientation (general hospital, EMR documentation, and unit specific). All contract orientation is paid at our standard rates, not a discounted amount. Per diem orientation is much shorter, usually a day or two, and is also paid (though the rate can vary by location).
If CMS secures you an assignment and you need a certification before you start, we will reimburse half the cost on your first check. Alternative arrangements can be made when necessary to ensure you obtain the necessary credentials for your assignment.
Typically 2 years in the available specialty, but if you have lots of clinical experience in other specialties we can always check to see if the unit (and the hospital or health system) will make an exception.
Not likely, but if the units are very similar we can always check to see if the manager is willing to cross train.
The standard CMS employment agreement requires you to work 1,000 hours at the facility before taking a staff position, but CMS is happy to pursue staff transitions earlier if we can work out an agreement with the facility directly. Keep in mind 1,000 hours is just two 13-week assignments.
Absolutely, and remember we pay OT at 1.5x our standard rates for any hours over 40.
CMS writes your pay check, and we pay weekly. Every facility has its own way of tracking your time and you will have that information in detail before you start. We also provide you with ample reminders to ensure accurate payroll.