We’re proud to feature a list of prominent speakers who are at the forefront of their fields. These professionals are always eager to share their knowledge and inspire like-minded enthusiasts. Read more about this year’s speakers below, and contact us if you would like to learn more information.

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Nicole Thomas, RN, MSN, CCM, DNP(C)

Keynote Speaker

Katie Duke

Keynote Speaker

Educator, Mentor, Nurse, Entrepreneur & Author are a few of the words to describe Nicole Thomas, RN, MSN, CCM, DNP(C) the founder of Nicole Thomas INC., an educational firm that provides education, tools, and resources to nurses, nurse practitioners, and allied healthcare professional who have a desire to take their career to a level that is beyond the confines and limits that have placed on them by society’s perception of what their respective role should be.

Nicole has led in her roles as a nurse-leader, associate director, and educator for various fortune 500 companies in the area of medical & clinical operations. In addition, Dr. Thomas led a fortune 7 managed care organization in developing, implementing, and evaluating clinical programs during the transition of Louisiana Medicaid to a managed care system which resulted in an 87% increase in patient health outcomes & an annual $3.2 cost-savings. During her tenure as the associate director for medical & clinical operations, Dr. Thomas consistently maintained a 98% success rate on her ability to lead a successful team of healthcare professionals in the areas of productivity, education, motivation, and empowerment which has afforded her the opportunity to be the recipient of the Super Hero award, a prestigious award in which over 1,500 were nominated but only 125 were selected.

In addition to being a Master’s prepared Registered Nurse & Certified Case Manager, Nicole utilizes her 16- years of leadership, healthcare expertise, clinical knowledge, and business acumen to provide healthcare consulting services through her company Impact Nurse Consulting. As an accomplished Nurse, healthcare professional, educator, & strategist, Nicole is known for her ability to help individuals reach their ordained level of success as healthcare professionals all while ensuring it aligns with THEIR purpose as a healthcare professional. She is the author of “In Health On Purpose: Awakening Your True Calling In The Healthcare Profession” which was #6 in the professional development category on Amazon. Dr. Thomas has been featured in national publications such as Black Enterprise, Rolling Out, & Scrubs Magazine. She is also the co-founder of the #1 nursing development platform, The Nurse Power Network, which helps nurses find, operate, & dominate in their nurse power which has helped over 20,000 nurses and counting. The strategies in this book have helped dozens of healthcare professionals change their mindsets, adjust their language, and begin to identify, manifest, and fulfill their purpose.

Katie Duke is a public figure with over 17 years experience in Nursing, with the last 6 years as a Board Certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. She serves as a mentor, podcast host, and content creator, and is sole nurse practitioner on the advisory board of the Association for Healthcare Social Media (AHSM). 

Ms Duke is respected most for her authentic transparency and relatable content focusing on mentoring, lifestyle, and professional career experience and guidance, with an emphasis on how to own your truth, grow through your “Bad Decisions”, and make them your success story. 

Duke completed her BSN from City University of New York Hunter College, and a Masters of Science in Nursing from Columbia University in the City of New York. 

She is the host of the “Bad Decisions Podcast”, which is a Top 25 Rated Society and Culture Philosophy Podcast on Apple podcast charts, with over 60,000 downloads per month. 

Over the course of building her personal platform, she has worked with global brands on influencer marketing campaigns, has been featured in women’s empowerment media campaigns, was featured on the 2020 Emmy Awards for her work as a frontline provider during the NYC Covid19 crisis, and additionally presented the Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. 

Her Instagram platform reaches 2.5 Million people per week, and she is renowned as one of the most authentic and transparent influencers within the healthcare realm. 

She has given over 75 keynote speeches at academic and professional organization conferences and universities in her career. Additionally, Duke is a seasoned mentor, having precepted over 125 nurses and nurse practitioners over her years of clinical practice and throughout her personal mentoring platform. 

Ms Duke is the co-founder of the Concept to Creation workshop, wherein she educates healthcare professionals how to pursue their passions and grow impactful careers away from traditional bedside roles. As an expert on burnout, Katie Duke is dedicated to teaching healthcare professionals how to say goodbye to toxic work environments and prioritize work life balance. 

In 2020, Duke left her bedside career to pursue a full time role as a content creator, podcast host, mentor, and speaker. She hosts international group retreats for nursing professionals, promotes community within her workshops and online presence, and is a leader in the nurse empowerment and entrepreneurship realm.

Kay Slane
Panel Moderator

Kay Slane is a professional travel nursing educational speaker and has been the mistress of ceremonies for several conferences, including TravCon, the CNA convention, and the Healthcare Travelers Take conference.


Drawing on her 30 years of nursing experience with 19 of those in the travel healthcare industry, she has traveled in the areas of rehab, telemetry, emergency room, and since 2010 as a House Supervisor.  Currently, she works from home educating nurses on becoming better travelers through her books, several travel nursing groups, and her recent development of a travel nursing university.  She also wrote the book on Travel Nursing:  “Highway Hypodermics:  Travel Nursing 20XX.”  Along with “A Newbies Guide to Travel Nursing” and “Finding The Right Travel Nursing Agency.”  In fact, all three books were in the Top 20 together in the nursing Issues, Trends, and Roles category on Amazon.

Kay earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Science Education, an Associate’s Degree in Nursing, and in 2013 put both degrees and her experience together to earn a Certificate of Grad-level Management.  In 2005 she was awarded the honor of Traveler of the Year by Healthcare Traveler magazine, and in 2016 won OneStaff Medical’s Compass Award for going above and beyond.  She has recently become a Dave Ramsey Certified Financial Coach and specializes in helping travel healthcare professionals get the most out of their hard-earned dollars.   

Kay lives in Idaho with her husband, son, two cats, and one grand-dog.  In her free time, she enjoys playing golf, quilting, and helping her 60K+ travelers in her Facebook Travel Nursing Newbies group.  Kay can be reached at highwayhypo@yahoo.com


Movers and Shakers


Joanie Reneer, COO, Medical Staffing Solutions

Destination: Hawaii

Chief Operating Officer and co-owner of MSS, I have spent the last 13 years growing this wonderful business. As a Registered Nurse, I started my career in hospitals, working in Med/Surg, telemetry, ICU, and CVICU. Transitioning into homecare, I eventually opened and operated a Medicare Certified Home Health Agency and a Home Infusion Agency. In 2003, MSS became the next challenge for me and it was so cool to build it with another nurse who cares about our employees as much as I do.

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MK Bryan

CEO of EmpoweRX, Inc. 

Becoming a Clinician Entrepreneur

Mary Kathleen (M.K.) Bryan, founder of EmpoweRx, Inc, brings her passion for health care providers and 25 years of leadership experience to her approach to staffing solutions. M.K. has amassed an impressive business background ranging from employee recruitment, professional development and retention to managing operations to establishing her own companies. Seeing the coming changes in tax reform and its many effects on healthcare, she saw an opportunity for clinicians to work as Clinician Entrepreneurs to increase earnings and offer facilities the option to have top talent while saving on staffing costs. M.K. and her team provide consulting services to walk clinicians through the entrepreneur process. 

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Erica Harvitt, OT

Are you Ready to Travel?

With a background in Psychology and International Business in the technology sector, Erica brings a unique perspective to the field. A graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University’s Masters of Occupational Therapy Program, Erica spent her subsequent 3 years as a travel therapist in the Home Health and Acute Rehab settings. Over the past 5 years Erica has had the privilege of traveling extensively around the globe for work and pleasure taking a special interest in service projects for sustainable futures in 3rd world economies. Erica is presently operating The LIST, a searchable database for LIVE travel healthcare jobs


Donna Robinson, Travel Tax


Donna Robinson is the Operations Manager for TravelTax and TravelTax Canada.  Donna has a degree in Business Finance with a minor in French from Bob Jones University. She started her career working as an executive for a multi-state retail store for 3 years before entering the fundraising industry helping raise the necessary funds for schools and civic groups as an area sales representative. She was a consultant in the insurance field for over 18 years advising business clients and their employees (in 4 states and DC) on benefit issues and compliance issues. She left that position to pursue her project management certifications.

In 2018 she joined TravelTax as the Operations Manager. She knew that it would be an exciting project to help move TravelTax from Nebraska to South Carolina and set up new operations systems and procedures, but it has turned into a much bigger opportunity. Donna loves working with TravelTax staff and clients and is motivated to fulfill the company’s vision of helping medical, cross-border, and international travelers. She loves spending time with her entire family including her sons, grandkids, twin sister and their families.

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Kathryn Mullins, BSN, RN


Agency Support from Home Base

Kathryn Mullins, BSN, RN, Clinical Operations Manager.  Katie is the head of our Clinical Liaison team here at trustaff. She has been a RN for over 15 years with experience in cardiac, transplant, and med/surg ICU. She was a fellow travel nurse early on in her career working at several facilities across the country. While working in the ICU, she was heavily involved in patient safety, particularly alarm fatigue, nurse fatigue, and medication administration safety. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing as well as Psychology. Katie’s skills and experiences have given her a great foundation as a clinical advisor and we’re lucky to have her.


Terry Merlin

Bill Rate Breakdown

Terry Merlin began his career as an RN in 1992 first working in ER and ICU. Through the years Terry has worked in various roles throughout the healthcare sector including hospital management roles. In 2009 Terry established The Merlin Healthcare Group through the acquisition of Nurses 24/7 in 2009 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The company acquired the assets of Nurses 24/7 through an asset only purchase agreement. The Merlin Healthcare Group, Inc. is a Florida corporation located in Broward County. Merlin Healthcare has been successful in meeting the demands of the market due to the established relationships, employee satisfaction, fair market pay, benefits and quality services provided. We have been able to match specific skilled workers with client needs, saving facilities time and money, while providing healthcare professionals that are experts in their specific clinical settings. The Merlin Healthcare Group has been able to set themselves apart from the competition because they have been able to create partnerships with their clients, offering out of the box solutions and money saving ideas. The company has not been viewed as just another agency, but as a long-term partner. ​



Amanda Padilla, Premier Medical

Recruiter Panel

Amanda Padilla is the Recruitment Manager for Premier Medical Staffing Services. Since joining the team 6 years ago, she has worked with travel nurses of all disciplines and experience levels. Her passion-driven approach to leading and helping others has shown to be successful not only with the travelers she works with, but also the team she leads at the home office in Milwaukee, WI. She is known amongst travelers for her supportive nature, meaningful communication, and go-getter attitude. Outside of the office, Amanda enjoys being active, spending time with the ones she loves, and is a major dog lover.

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Kayla Cash, Onestaff

Recruiter Panel

Kayla Cash is a Lead Staffing Manager, with independently-owned, OneStaff Medical.  She’s experienced in recruiting both 1st time travel RNs and Experienced Travelers alike, Kayla strives to make the recruitment process as efficient, educational and positive as possible. Priding herself as a mentor to travelers for what can at times feel like an overwhelming process, during onboarding, Kayla is well-known for her compassion and coaching throughout that inevitable journey in any traveler’s life. Kayla truly understands that her efforts impact the daily lives of her travelers, and that will trickle down to their patients and patients’ families alike. It’s that type of thought process that keeps her passion for the industry so strong day in and day out.


Laura Hanoski

Premier Medical

CEO Panel

18 years ago Laura co-founded Premier Medical Staffing Services, a Wisconsin Certified Women-Owned Business Enterprise, with her husband, Mark Hanoski. Laura is a nurse by trade and has worked in a variety of specialty areas as a pool nurse, including 6 years in orthopedics. She has a passion for healthcare and improving quality of life for patients. Laura oversees all the clinical aspects of Premier, from medication teaching to maintaining Joint Commission standards. She works alongside Mark to help grow and plan the future of Premier. Additionally, in 2017 Laura started a non-profit called Heroes for Healthcare - an organization that helps military personnel transition to civilian life and Veterans find their career in healthcare.


Alexis Dunbar, TotalMed

Recruiter Panel

In this job, sometimes we have ups and downs, just like a roller coaster. But what truly matters to me is that the people I work with are phenomenal. The nurses that I get to talk to daily, the stories that I get to hear, I wouldn’t change my profession for the world. Being able to get someone to their friends or family across the country, their new boyfriend, to be near their elderly parents…. It’s all part of the reason why this job gives me so much purpose. My favorite part of this job is the excitement when I place a first-time traveler in an assignment, or helping a nurse get to that really hard spot that no one has been able to place them. 


Melanie Theriac, Medical Staffing Solutions

CEO Panel

I am proud of what this company stands for. As an RN myself, it gives me such satisfaction to know that we are providing healthcare facilities with excellent clinicians to help with their shortage of healthcare staff. We do live by our Mission: "Healthcare with Purpose" by always placing the care we give patients as our number one priority. As the CEO and Managing Partner of Medical Staffing Solutions, the best part of my day is hearing the buzz of the growth in our office and knowing that we are employing hundreds of healthcare professionals.

Speakers and topics are subject to change or updates at any time without notice. The information provided on this Site is intended for informational purposes only. Information may be changed or updated without notice.