Agency vs. Travel Nurse Company

  1. Excuse me for what might be a stupid question - but, is there a difference between an agency and a travel nurse company? I am still a student nurse so am not fully clear about these things. My impression is that they are one in the same. Correct me if I am wrong and let me know the differences.

    Thanks
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   rnmaven
    Quote from Mantibob
    Excuse me for what might be a stupid question - but, is there a difference between an agency and a travel nurse company? I am still a student nurse so am not fully clear about these things. My impression is that they are one in the same. Correct me if I am wrong and let me know the differences.

    Thanks
    My perspective is that an agency functions more on a local basis.......say within a given state......and I think they have to license themselves that way. They get you assignments within their base of hospitals and pay you directly.

    A travel nurse company functions more on a national basis and function to set you up on longer commitment assignments. Compensation includes your travel and/or housing costs and an hourly wage paid to you by the travel company. You can set yourself up to work 3 months in NC, 3 months in TX, 3 months in Hawaii...........see the world. I know nurses who have "retired" and take travel assignments for 6 months in Hawaii.........lived on the beach and even were given a car........not a bad deal. Because these packages include so much more than an agency gives you, the hourly wage is less. Hourly wages from local agencies still tend to be much higher than working for a hospital but you have to consider benefits (which you may or may not get), sick pay, vacation pay, pension, etc. You don't necessarily get that from an agency so you have to consider those hidden perk's value when you look at an agency as your sole source of employment.

    I believe that most travel companies and agencies require 2 years of clinical experience. So if you're interested in working this way, get a good solid foundation in clinical from a hospital and get all your certifications, etc.
    Good luck with school!
  4. by   Mantibob
    rnmaven, thankyou for your response. I was begining to wonder if anyone was going to respond to my original post. I was thinking "it must be a really stupid question". But, I really appreciate you answering my questions. I have a better understanding now.



    Quote from rnmaven
    My perspective is that an agency functions more on a local basis.......say within a given state......and I think they have to license themselves that way. They get you assignments within their base of hospitals and pay you directly.

    A travel nurse company functions more on a national basis and function to set you up on longer commitment assignments. Compensation includes your travel and/or housing costs and an hourly wage paid to you by the travel company. You can set yourself up to work 3 months in NC, 3 months in TX, 3 months in Hawaii...........see the world. I know nurses who have "retired" and take travel assignments for 6 months in Hawaii.........lived on the beach and even were given a car........not a bad deal. Because these packages include so much more than an agency gives you, the hourly wage is less. Hourly wages from local agencies still tend to be much higher than working for a hospital but you have to consider benefits (which you may or may not get), sick pay, vacation pay, pension, etc. You don't necessarily get that from an agency so you have to consider those hidden perk's value when you look at an agency as your sole source of employment.

    I believe that most travel companies and agencies require 2 years of clinical experience. So if you're interested in working this way, get a good solid foundation in clinical from a hospital and get all your certifications, etc.
    Good luck with school!
  5. by   suzanne4
    All travel companies are agencies but not all agencies provide travel contracts. Agencies typically provide per diem contracts, where with the travel company you have have to sign a contract to work usually a minimum of 8 weeks, most of them are 13 weeks. Benefits can range from housing, medical, dental, travel to and from the city that you will be going to, license reimbursement, etc.
    The most important thing with any contract whether it is per diem or a travel contract is to get everything in writing. If the recruiter told you not to worry about something, that it would be included, but if that recruiter leaves, what are you going to do? Remember, if it is not written, it is not done.

  6. by   Brownms46
    Quote from suzanne4
    All travel companies are agencies but not all agencies provide travel contracts. Agencies typically provide per diem contracts, where with the travel company you have have to sign a contract to work usually a minimum of 8 weeks, most of them are 13 weeks. Benefits can range from housing, medical, dental, travel to and from the city that you will be going to, license reimbursement, etc.
    The most important thing with any contract whether it is per diem or a travel contract is to get everything in writing. If the recruiter told you not to worry about something, that it would be included, but if that recruiter leaves, what are you going to do? Remember, if it is not written, it is not done.


    Suzanne4, I always enjoy reading your posts, as they are factual and provide great information. No need to reply, just an observation here.
  7. by   Mantibob
    I would like to second Brownms46's remarks! Suzanne I really appreciate your remarks. I often do a search of just your posts just to see what new wonderful things I can learn.



    Quote from Brownms46
    Suzanne4, I always enjoy reading your posts, as they are factual and provide great information. No need to reply, just an observation here.
  8. by   suzanne4
    Thank you very much, you just made my day....................

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