I agree, the bonus may be bogus. It is most likely payable over a year minimun, as mentioned above. It would definitely be for a contract, or blocked time, where you promise them 40 hours a week or more. Don't worry about the bonus too much. You don't have to sign on for that much time(Of course that means you won't get the bonus either ). Ask what is the pro-rated bonus, they may have one. Also little things can disqualify you like calling out, but you could legitimately have the flu, so then what? Bonuses of 3000 and less are generally less "work" for you.
The tests? Depends on where you want to work. If in ICU, or tele, you will probably have to show acls cards, and also pass an arrhhthmia test. Also, diff med tests in some places for ICU vs LTC. Yes, IV and med dose calcs. Don't worry about it too much, these are very common meds, like dig, steroids, asa tox, etc... They still have that ancient IV calc for macro drips, but who ever uses them anymore? What I have done in the past is write next to the answer space, "have to look up." At least it's an appropriate action.
Also, depending on how many places you want to work, many hospitals have their own orientations and policies. Some just want you there 2 hours before the shift, others want more tests, competencies stuff like restraints, confidentiality, etc... They may want you to take a computer course. I just oriented at a rehab that I have no intention of ever going back to, I won't be paid for that shift unless I put in another 40 hours there. So I guess I donated that time! It irks me, but better that than work crazy.
If I may suggest, do not orient on 3-11 shifts, I have found these are the craziest times, too many staff changes esp at 7p, try days or nights.
I always get butterflies in my stomach the first time I am at a new place. It helps me to keep of list of what I feel I must know, like how to call a code, where is the code cart? Procedure for missing meds, how do I reach the supervisor? How/where do I get supplies? Linen? Entering orders in strange computers is always fun! Is there a doctor in the house, how to find out what doc is on call and procedure to reaching docs. Can you believe some places still want you to go through the supervisor to reach a doc? I'll decide if I need to notify a doc or not, thank you very much!
I have found most nurses are so happy to have you, they don't abuse you, cause they know you won't come back. Everyone I work with has been great! I am only working in my former CT ICU for the most part, they only have 2 FT night nurses right now, and I get treated like a Diva. One or two pt's at most. Though, no sec or aide ever. The girls in ICU asked why I haven't worked with them, and I said I want to be a Diva, and they crack up. They are always teasing me that the CT ICU girls are spoiled!
Best of Luck to you! The best part of agency is NO MEETINGS!! No staff meetings, no commitees, no holidays, (unless you want $55/hr), no weekends unless you want them. Many ER's will take you for virtually any 4 hour shift you want. I used to do 7p-11p on a regular basis, but then CCU got more staff and my little gravy train stopped at the station! I love agency. Even though my F-I-L loves to point out I will have no pension, etc.... Now many agencies will have you commit to blocks of time and they even offer vacation and sick pay 401K's and other great bennies, so shop around. What agencies do the nurses from your hospital come from? Do they like them? Network Nurse!!