I did many years as a staff RN, and took my years of call, and now I often take assignments as a traveler .
THE WHOLE POINT OF BEING A TRAVELER IS TO BE ABLE TO CALL YOUR OWN HOURS. I do not take call, and I do not work schedule myself on Fridays or weekends. If other people don't like it, they are welcome to become travelers.
So far, I have never heard anybody complain , because they also know that I am a good nurse, I am versatile enough to scrub and circulate pretty much anything, and I don't whine about my assignment like some of the staff members do. I don't have the luxury of saying "I don't scrub" or "I don't like Dr. So- and -So," and I wouldn't do so anyway. Also, I am very flexible, and will often work overtime, come in early to help out with lunches or breaks, or work Fridays IF I HAPPEN TO FEEL LIKE IT AND DON'T HAVE OTHER PLANS. That autonomy, again, is part of being a traveler.
Travelers have to be able to come in literally off the street, with very little orientation to your facility or department, and step into virtually any situation. We are knowledgeable and confident, and can get along with anybody. We have fun, and we don't consider the job our life.
A lot of staff members have become complacent, have confined themselves to only one specialty area, and are resentful that the travelers' variety of skills make them look bad.
They know, deep down, that they don't have the skills necessary to become travelers--they are stuck, right where they are, and will stay until they retire. A lot of them have worked in the same facility since graduating from nursing school, and think there is only one way to do things--"the way they have always done it." They are threatened by change, or by seeing other nurses who know how to do things more than one way.
Think about it this way: travelers do not get benefits, and we generally get the worst assignments-- the ones that the staff members do not want. We work with the most difficult doctors--the ones that the staff have refused to work with.
While you get to go to staff meeetings and inservices, and enjoy the treats brought in by reps, we are the ones who cover your rooms. We are the ones who make it possible for you to take vacations, because your hospital would rather spend money on travelers than hire other staff members and benefit them.
You think we get tons of money, but our wages don't come close to yours when you factor your benefits in. We don't get vacation or sick time. If we take call, it is paid at a fraction of what you would be paid. We are often not able to get the "time and a half" over 8 hours in a day that you take for granted--our travel company pays us according to the state labor laws in our home of record. My home of record pays time and a half only after 40 hours in a week. Therefore, if I have to work 12 hour shifts, as a lot of travel contracts stipulate, I am getting only straight time.
So, you see, travelers don't have it as good as you seem to think. Most travelers do it only to travel to an area where they have other business interests, or to keep up their skills in one area of nursing while they work other nursing jobs
or run independent businesses, or just live their lives the rest of the year. No one is stopping those staff members who complain from taking the same risks and doing the same.
Staff members who complain are usually intimidated by travelers because, deep down, they know that their skills are not up to par and they are intimidated by the travelers. Trust me, we don't want to take your jobs. if your institution was such a great place to work, it could attract and retain permanent staff, rather than having to depend on travelers.