[QUOTE]Originally posted by hollykate:
In the ICU you get 2 days of orientation. (without any ICU experience, though, I think traveling co's won't let you do ICU.) Then you are expected to know what to do. Some RN's don't like travelers and will help you a lot less than they should. You float to all other critical care floats first- you could float everyday for a week, while I feel sort of bad sometimes for the travelers floating, I always recall they are making more cash than I am.
You're right,hollykate, the only travel company that I've seen advertise to place new grads is NursesRx. I've met a couple that took one assignment with them as new grads prior taking a permanent position in the ICU. The usual rule of thumb, I've been told, is you're presented assignments related to your most recent experience. That makes sense as you're right about your other point--orientation is one 1-2 shifts long. If you're as fortunate as I've been, I was always well received and appreciated as the shortage is hurting everyone.
Yes, generally, travel nurse pay is higher as far as real wage. The housing/utilities perks make the benefits. But courting the invites to take permanent positions, I've found that my per hour pay is less or close to what is offered as base wage. I work 12-hr nights and do not get shift or weekend differential pay. I do not get PTO/sick/vacation time accrued. And being Canadian without a Green card, I am the sole financial provider, because my husband does not have a work permit. So, for my little family, it takes creative budgeting, choosing places of interest where the school system must be scrutinized and the safety of the general area is high priority.
I'm sorry to hear your travellers there are so worked-over and under-appreciated. It was like that in Florida Hospital in Orlando, but I only floated 3 times in 6 months and got along well with everyone. Made friends and email them frequently.
When you do decide to travel, shop around and ask lots of questions of the companies and apply with a few. I first applied 5 years ago to a handful of them and when finally opted to travel just updated my profile. Maybe when my kids are into college, I'll travel again with this company that's gone the extra mile for me on a few occasions.