Barkow, RN 2,936 Views
Joined Feb 27, '07 - from 'NJ'.
Posts: 111 (24% Liked)
I just started my first travel nurse assignment 2 weeks ago. I moved from CT to TX. I severely underestimated how lonely I would feel. I'm a labor & delivery nurse and I equate this feeling with a primip who arrives on the unit after all of her googling and Pinterest ideas stating "no...I don't want an epidural" and then cries and begs for one when she is truly in active labor. I thought I knew what lonely was...but I didn't! Pictures of my family made me happy at home but if I display them in my hotel they make me cry. It feels as if I died and I'm currently in purgatory. I actually feel silly for the amount of personal effects I brought that I have no room for.
The real monetary advantage of travel nursing is in the tax-free money you get for housing/meals due to the fact that you are duplicating living expenses at the travel location. If you keep the apartment as your tax home you get the advantage of tax-free stipends, but this is only an advantage if your current apartment doesn't cost so much to make it not worth keeping. It sounds like you want to use travel nursing to lead to a permanent move, so probably no harm keeping the apartment until you make that decision.
If you absolutely know you want to move to Austin, I'd just go ahead and try to find a staff job. If you're valuable enough to them they shouldn't mind waiting six weeks for you to start, and like Ned pointed out you can sometimes get relocation money. I'd only use traveling if you're having trouble getting bites on your applications from afar, or if you're not 100% sure about the move and want to try it out while maintaining your home in Albany as backup.
The Peace Corps has a program for healthcare professionals that's a shorter time commitment than regular assignments. Might be worth checking out, and it could give you connections for the future if you wanted to stay.
You might be better off doing overtime shifts paying time and a half at your current job, if available, rather than doing straight pay shifts at a second job. More efficient that way, and you can always do it when you want to, as opposed to the stress of fulfilling staff requirements at two facilities.
I was super cheap when I first became a nurse. I was a money hoarder, rarely ate out. But, as a result, I was able to buy a new car and save up a 25% down payment on a house.
Over time I've gotten less cheap and used my savings to travel the world, since experiences are worth more than stuff. I still save quite a bit despite the traveling, and have grown to the point where I can understand that coffee is more valuable when served in a cute setting where I can get work done. If I want to buy something extraneous, I calculate how much I'd have to work to pay for it, and will work extra shifts to justify those expenses.
I think equating how much nursing work has to be done to buy something offers great perspective and helps guide choices.
I left IHC a year ago. The issue with shift differentials at the time was that they were a percentage of one's hourly pay, rather than a straight amount per hour. So a new grad at the bottom of the pay scale not only earned less pay, but their shift differential was lower than a more experienced nurse. Not sure if this is still accurate. I believe there was a weekend differential of maybe 50 cents/hour.
Holiday was time and a half, but in a sneaky way. For example, let's say you work night shift after Thanksgiving dinner. Your whole holiday was ruined, but you're only getting time and a half during the 7p-12a portion of that shift, when it was literally the day of the holiday. You'd have to also work the night shift before the holiday to get that 12a-7a portion at holiday pay rate and thus end up with 12 full hours overall of holiday pay.
Hope that makes some sense
I left Utah a year ago and worked for IHC. The issue with raises was that even though we got one every year, they seemed to be a straight percentage for everyone, so if you started at a lower rate, your raise wasn't as large. Also, when I was there, shift differentials were a percentage of your hourly pay rather than a set amount, so a more experienced night RN would end up with a higher shift dif, which also affects those at the lower end of the pay scale. They did a salary readjustment last year which made things a bit better, but still behind where it should have been.
There are obviously differences between a vacation versus 13 weeks somewhere, and it looks like the OP may be able to do a few assignments given her circumstances. However, she said she wants to use travel nursing to help pay down debt, which may or may not be a good idea depending on a variety of factors we don't know, and whether her husband can be employed on the road. She also does not particularly like her current specialty and would like to cross-train to something else entirely, and is actively working toward a NP degree. While travel nursing might be good if she needs a way out for a bit, most of her long-term goals seem better served in a permanent setting. I was just pointing out that those wanderlust needs can be accomplished in different ways, or the OP may simply be better served relocating to a larger city.
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