2 Questions about Travel Nursing (Fact or Myth)

  1. Hi,

    I'm wondering if its true what I heard- travel nurses are not well liked at hospitals that work them because the permanent nurses see them as using the system and getting overpaid. Is that a myth? How is their relationship?

    Also, I'm actually doing this research for my fiance....I'm a beginning airline pilot and I can live anywhere I want to live, however I'm based on the East coast (Virginia to be exact) which means I can commute to work for free on any airline. So what we're thinking is that my fiance could get a travel nurse job which means we could pay off our college loans faster and then after about 3 yrs worth of that she wants to go on to get her nurse pract. What would be great is if she could get a job based on the East coast, hopefully the Virginia area. Does that sound possible? She's a 4 yr RN (think ya'll call that a BSN?). Please help out, moneys very tight right now and this seems smart.
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Every contract/facility is different.

    Some places are very glad to have travel nurses helping them out, and treat us well. At one assignment, I was given a hand-written invitation inviting me to a wedding shower on my first day, made friends there fast, and my social calendar was full every week.

    At other places, people are mean and nasty, and you can't wait to leave.

    Your girlfriend should have at least one, preferably two years of experience in her speciality before considering traveling.
    Last edit by Hellllllo Nurse on Oct 26, '05
  4. by   nursesarenice
    I see. Can you point us in any direction as to whom (the best option) to contact (ie agents or recruiters or whatever) and how long do the contracts work? She has 2 yrs of co-op experience at a hospital in ortho-ped, wonder if that's good enough? To us that sounds like an awesome and smart option. I know very little but this is how I hope it would be-

    -Us living near the Norfolk area where I'm based and her making good $$ (cuz we don't get paid worth a hoot - 22K a year) to pay off loans and save big time on rent w/ paid for housing. But I'd assume they throw their nurses from hospital to hospital every month or so or is it pretty much stuck in one they choose? Thanks for all your help, I'll quit bugging you, but this info helps very much.
  5. by   suzanne4
    Co-op experience, you mean while she was a student? She needs the experience time to begin when she is actually working as an RN.

    Most travel contracts are for 13 weeks, and you get to chose.
  6. by   nursesarenice
    The Co-op is as a student so yeah that would probably not count towards the pre-req...shucks!
  7. by   suzanne4
    Unfortunately, she will be starting out with zero experience as an RN. None of the time counts before..............sorry.....................
  8. by   caroladybelle
    In some places, we are treated like pariahs because they feel we are overpaid and taking advantage. This is a major problem in states like Florida where the pay is poor and the conditions are pitiful. We routinely take the brunt by being first to float (even to other locations), getting the worst assignments, being insulted by coworkers, and working bizarre schedules (for NOCs, the every other night or every single Friday). My personal favorite was always being on holidays and being floated to the worst units - the regular staff had requested and got low census for Christmas...and for a 55 bed unit that was 3/4thes full was staffed with one floor nurse - in charge and taking no patients - and the rest were traveler/PRNs/agency. That and some travelers take contracts with companies that supply strikebreakers.

    Other hospitals treat us like regular staff and we rotate low census, holidays and floating. In the North (including Manhatten), I have made friends, been invited to people's homes for holidays,etc..

    Some of the issues have to do also with the manners of the traveler. I do not discuss pay rates, I do not put down the staff or the facility (unless dangerous), I stay away from the "We do it soooo much better at X". I adapt to the idiocyncrases of the hosting facility.

    I am a guest in their land and should behave graciously and mannerly.

    Student nursing experience and nonRN experience does not count towards the one year experience required. I also STRONGLY encourage two years minimum experience as a licensed RN before traveling. While there are places that will accept you with less, they do not have your/or the facility's best interest at heart. You will also obtain assignments at better facilities with more experience...and some of the facilities that take "just anyone" with the minimum qualifications are not where ANYONE should ever have to work.
  9. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    I totally agree with caroladybelle.

    Student experience does not count at all as nursing experience. A nurse must have at least one, preferabley two years of solid experience in her nursing speciality before considering traveling. As a traveler, you must be very confident in your skills and able to work independently. A traveler has to be able to "hit the ground running."

    As caroladybell said, you have to do things the host facilities' way, or at least make it appear you are doing things their way. Some places are out of step with their policies and procedures, and are antiquated in how they do things. A travel nurse has to be able to judge when to play along and when the facilities' ways of doing some things are actually detrimental and should not be done. You have to walk a fine line, at times.

    Some agencies will hire inexperienced nurses, as they are taking atvantage of new nurses who don't know any better. If things go wrong, it's your license, not theirs.

    Facilities which utilize travelers do so partly because they do not have the time, resources, personnel or facilities to train/orient new grads or inexperienced nurses. "Inexperience" and "travel nursing" do not mix.
  10. by   Dixielee
    The experience required is not just an arbitrary thing. It is for the nurses own protection. When you take a travel job, it is assumed you already know how to be a nurse and do not need help in that realm. The only thing you should have to learn is the basics of that facility, their notes, their pumps, their routine. They expect you to be more or less fully functional in a short time, sometimes a few hours, sometimes a few days. My first travel job orientation was the first 4 hours of a 12 hour shift.

    It would behoove the nurse to have experience in more than one facility as well. I have met many nurses who have trained and only worked at one facility and it is a struggle for them to accept other ways of doing things. Every place has it's own little quirks.

    I have traveled for 5 years and have always felt very welcomed as a traveler. Prehaps I am just lucky, but I have always been to places that seem to use a lot of travelers and they are just glad to have the extra hands. Travelers who succeed have to be flexible and go with the flow. Something may not make sense but it is their way, and if you are going to survive, you do it their way. That is not to say you do anything to jeopardize your license, but you have to adapt. If it is a bad experience, then it is only 13 weeks and you move on. So far, I have always extended at least once. It seems like you are really getting comfortable about the time it is to decide to extend or not.

    Traveling is not for everyone, but it works for me now. I am so glad to be out of the politics, the gossip and the general garbage that staff has to put up with. Good luck to both of you in your travels.
  11. by   Daytonite
    I worked at a hospital that used traveling nurses extensively. I liked most of them. Of course, I've always been one to see the positive side of situations. To me, traveling nurses bring new blood to a place and lots of different experiences, so there's a lot you can learn from them. I think many of my co-workers felt the same way. We felt sorry for the travelers because we saw them as being kind of abused by the hospital. Even though each traveling nurse was actually assigned to a specific unit they were often floated all over the hospital when a "hole" in the schedule needed filling. They didn't seem to care, however. Most said they liked the constant change. The travel nurse agencies won't consider your fiance unless she has at least a year's experience working as an RN on a hospital medical unit. AA or BSN doesn't usually make a difference. Traveling nurses have to sign a contract when they take an assignment and if they want to pull out of it they end up having to forfeit some of the benefits they've been given. Also, the agencies advertise big hourly wages, but when they present you with your first contract, the wages will be lower. They don't start paying those higher wages until the nurse demonstrates that she is reliable, will complete her contracts, and doesn't present any problems to the agency.
  12. by   fergus51
    Our travellers are pretty well treated. They do float first, but that's about the only down side they have. As staff, I don't have to float when we have travellers on, which means I never float so I like travellers just fine. They are given lighter assignments than staff for safety reasons and most of them only work the holidays they agree to ahead of time. Most are finishing their contracts right before Xmas, so they get that holiday off. We kind of joke you see more staff on holidays than any other time of the year

    Your girlfriend should DEFINITELY have 2 years experience before travelling. I've worked with inexperienced travellers and it's a nightmare. The whole reason the hospital is paying them so much is because they are expected to jump right in with minimal to no orientation. If she can't do that, she will not be well received.
  13. by   babynurselsa
    I agree with the previous posters that most facilities are receptive to travelers. My personal experience was that 1/3 of the facility that I went to was travelers. The manager and staff overall were wonderful. There were a couple of indiviuals in the unit that weren't but I did not let them sour my experience. The same holds true for agency nursing. Most facilities are grateful for the help. The couple of places that were not receptive I simply have refused to return to.
    That being said Your fiance should not even consider traveling until she has AT LEAST 2 years of solid experience in whatever area she decideds to work in. She will be expected to be able to largely function without coddling or babysitting. THe facilities are paying the big bucks for experienced nurses to immediately fill the staffing needs, not someone who does not have a solid base upon which to practice independently.
    Example, I was recently at a facility when we had a pt who came in in Pulmonary edema. He needed to be intubated as he was rapidly declining. I asked the doc "You want me to push 20 of etomidate?" He said yes, we got the pt intubated and stabilized. A short while later I went to get meds from the pixis and the physician was sitting at the desk with his pda out and he said "Do you spell etomidate A...T...O...M... I wanted to look it up?"
    THis was not a drug he was familiar with, in fact he had never used it. Now I did not know this at the time and he gave the go ahead trusting in me. What if I had screwed up and suggested the wrong drug or the wrong dose????
    Side not I went home that night and downloaded Trauma checkmate and epocrates into y own pda so that I can double check myself and any meds I give as I find not all facilities have up to date drug books.
  14. by   hollykate
    I wanted to echo everyone saying at least 2 years of solid experience. In all the advertisements- they show these 20 something girls running off to have the time of their lives. I think most travel nurses are 30 somethings or older.
    I am doing an assignment now, it is my first one, and I like it, but the orientation time is so fast, and a person has to be assertive- like to send a patient to the OR- we didn't do that in my orientation, so I have to find the charge and insist on some guidance- but I already KNOW how to send a patient to generic OR (gown only, IVs intact and in hand, consent form signed, or checklist etc etc), I just need to get forms from the charge and find out if there is any wierd things I gotta do to get them to this OR.

    I had 3 years of experience before traveling, and sometimes I wonder if even that was enough.



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