I'm an AZ nurse who is planning to relocate to CO next spring. We are planning to live in Longmont, and I've given myself a 30-40 mile radius as to what hospitals I'll look at - so, Longmont, Loveland, Boulder, and the north Denver metro area. On a whim, I contacted a travel company to look into doing the traveler nurse thing. She was not able to give me exact salaries, but she said that I should expect to be paid $25-30/hour. I was shocked, as that seems so low! She said that CO is a "high demand" area, like HI, FL, and NY, and so hospitals know they don't have to pay the travelers as much as they would in other states that are harder to fill.
I'm just wondering if $25-30/hour is typical salary for a traveler in those areas, or if I should perhaps look at other companies that might pay better.
Oct 23, '09
Well, here is my experience....I got an offer in Colorado to work Ortho last week from a company...what they were willing to give me for take home pay was WAY too low. (I declined the offer) Yes, in part it my be due to the contract...in part it may be due to the agencies policy for compensation...so it is hard to tell. But depending on the area of nursing you are doing the prices may also vary. And if you had an agent tell you Colorado was in high demand...they are a fruit cake waiting on Christmas! Who the heck wants to go to Colorado in the middle of winter to work? Okay, a few snow bunnies that want to take some time skiing I guess...but that is very few and if they were in such high demand and could attract nurse on their own they would not be using agencies to fill their need for nurse...think about it.
Personally, I have been doing this for 5 yrs and I do not limit myself to one agency and I frequently contact hospitals and negociate my own contracts. Negociating your own contracts is certainly going to pay you lots more by cutting out the middle man (the agency). And if you want to do that, just call the nurse recruter at a hospital and ask if they have a seasonal or temporary program. But with an agency here is what I go by: For Med/Surg $1000 to $1100 per week, Specialty areas (Ortho, Neruo, Med-Tele, Surgical Specialty areas) $1100 to $1200, Cardiac Telemetry/ICU Float $1200 to $1400 per week due to acuity and advanced credentials (ACLS). That of course is what I aim for and negociate for with agencies, and I feel those are very reasonable expectations. If the agency cannot deliver a take home pay offer in those ranges then I pass on the assignment and in some cases have even stopped dealing or negociating with some agencies due to they want to line their pockets with too much money...sometimes they forget we are the ones making money for both of us while they sit in the office taking work orders for us RN's to fill. Guess my attitude is I am self employed...I often get my own contracts and if I choose to use an agency, they work for me and my benefit. I carry my own insurance and they give me nothing other than a contact to work for and manage the money I make cutting checks and taking care of the tax withholdings. I also inform 4-6 agencies when I am looking and may the best man win. The best location, job and money will get my services.
Moral of the story...shop around and don't be afraid to tell them what you want or what you have to have. Remember...these agents are basically salesmen hiding behind the title of "agent"...and if they can give you $1.00 in stead of giving you $5.00 like you deserve...believe me, that is exactly what most will do. Don't under sell yourself.
PS...I fired one so called "agent" a couple of years ago right in the middle of a contract...that left them sucking air. His company fired him too about 2 months later when they finally caught on to his tricks.
Nov 3, '09
A couple of questions for you naskippy:
Quote from naskippy
and I frequently contact hospitals and negociate my own contracts. Negociating your own contracts is certainly going to pay you lots more by cutting out the middle man (the agency). And if you want to do that, just call the nurse recruter at a hospital and ask if they have a seasonal or temporary program. But with an agency here is what I go by: For Med/Surg $1000 to $1100 per week, Specialty areas (Ortho, Neruo, Med-Tele, Surgical Specialty areas) $1100 to $1200, Cardiac Telemetry/ICU Float $1200 to $1400 per week due to acuity and advanced credentials (ACLS).
...I carry my own insurance
Do You have a written contract when you negotiate your own? If so, how do you have it written up?
Do you carry your own health insurance? How do you go about shopping for that, do you go through an association or just call local agents?
Nov 4, '09
agency or travel? travel pay is different from agency or registry.
do you have a written contract when you negotiate your own? if so, how do you have it written up?
hospitals can post their needs on a national database or solicit certain reliable companies they have worked with in the past. they post their needs and how much the position is worth.
the recruiter in a travel company will weigh the contract and list the pay, benefits and compensation. there is some room to negotiate wages and compensation. benefits tend to remain constant. if your demands exceed the parameters of what the hospital pays then they cannot pay you what you're asking. important factors are specialty areas l&d, icu, er, pacu. these usually pay more.
look for more $$$ in travel pay, rental car allotment, or housing. some pay completion bonuses. the per hour wage usually doesn't change much from the original listing.
you hold the cards though, if it seems too low for the commitment then walk away and look for a new listing. it's not always the company... sometimes it's just the contract.
do you carry your own health insurance? how do you go about shopping for that, do you go through an association or just call local agents?
most "travel" contracts provide their own insurance as a benefit. nothing comes out of your check. this is one of the benefits people don't factor into their benefits. remember this; insurance that's $100.00-150.00 per month only amounts to about 1.00/hr. no biggie unless you're paying for it out of pocket.
Last edit by EmergencyNrse on Nov 4, '09
Nov 4, '09
By the way-
I worked in a great little hospital in Rifle Colorado. Pay in the ER for night shift was $36.00/hr with no differential. It was in the spring too and the skiing season had just ended so census was lower too.
I have not taken other Colorado assignments but that wage was back in '07.
Sep 27, '12
I'm looking for an assigment in Colorado (Denver or Colorado Springs). I see the last post here was in 2009 so I was wondering if there are any more recent travelers that have taken an assignment there? It's been 3 yrs since I've worked in a hospital setting. I was a Med/Surg Clinical Instructor at a university for 3 semesters and then landed my current job as a Practice Manager & Clincal Nurse in a freestanding Urgent Care/Primary Care center. Prior to that I worked ER and ICU I told the recruiter that even though my experience has been primarily in the ER & critical care units I would be willing to start again in Med?surg. I have 15 yrs exp but it seems most hospitals want at least your last employment to have been in a hospital setting.
Any advise on good travel agencies and getting around the my last employment not being in a hospital setting?
Last edit by islandbsn on Sep 27, '12
: Reason: I wanted to post it on the main page of travelers
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