First Contract, Confused with all the number crunching!

  1. I've been submitted for a contract at Keck USC Medical Center on their BMT Unit. This will be my first travel assignment, and while I've done my research, I am a bit confused with this "blended rate" in California.
    The possible contract is $28/hr, with a 2K/month stipend, being paid weekly. Where I get confused is the $28/hr. THats a blended rate so it includes the 4 hr OT, PLUS the $35/day tax free for meals while on assignment (which is 7 days/week, 245/week). When I subtract that out, that's really only 21.19/hr BLENDED. To me, that seems REALLY low.
    On one hand, that's about $710/week tax free. I know that I also get $500 tax free for relocation.
    My understanding is the hourly is non-negotiable, but that I might be able to negotiate more stipend? When I totaled my pretax income, it actually didn't seem far off from what I was making in New York, so a part of me says don't be greedy. I also don't want to be taken advantage of on my first assignment.
    I don't have the position yet, but I know my recruiter wants to move quickly (as do I) should I be offered this position. Any thoughts?
  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   NedRN
    The "blended" rate is your net after overtime is considered. It has nothing to do with your per diem in the normal use of the term. $24 is your actual base rate for a 12 hour shift. Multiply that times 8 (for straight time) and by 6 (for 4 hours of overtime) and you will come to exactly $28 an hour if you divide that total sum by the 12 hours you actually work.

    The recruiter could have just as easily told you $24 an hour, but with overtime after 12. The problem is that $24 an hour sounds a lot lower than the $28 an hour it is actually equivalent to, so many agencies prefer to tell you the better sounding number. As you can see from above, the math is not really something you want to work out with many nurses on the phone (judging by the number of remedial math classes offered by nursing programs).
  4. by   BD-RN
    Thanks, that makes sense, except they seemed to have added the non taxed 35/day into that average hourly rate, where things seem to get hairy. But it seems like I shouldn't focus on the hourly and instead the whole package, correct?
  5. by   NedRN
    They may have done that, but that is really pushing the term. You could also add housing to the mix. Try using PanTravelers calculator, it does in fact do just that so you can compare different agency offers.