I have been seriously looking into travel nursing for several months now, but so for my experiences with travel companies has sucked. I'm starting to wonder if I'm just not worth hiring.
I have 1 1/2 years of experience in med/surg with quite a bit of ICU and ER float time, at a level II trauma center. I also out of frustrated just started a full time staff position in a smaller, rural hospital in ICU.
I have had a very hard time getting offers or even interviews from facilities with travel companies. Twice one company submitted me to facilities only to tell me the next day that the facility neglected to tell them the position was already filled.
AYA healthcare finally found me a spot in Las Vegas, but when the contract actually showed up it was nothing like what had been discussed. I was told it was a 36 hour med/surg position with "excellent compensation," and day shift. When I got the contract, it turned out to be night shift, and some sort of float pool. The contract stated I had to give the facility "five days of availability" every week and they would call me between 1600 and 1700 every day to tell me if I have to work. It also said I needed to have my car with me because public transportation wouldn't work with such short notice. That's all fine and good, but there was no compensation for the 700 mile drive to Las Vegas. The pay was also significantly less than what I make as a staff nurse. The take home was a little over $600 a week including the housing stipend. I bring home $800 a week working 3 days a week as it is.
I don't think I could even live in Vagas for that much. I mentioned all this to the recruiter and he said I have "almost no experience" and its very important for me to take the first travel assignment I can to get travel experience, and I couldn't expect to be paid more as a first time traveler. I ended up just turning down the assignment and I quit looking for travel jobs.
Is there any hope for finding a better assignment for the first time, or should I just A.) Suck it up and take a not so great assignment, or B.) Just keep gaining staff nurse experience and hope to find a better offer a few years down the road?
Last edit by JustBeachyNurse on Sep 8, '12
: Reason: formatting--added paragraph spacing
Sep 8, '12
Sorry, I posted this from my phone and it won't let me do paragraphs!
Sep 8, '12
I'm so sorry to hear about what you are experiencing. I think it depends on the area. Since the recession, a lot of things have changed. Have you tried Cross Country Travelers? I worked with them and they are pretty good. I will pm you my recruiter's information. I did a few assignments but decided to find a regular full time job.
Sep 9, '12
When it comes to positions, are you being picky or up for whatever?
I looked for my first assignment at about 18 months of med/surg tele experience. I was pretty specific on where I wanted to go. I worked with 3 or 4 companies, and only got one interview and ended up taking that job. The job was in the region I wanted but it was nothing like the hospital I wanted. However, I took it because the pay and locations met my expectations.
The job search was frustrating and I got low-balled a lot. You should talk about the pay and housing stipends, etc before you even get the interview. Sometimes you don't have much time if any to negotiate.
Maybe you should switch companies or even looked for a in-house hospital based travel company. I have seen seasonal positions in Florida, Arizona and NC in which the actual hospital hires you and provides you with housing, etc at a increased rate. In fact, that's what I have been doing for the past year in Florida and it's great.
Sep 9, '12
You are not in a good competitive position yet. Medsurg is currently kinda dead, and even if it paid better, I don't think you want to work at Sunrise (guessing here) in Vegas. You don't have enough experience in ICU yet to even minimally qualify at one year's experience it sounds like. If the economy keeps improving as it has, you should have a better time next year. If you want to keep plugging away, try some new agencies. I happen to know both Ranstaad and Nightingale have more positions than travelers. Every agency has a set of preferred client hospitals that they can sell you to if they think you have what it takes. Right now in medsurg, that usually means proven prior travel experience. Sorry to be the one to tell you, but it sounds like all I'm doing is confirming it.
Sep 10, '12
I'm having the same experience and I'm done as well. Looking for a full-time staff position for ICU instead.
Sep 10, '12
First, still not a lot of travel jobs out there and few for med surg, compared to 4-5 years ago.
Second, lots and lots of experienced travel nurses for few jobs.
Third, lots and lots of experienced nurses (as in 2-10 years experience) that cannot find jobs that are trying for travel positions.
Fourth, 1 1/2 yrs of medsurg, barely makes breaks the plane for "basic experience". More and more "good" hospitals are requiring 2-5 for any specialty in travelers.
Fifth, what exactly does "quite a bit of ICU and ER float" mean. For most good facilities, one does not float to ICU unless one has had extensive previous experience (full orientation, and 6 monthes or more straight work there). Unless one has a few years fulltime in ICU, it really means little in travel as the employer will have serious doubts as to how good, how heavy duty the critical care was that you provided. Critical care continually changes, and skills are lost rapidly when not practiced on a regular basis. Ditto, ER to a certain extent. And if it is less than 1 straight year or more, it tends to be disregarded.
Right now is not a great time to be a traveler and jobs are difficult to come by.
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