HELP! 1st time travel help | allnurses

HELP! 1st time travel help

  1. 0 I'm a critical nurse with 4-5 years experience. Just got my Cali license. I've been working with Travel Nurse Across America. I picked them because they had high ratings on multiple sites. But the examples of pay rates my recruiter has been sending me seem low. For example: Oakland ICU position at Kaiser starts at 20/hr. The "blended rate" ends up being like 24/hr. That's what I make in Michigan with a much lower cost of living!
    M&I is about 31/day... That's around 11000 for a 13 week assignment if I go with their housing. There is a 1000 dollar travel reimbursement in that.

    Am I being ripped off or does this seem like about the right starting point? I'm only still working with this recruiter because she has helped me from the start, but I'm not sure she's going to get more for me. Every time I tell her.. "look, I need more" her response is to be more flexible, after all.. it is your first travel job and it only lasts 13 weeks" I've been recently looking at other companies. Companies my friends have worked with. They offer a little better wages, but overall the with benefits and the tax advantages, it kind of looks pretty close.



    I realize that as a first time traveler, I need to be flexible... any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Visit  letsgosavelives85 profile page

    About letsgosavelives85

    Joined Sep '12; Posts: 9.

    25 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  Sage1111 profile page
    1
    This pay rate could be a starting point for a first-time traveler if it was a small rural hospital where not that much is going on. But Oakland Kaiser ICU??? Give me a break!!!!! I would physically break out laughing on the phone if I was offered this rate at that facility. I encourage you to keep looking. Best wishes.
    sfrederickadams likes this.
  4. Visit  NedRN profile page
    0
    Your M&I is $31 a day. Times seven days is $217. Divided by 36 hours worked per week is $6 per hour. Add that to $24 is $30 per hour.

    So that is now significantly more than you make now. Plus you get free housing on top of that. Plus you get to be in the Bay area, and get a first travel assignment under your belt.

    Starting to feel better?

    You will make more once your resume looks better. But Kaiser has a relatively low bill rate for California, so you won't make much more there in the future. If you had the same bill rate in St Louis (very possible) you would make more because housing is so much less. PanTravelers has a Travelers Calculator that will help you figure out not only what you are really making, but also if it is fair compared to another agency's differently offered pay rates. But the only way to find out "fairness" is to get several agencies quoting rates.
  5. Visit  Sage1111 profile page
    0
    Blended rate =m&I plus hourly wage?? I took this post to mean her hourly "blended" pay is $24.00 per hour plus housing. Am I wrong? Sorry for the confusion.
  6. Visit  NedRN profile page
    0
    You might be right, but usually blended refers to averaging in the overtime after 8 in California. Using the quoted number of $20, I calculate the blended rate at $23.33 so $24 is close. Using the supplied per diem number, that is an extra $6 an hour. I can't make that add up as close to $24 as the usual use of "blended".

    So for those interested, here is how to calculate a California "blended" rate: Base rate times 42/36. That is a short cut to going the long way: $20 x 24 hours, plus $30 times 12 hours, divided by the weekly hours (36). More interesting is the reverse calculation as some recruiters will not tell you the base rate at all.

    Clearly there are issues with quoting a blended rate. But it can be a helpful number to compare with base rates you make in other states (and many assignments in California) that do not pay time and a half after 8.
  7. Visit  letsgosavelives85 profile page
    0
    Thanks for the responses. I really appreciate it. Sorry that I wasn't clear. Blended pay is the base rate blended with the daily overtime hours like NedRN was saying. Apartment will already be provided. Then the extra non-taxed M&I. So it does average out to be 30/hr. This seems to be the average "quoting" I am getting from most companies as a first timer. I am gathering though, that because of the area, I may not make the money I expected. It's just good to hear other experienced travelers responses. Thank you.
  8. Visit  Sage1111 profile page
    0
    Thanks guys! I learned something new today!! I am on assignment in California right now. No one has ever quoted me a "blended"rate. Good to know for the future.
  9. Visit  bunny8762 profile page
    0
    the different rates can be confusing.... just ask what is your take home paycheck after insurance, housing, and all reimbursement.
  10. Visit  NedRN profile page
    0
    And then you will not know what your overtime is. What if an agency doesn't have insurance? What if it is a housing stipend instead of provided housing? Using a tool like PanTravelers Calculator can be very helpful to compare different offers.
  11. Visit  Du3du3 profile page
    0
    What is the difference in pay between a hospital nurse and a traveling nurse?
  12. Visit  bunny8762 profile page
    0
    Q:What if an agency doesn't have insurance?
    A: find out how much is private health insurance and subtract that from your take home pay.

    Q: What if it is a housing stipend instead of provided housing?
    A: the same... find out how much is housing in the area and subtract that from your take home pay. If you want to pocket the stipend, then don't subtract it from your take home pay...

    Q:then you will not know what your OT is…
    A: ask how much would it be if you do a shift OT… Don’t ever expect to do OT unless it is a guarantee 48hr contract! Always treat OT as extra luxury income and not “oh I would not make end needs with this contract, but it’s ok, I will just pick up OT when I start”

    Disadvantage of using PanTravelers:
    1.) It estimates (state and fed) tax, what if the state doesn't have income tax (you still have fed income tax)? Plus each state's income taxes are different!
    2.) It calculates how much is your net pay per hour with housing stipend factor in. What if the housing in that area is sky high (there is a reason why some areas have higher stipends)? Great! Your net hourly is higher according to PanTravelers! Now show me the math equation on how you might potentially earn less because the housing in that area is expansive!

    If how much your net hourly is more important than what you take home... yeah PanTravelers is great! At the end of the day, I believe that the actual $ amount on your pay check counts…
    I just ask what my take home is if I file single with your insurance. They have their own calculator similar to PanTravelers too! Have them do the math… At the end of the day… compare your take home per week and make your pick! I am not saying my way is the best way to compare… but to me, I felt that it is nice and simple and it takes away the different rates they throw at you! I am sure asking take home has its downfalls too… Do whatever way makes more sense to you.
    Of course, what if your recruiter is dishonest and quotes you a higher take home instead? There are a lot of what ifs… Recruiters tend to slightly underestimate your take home, so they don’t get a phone call few weeks later and getting yell at. They want a long term happy traveler and build up their reputation…
  13. Visit  Esme12 profile page
    0
    Quote from Du3du3
    What is the difference in pay between a hospital nurse and a traveling nurse?
    A traveling nurse usually has experience in her specialty and is contracted through an agency for short assignments to different facilities for approx 12 weeks.

    The hospital nurse is a permanent employee of the hospital itself
  14. Visit  NedRN profile page
    0
    Quote from bunny8762
    Disadvantage of using PanTravelers:
    1.) It estimates (state and fed) tax, what if the state doesn't have income tax (you still have fed income tax)? Plus each state's income taxes are different!
    2.) It calculates how much is your net pay per hour with housing stipend factor in. What if the housing in that area is sky high (there is a reason why some areas have higher stipends)? Great! Your net hourly is higher according to PanTravelers! Now show me the math equation on how you might potentially earn less because the housing in that area is expansive!
    It is a calculator. There is no way that it can know what local housing costs. You have to determine housing costs in any case to calculate what the agency is actually paying you. Why would the housing stipend buy less housing that what the agency pays for? Not sure I get your point there. You could also pocket a lot more but the agency estimated take home won't include that.

    What the agency is actually paying you is the point of the calculator. If you don't know the number, you cannot be sure that if you negotiate your compensation, for example to pay more for a housing stipend and a lower hourly, that your total compensation is the same. If you don't know the number, you also cannot compare another agency's offer in the same area or same hospital. If you are good with numbers, you don't need the calculator of course.

    The estimated taxes do not affect the value of the calculator for figuring out what the agency actually pays you in total compensation. The only way to get your real take home pay is to give your home state (and local taxing authority if there is one - common in the Midwest), the work state, and your tax status and exemptions. The random agency you call doesn't know all that so their estimated take home is no better and leaves out vital information. Most travelers want to know their base rate if for nothing else than to know what their overtime base will be. They also want to know what their housing stipend is so they can look up local housing to see if they can pocket more money. The take home pay quoted by an agency does not tell them that.

    That said, take home pay is an interesting number, and recruiters use it as a sales tool. It must work, because you bought it! But I have to say, you are the first traveler that I've read who has said they like it on a travel nurse forum. Most posts gripe about how recruiters are reluctant to tell them what their pay really is, just the take home. There are good reasons why they do that - because the base rate often sounds ludicrously low compared to a staff position.


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