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.

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  2. 25 Comments...

  3. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 0
    the different rates can be confusing.... just ask what is your take home paycheck after insurance, housing, and all reimbursement.
  10. 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. 0
    What is the difference in pay between a hospital nurse and a traveling nurse?

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