I have a chronic illness ? about travel nursing

  1. Hello,

    I have a chronic illness and I am considering doing some travel nursing. I am concerned about the issues related to insurance and travel nursing. The meds I take cost about 1000 a month if I don't have insurance. I have good insurance for the hospital I work at now. Do you run into problems with your insurance ever?

    Is doing travel nursing a bad idea for someone that may need to take a day off if I am not feeling well? I have MS so sometimes I need a day here or there. What happens?

    Do any of you travel with any type of chronic illness?

    I would love to be able to do this... what are the obstacles?
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   caroladybelle
    I am a traveler w/ulcerative colitis.

    I have had no problems w/insurance through my company. But I do not "company" hop...I stay with the same company consistantly, so I do not get in trouble with the 1year clause on preexisting conditions.

    Part of working as a nurse w/a chronic disease, means that I am careful to get plenty of rest and avoid all things that can cause a flair up. This can be burdensome. And while you can call in occasionally to an assignment, doing so too often can get you bumped from your assignment. Some assignments are more leniant than others on this.

    I do get a yearly physical by my "home" MD for my maintenance meds. He also makes sure that I have an emergency script for prednisone and have gotten consults by phone, w/orders to followup w/ a local MD. And I ALWAYS find out what facilities/MDs are covered by my insurance in my area of assignment. Do not wait until you are sick, to look for a treatment facility. I also wear a medic alert bracelet w/an access number to get my medical info.

    I also feel out whether there will be any "issues" on the unit that might be problematic. This can be difficult at times to do discreetly. But I have had assignments where the unit did not have any nearby bathroom facilities, and that was problematic at times.

    Traveleing w/ a chronis illness is doable, but does require much prep work.
  4. by   msunderstoood
    Do you let the units that you are traveling to know beforehand about your illness? I am typically very upfront about things and wondered if that has gotten in your way at all? Were you diagnosed before you switched insurance? Was that an issue at all? What happens when you have to call in do you just make it up at the end of your assignment or do you have to pay back money?

    Thanks for all the great information there were things I didn't consider....
  5. by   bagladyrn
    Your biggest "issue" as a traveler may be that you not only don't get sick days, but depending on your contract may owe your company a prorated percentage of your housing expenses for hours missed from the job. The rationale for this is that they pay for your housing, then if you don't work a shift, they are not paid for that and thus are losing part of what pays for that housing.
    Your best bet is to call various companies and let them know all of the benefits you can bring to them and see if they are willing to work around your issues.
  6. by   caroladybelle
    Quote from msunderstoood
    Do you let the units that you are traveling to know beforehand about your illness? I am typically very upfront about things and wondered if that has gotten in your way at all? Were you diagnosed before you switched insurance? Was that an issue at all? What happens when you have to call in do you just make it up at the end of your assignment or do you have to pay back money?

    Thanks for all the great information there were things I didn't consider....
    I have had UC for 15 years, and only been traveling for 5. So I did have to worry for a year that if something happened, it would not be covered.

    All days that I have called in sick, I have always made up...but I frequently did that as a nontraveler.

    I do not tell them upfront, but often an interviewer will discuss attendance policies or ask about hoe often that you call in sick. I also find that larger units can handle the occasional sick call better than small ones.

    I am much more careful about taking care of me, to prevent flareups. There are many nurses with chronic illness that know that certain behaviors can increase flareups (for me, eating improperly/excess alcohol/skipping meds/not enough rest/overheating). I tailor my life that I do not do those things...no matter how tempting it is to slide on some bad habits. But I know of diabetics that screw around with their insulin/diet, epileptics that just have to have a drink or two...and then invariably pay for it with being "sick" alot and then wonder why they have trouble getting assignments.

    There is less tolerance of sick time for travelers, and if you do not make up the time, you will pay for it...either by being charged housing costs and/or less jobs.

    I also try to make myself so "valuable" as an employee (even as a traveler) that my managers want to keep me, and are not put off by one or two sick days.
    Last edit by caroladybelle on Sep 18, '06
  7. by   mssfelder
    I have a chronic gastric condition that can be debilitating when exacerbated by stress, etc. Recently, while on an assignment in AZ I became ill and had to be hospitalized. The staff at my assignment facility was understanding and supporting ( I worked at an Indian Reservation Hospital). Unfortunately, my contract was cancelled and I was sent home early due to remaining too ill to work after the hospitalization. I did have coverage from my agency so healthcare was covered. My agency did not pay for me to return home. I did not recieve my completion bonus obviously. I had to leave my hotel (subsidized by the agency) or pay for my stay myself. My condition was made known at the onset yet when it hit all bets were off. I had to drive home still ill from New Mexico (I lived there and commuted across the state line to AZ to work) to Indianapolis, In. If you do this have a ready reserve and a backup plan. I plan to travel again in the near future. Blessings, Sharon
  8. by   moonrose2u
    Quote from bagladyrn
    Your biggest "issue" as a traveler may be that you not only don't get sick days, but depending on your contract may owe your company a prorated percentage of your housing expenses for hours missed from the job. The rationale for this is that they pay for your housing, then if you don't work a shift, they are not paid for that and thus are losing part of what pays for that housing.
    Your best bet is to call various companies and let them know all of the benefits you can bring to them and see if they are willing to work around your issues.
    if you get a stipend from the travel company instead of housing, can they require reimbursement for that???
  9. by   mssfelder
    The stipend can be paid weekly in your check in which case they just deduct so many dollars per hour of missed work. For instance, on one assignment I had, $12.50 was assessed for every hour of work I missed up to 36 hours(my contract agreement). A co-worker of mine was hospitalized on this assignment for 2 days of an acute illness. She was assessed $12.50/hr for the 16 hours of work she missed. It came out of her check before she even saw it. One way or the other the agency will get theirs. Still, be encouraged.
  10. by   moonrose2u
    thanks for your reply....yes, I believe you are right...they will definately get theirs one way or another.
  11. by   mssfelder
    Quote from moonrose2u
    thanks for your reply....yes, I believe you are right...they will definately get theirs one way or another.
    Stay in touch. It can be lonely out there. Be encouraged.
  12. by   msunderstoood
    Thank you all for taking the time to answer my question. I appreciate everyone's input. It is greatly appreciated...

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