New travel RN...how much to expect?

  1. Hi guy,

    My name is Kait and I've been a medsurg nurse in Canada for 2 years. I recently wrote (and passed!) my NCLEX, and I'm going to do travel nursing in the states. I'm currently working with Cross Country Trav Corps; it took 14 months to get licensed in the US for me (NY State) and they were the ONE company who actually knew their stuff and could/would help me.

    I definitely feel kind of indebted to CCTC, and for that reason I will be travelling with them unless I have some kind of negative experience. However, I think maybe it's not good I've already "decided" on a company, because on this board I keep hearing about how the companies, if you don't know, will make you work for less, not give you the bonuses, etc. I would be willing to change companies if I felt I was getting a raw deal, but here's the problem:

    I'm a medsurg nurse of only 2 years, I've never done travel nursing, and I want to go to MANHATTAN!! I think that due to these circumstances, I can't afford to be too "greedy", you know? I don't think I can call all the shots under the circumstances. (It's not like I'm an ICU nurse with 20 years experience wanting to go to "Nowhereville"...you know?) What do you guys think??

    Also, what should I be looking out for a contract? So far I've thought of this:

    -a free apartment (CCTC says it's part of your taxable income though...is this right?) that is furnished. About 600 square feet apartment (it's NYC...)
    -untilities included in the "free apartment"
    -a wage of about $25-27/h, working 3 shifts a week
    -medical insurance
    -is dental insurance common?? something to ask for?
    -malpractice insurance
    -a few hundred dollars towards moving cost (I think they give like $300)

    Is this appropriate? Should I hold out for anything else, considering my position? I feel I'm lucky to be getting to do this...but I don't want to get shorted, either. Also, by nature I'm pretty easygoing and flexible, I think my recruiter gets this, and I don't want her to take advantage of this!

    Any thought are appreciated...
    •  
  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   Ruby Vee
    [font="comic sans ms"][font="comic sans ms"]hi kait. good luck with traveling. i can't imagine wanting to go to manhatten, but to each her own. i just wanted to say that even nurses with 20+ years of icu experience wanting to be somewhere within a two hour drive of washington dc can't be too greedy or call all the shots. at least we couldn't 3 years ago when dh and i were traveling! we had dental insurance but had to supply our own malpractice insurance. the free apartment included telephone and cable tv -- something to look into before you sign on the dotted line. and try for a "no floating" clause.
  4. by   suzanne4
    If your legal residence is still Canada, and not BY, then the apt should be tax free, and you definitely should not have that included in your income. That is the biggest issue that I see.

    Salary for a new nurse without experience in NYC is over $30 per hour and that is just staff. Average salary is about $65,000 per year for a staff nurse there, without experience.
  5. by   Kait
    Hi again!

    What the company said is that the apartment is "free" but it's part of my taxable income. Therefore, if my pay was say $3500 a month and my "free" apt. was say $2000, I would be taxed as though I was making $5500. Is that not right/common?

    As far as the wage goes: she listed off some jobs that were $25-27 an hour. Should I say, "Hmm, I believe that the starting rate is more like $30. I'd like to keep looking." ? Is the travel company paying me out of what the hospital gives them, or is the hospital paying me directly? (ie, is the stated wage what the hosptial is offering, or CCTC?!) I'm sorry...I feel so clueless!
  6. by   Memerson2000
    Hi--I don't have a lot of travel experience, but I worked with CCTC about 9 mths. ago. The last thing they want to do is gyp you out of tax-free income--if they're taxing you on the apartment, it's probably because you don't maintain a permanent residence elsewhere. If you're keeping an apartment in your hometown, if you own property, and probably if you live with your folks, and that's your permanent address, you can avoid paying taxes. If you're relying on the agency to provide you with housing and you maintain no permanent base, you'll be taxed. CCTC has a tax person you can talk to about this. You don't want any big surprises from the IRS come April.

    I was making $29/hr down in Florida, where hourly wages aren't as high--seems like you could get more in NYC.

    The company charges the hospital for your services and then pays you--and the mark-up is high, about 60%, my sister tells me--she's in human resources for a company that staffs all over the world. I didn't feel like there was a lot of haggling going on about hourly wages, though--a big co. like CCTC doesn't want to negotiate wages with every nurse.
  7. by   erkantarik
    good luck
    i hope you will be fine
  8. by   sandals
    i never heard of a 60 percent mark up. i thought it was more like 25 or 30 percent. the reason why you would bem aking so much less per hour is because the company is paying for your housing, insurance, and travel expenses. that all comes out of it.
    it seems to me that it is simple math.
    the company can pay you say 40 per hour. they decuct what your housing costs them, what your insurance costs them, they take the 300 dollars travel expense and divide that by your hourly wage over 13 weeks and deduct that amount from your hourly salary. they than add their margin for profit and that is what they charge the hospital.
    the more the travel company gives you, the less your hourly wage will be.
    sandals
  9. by   nsgshortage
    It's nice that CCTC got you in the door, but you don't "owe" them anything. Why are their salaries so low? I can bet they are billing the hospital at least $80-90 an hour.

    Get some experience and run. Cross Country are a bunch of liars and thieves.
  10. by   sandals
    i love to read all these posts. as i stated before, i work in a healthcare staffing agency that is going to enter the travel nursing arena. i learn so much by reading about your opinions and what concerns you. we are a small company and probably our biggest assest is honesty and working hard for the nurse. i think that that will take us far.
    my understanding is that an agency has a profit margin, say 25 percent. they take what the going rate is for a nurse in that area. lets say it is 40 dollars per hour. they add up anything that they have to give that nurse. whether it is housing, insurnace, moving costs, whatever. they deduct that from the 40 dollars an hour over a 13 week period and come up with your salary. they add their overhead costs and their profit margin and thats what they charge the hospital.
    therefore, the more the nurse needs in things like a furnished house and utilities, the less per hour the nurse will make. what i think is happening is that this is not done in an upfront matter by some of the bigger agencies. i think if the nurse just looks at it as a simple math equation, it is easier to understand.
    every time i look at it, it comes out the same. give more, make less / give less/ make more.
    i would love to continue to hear your opinions on this, it helps us move in the right direction
    thanks
    sandals.
  11. by   maritimegirl
    Hey Kait, I'm a nurse from Canada too, and have been traveling in the US for 6 months. I too, went through Cross Country to get my visa, but didn't end up traveling with them, there was something about them that I just didn't like. And don't feel like you owe them anything, because if you recall, you probably paid some sort of fee to get the visa specialist to do all that work for you. I just heard way too many bad things about that company, and I never really clicked with my recruiter. I ended up with a company called Medical Solutions....love them so much. Just remember that you have to look out for # 1, and don't worry about everyone else. And if you have a address in Canada that is your permanent home, then your housing should definitely be tax free, as well as food, gas, etc. Shop around for a good company, and just go with your gut feeling...you'll know when you find one that's a good match for you.
  12. by   kalbo3
    Go ahead and be "Greedy" Kate. You have the right. I do agree that you should really shop around with some other companies to make sure that you are getting all you can out of your assignment. Don't feel like you owe any travel company your loyalty. This is business and not friendship so treat it appropriatly and don't intermingle the two. Why you are choosing Manhattan I do not know, maybe for the crappy weather cause there are about 100 other places I would choose to go for my first assignment. If you want to be close to Washington DC please let me know because I know of a company that has many Med/Surg assignments available in Maryland. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
    Happy travels,
    Jason

close