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BEGINNING to Look into TRAVEL NURSING Questions?!


Has 3 years experience.


I am wanting to get into travel nursing. I have been an RN for 1.5 years. I work on an Orthopedic/Med-Surg unit. I am thinking that maybe traveling within my own state FIRST to get my feet wet? I'm not sure. My MAIN QUESTION is how to find a reliable and reputable RECRUITER?! Where to begin? When I Google this I'm not sure if I should find a recruiter based out of my own home state? I am also willing to travel out of my state on my first gig just thought maybe starting fairly local would be a good idea too?

I get lost in all the recruiter Ads on Google and who to sign up with?! I have researched enough to know that it's apparently best to work with a few recruiters or to have a few on hand to compare and work on best income and incentives etc. Any tips are welcome!

Am I also only eligible to work ortho/med-surg for travel RN positions?!


Silverdragon102, BSN

Specializes in Medical and general practice now LTC. Has 33 years experience.

Moved to the Travel Nursing forum

Finding a good recruiter is strictly trial and error. Someone else's recruiter may not be so good for you. A major hurdle is communication. If you don't communicate well with a particular recruiter, it will not end well. So pick up the phone and call lots of recruiters. Start with ones you believe you trust and communicate well with. You will hear a lot of stuff, and learn to know crap when you hear it. Sign up the best 3 recruiter "recruits" and take it from there.

Location of recruiter, agency, and even assignment is fairly irrelevant. What you are looking for is a successful first assignment. Then location and perhaps better money will be easier. Your "good" recruiter will be identifying traveler friendly assignments with this goal in mind. If recruiters are steering you to high paying assignments only, drop them.

On that topic, experience matters a lot, and with only a year and a half of experience, you will not be competitive for high paying assignments (if you are, there is something seriously wrong and you don't want that job) and fabulous locations. I'd suggest another 6 months experience while you are sifting through recruiters. Besides making you minimally competitive, if you don't make it as a traveler, having two years with one employer will look a lot better to your next facility.

Likewise, on the topic of a successful first assignment, do not stretch yourself clinically, stay within your comfort zone. Learning a new EMR, new policies and procedures, patient flow, local and work customs will be plenty of stress for your first travel assignment. Get an easy assignment if you can.

Hello, I'm also looking into starting to travel as an RN. Currently I have 3 years RN experience with all 3 years being in ICU. The hospital I work for routinely receives maybe 60-70% really sick patients, but other admits could be stepdown or med-surg patients. I am ready for a change and I've been receiving lots of emails, texts and calls from travel companies, but I've been nervous about taking the next step. My questions are:

1. is 3 years in a "semi" ICU enough?

2. can I travel and request stepdown assignments?

3. How does this travel thing work as far as housing? Do I pay for all my housing out of my paycheck?

4. Does anyone have a recommendation of a really good travel company for beginners?



1. yes

2. yes, or even medsurg/tele: not the worst idea for a first assignment

3. you get supplied housing (I'd suggest it for a first assignment) or a generous tax free (there are some rules, the major one that you maintain your current residence) housing stipend. Perhaps most travelers take the stipend these days even with the hassle of finding your own housing to keep the balance of the stipend.

4. So your recruiter is more important than the agency brand. That said, the super large agencies (who often used to be called the evil empire based on the number of unhappy traveler posts online) such as American Mobile and Cross Country are not a bad choice for new travelers. What you want is a traveler friendly assignment for your first, not high pay, and large agencies simply have more of them. But if you don't trust a recruiter to work in your best interests in this regard, the size of the agency is completely irrelevant. Smaller agencies that might be nicer to work with (you may not have to deal with multiple departments and people) will also have suitable assignments, just not as many.

Call lots of agencies as I mention in my last post. You will learn a ton about travel nursing from that. Don't sign with any agency until you have talked to some low BS recruiters and pick a few you like to sign with (just doing a ton of paperwork). If you sign first, you will get a lot of calls you may not want.

Don't sign with any site that promises one application for multiple agencies. You will regret it.

RegisterednurseRN02, RN

Has 3 years experience.

From my understanding housing is part of your contract with the recruiter/agency. Now to save lots of money rooming with someone as in sharing rent in a 2 bedroom OR getting reasonable housing but not all lavish. If you feel more comfortable as a med-surg nurse versus ICU I would take assignments as a med surg nurse or else you will be expected to manage very critically ill patients in the ICU. My understanding is that as a travel nurse you get a couple days of general hospital orientation but you best be ready to hold your own. I wld prefer to take a role "specialty" that I'm confident in versus a role that I may be thrown to the wolves and risk a lot.