Chicagoland? Compensation?


Hey travel nurses,

Thinking of doing a stint in Chicago. What is a competitive hourly rate for a traveler in the Chicago area? What about a staff nurse? What hospitals are decent work environments, and which ones should I avoid?

I have 3 years' experience in cardiology/med surg and am currently on my 2nd assignment with Cross Country. My hourly wages seem low compared with other travelers I've met. I'm currently at a hospital just outside Washington DC making 24.50/hr on night shift. That includes the differential! A friend of mine is at the same hospital with a different company (Aya) and is getting a $4000 completion bonus. (albeit in a different specialty).

I'm told it's wise to travel with more than one company to maximize earnings, but how does that work with insurance/benefits? You lose your benefits at Cross Country if you take more than 35 days off in a row. And the thought of the mountains of paperwork starting up with another company is daunting. Any other Chicago nurses or Cross Country travelers have any tips to share? And where are all these elusive bonuses I hear so much about? :) Much appreciated.

Thanks All!


1 Article; 5,748 Posts

Getting your own insurance avoids binding you to one agency. You can also COBRA any existing insurance plan you hold for up to 18 months. That includes Cross Country's plans.

Yes, there is a lot of paperwork, but clearly you know about computers as you are posting here on one. All your profile documents, health documents, references, I-9, W-4, licenses and certifications, identity document copies and anything else pertinent can be saved in a single folder ready to email a new agency.

If you don't have a laptop, get one. Macs are easier to use and not really more expensive than Windows laptops when you consider bundled software. For a bargain, buy one a few years old off of eBay, it will work just as well as a new one.

I also recommend getting a flatbed scanner such as the laptop sized Canoscan series. Then you can make great digital copies of anything paper to save and have at your fingertips forever. I still access and send written references from years ago if I repeat a hospital or discover some personal connection from a referee to a new hospital.

You won't need a printer.

Chicago go is a strange market and doesn't use a lot of travelers. Most agencies will not have many assignments there. There is a very strong per diem market there and a better way to get a travel contract is often through local agencies.

You are being underpaid in the DC market. You are not shopping around for a staff position.


53 Posts

Has 1 years experience.

For chicago, staff RN are at least late $20 to $30 i think


5 Posts

I work at the university of Chicago, have been an RN for only a year and half and my night hourly is 36.50, days is 32.50


49 Posts

You don't even need a scanner anymore. Get Camscanner, it's an app on your phone that saves anything to a perfect PDF that you can email to yourself or anyone else. You can make any size scan into a PDF document. Handiest thing in history for a travel nurse and eliminates the need for a scanner or a laptop if you don't have one. I do everything now with the iPhone and iPad and can email all my stuff to a new company in about ten seconds, almost literally.


1 Article; 5,748 Posts

Most disagree with me these days on this issue, but especially since I really want to look as professional as possible with all my paperwork with hospitals since I often contract directly (competing with large agencies), real scanners are still visibly superior to apps. I use them and they are fine for many purposes like timecards, but I don't see any downside to using a real scanner that is the size of a laptop. I digitize all paperwork so having really excellent copies of things like references and contracts are worth it. I seldom use OCR features, but having it available and working well is a plus.


49 Posts

Try it Ned. It scans better than my 150 buck canon scanner. Saves perfect every time to any kind of document you want. And it cost me a buck and if one of my agencies insists on a copy of something I know I already sent, then I pull over, press two keys, and boom there it goes. I wouldnt use it if it made me look like a schmuck. I'm good at doing that without an app.


1 Article; 5,748 Posts

Ha ha!