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Considering Travel Nursing?

by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Nurse Beth,

I am considering a position as a traveling nurse. What would entail a good offer from one of these traveling agencies? What red flags about them should I watch for? Thanks

Dear Wants to Be a Traveler,

Traveling offers a lot of flexibility and adventure.

First you want to:

  • Decide where you want to work

  • Make sure you have the proper requirements (state licensure & up-to-date resume),

  • Compare agencies and find a recruiter that meets your needs

  • Interview with a potential employer

  • Sign a travel contract

Your assignment can start as soon as a couple of days or as long as a few weeks from the time of agreement. Assignments are short-term, most about 3 months.

Nurse staffing agencies offer perks that make traveling a lot easier than you would imagine. Recruiters take most of the guesswork out of planning your entire assignment from start to finish.

Most travel nurse staffing companies offer:

  • Free housing (or stipends if you choose your own apartment)

  • Reimbursement for CEUs

  • 401k plans

  • Per diem tax breaks and

  • Reimbursement for travel expenses

The more you learn ahead of time, the better off you'll be. There is a large Facebook group (the Travel Nurse Network) for traveling nurses and they share all kinds of helpful information on what to watch out for, and needed tips. Here on allnurses, the Travel Nurses Forum does the same. If you tap into these communities, you will learn a lot and have a smoother first time experience. For example, rates vary from location to location. You can post in these groups to see if the rate offered is fair for the area.

I would get the name of a reputable recruiter from one of these groups. Some recruiters are amazing to work with, and professional. Some, not so much. You need to understand how this will affect your taxes, and what is your tax home.

Watch this video: 7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Traveling

Happy traveling!

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!