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Currently a Travel Nurse - feel free to ask me anything about it.

Posted

Specializes in PICU, CTICU. Has 5 years experience.

I am a PICU travel nurse, with many friends who also do travel nursing inside and outside of my specialty. šŸ™‚ here to answer any questions I can about being a travel nurse.

RRTtoBSN, BSN

Specializes in ICU. Has 2 years experience.

Hi! I have a year of RN experience in ICU and 5 years as a respiratory therapist. I want to start traveling to gain more skill and save money for CRNA school. My issue is that I have back problems and have had 2 back surgeries. Should I wait to travel? Will they even hire me with back issues?

Back issues are private. You decide if you are fit enough to work. You do have to have a doctor say you are fit to work but that is trivial if you say you can handle it. But you really need another year of staff experience first in the ICU.

TRVL.RN, BSN, RN

Specializes in PICU, CTICU. Has 5 years experience.

4 hours ago, RRTtoBSN said:

Hi! I have a year of RN experience in ICU and 5 years as a respiratory therapist. I want to start traveling to gain more skill and save money for CRNA school. My issue is that I have back problems and have had 2 back surgeries. Should I wait to travel? Will they even hire me with back issues?

if you are looking for skills or sharpen your skills in the ICU I would recommend going to a level 1 trauma as a traveler and see if they are hiring, they will be more willing to hire you now that they know you ( so in other words do a contract of 3 months as a traveler and see if they are hiring and stay there for a year if you can work with the time at this point). if not I would stay as a traveler and pick trauma centers. travel nursing is a good way to get your foot in the door at facilities that are usually picky. when it comes to your back, I do not see that being a reason to not hire you however I would probably look into pediatric CVICU where your patients for the most part are babies but the acuity is high and you'll get great experience( I would say it goes hand in hand with CRNA). since you use a lot of drips.

TRVL.RN, BSN, RN

Specializes in PICU, CTICU. Has 5 years experience.

37 minutes ago, NedRN said:

Back issues are private. You decide if you are fit enough to work. You do have to have a doctor say you are fit to work but that is trivial if you say you can handle it. But you really need another year of staff experience first in the ICU.

I totaly agree, unless time is not on your side when it comes to waiting to travel and apply for the program. I did 3 years of PICU in a level 1 trauma before I did traveling. once I'm done traveling I would technically have 6 years of ICU experience. also as a traveler not always will you be getting the really sick kids(if ever) not sure how it works in adults. but in peds almost always they prioritize the staff nurses for their experience and to get their experience with the really sick kids.

Hi, I am nurse of 4 years in a Trauma Med Surg unit. I may take a traveling assignment for the first time in an area that I plan on moving eventually. There is only one position for med surg for travel nurse.Ā My question is, what should I be looking out for as far as my contract, insurance any tips or advice. I am so new to this and my recruiter just kind of threw it all at me. The start date is December 21st and I almost feel she is being so pushy to get my info out there so I get the job compared to the other applicant since she said I was a far better canidate. I only called her to learn more about travel nursing and basically by the end of the call she is telling me I may have interview this FridayšŸ˜³Ā Just wasnt expecting that.Ā 

Thanks in advance!

TRVL.RN, BSN, RN

Specializes in PICU, CTICU. Has 5 years experience.

Sounds like you were submitted for the job/position. I would refrain from given them any information when you're just looking for information. Such as social and resume and certs. They can answer any general travel nurse question without any of that. Also I would visit the page traveltax.com it's a company that started by a traveler RT doing taxes for his travel friends and it became to big and now is it's own thing. They have the best accurate information regarding travel nursing and other travel jobs/careers. Your position in having crazy assignments right now and everyone wants to submit you for a job -_- . I wouldn't speak to recruiters to find out about the career patho of travel nursing, I honestly looked up a lot of blogs and went on that page I mentioned earlier to get a good understanding specially of the tax information. I also had alot of friends who were travelers already and spoke to the travelers that came into my home unit :) they were the best first hand information source.Ā 

AsstChief

Specializes in ICU.

Any opinions on AYA or fastaff for a first time traveller?

SilverSandals

Specializes in Geriatrics. Has 13 years experience.

Hey.Ā  I was wondering if you have any advice on finding cheap housing as a base.Ā  I don't have relatives or friends to stay with.Ā  I'm in Tx and currently living in a room, but it's still too expensive as a base esp because I'm out for months at a time.Ā 

TRVL.RN, BSN, RN

Specializes in PICU, CTICU. Has 5 years experience.

55 minutes ago, AsstChief said:

Any opinions on AYA or fastaff for a first time traveller?

I've heard great things about aya, I personally have loved working with Flexcare. And fastaffs usually have crisis rates and usually 48 hr weeks/ contracts. However with them you get more per hr meaning more taxes taken out as well.Ā 

13 hours ago, AsstChief said:

Any opinions on AYA or fastaff for a first time traveller?

Aya, formerly Access Nurses, has a historically bad reputation with travelers (but any agency has their fans). Fastaff I'd only recommend to experienced travelers ready for difficult assignments. Indeed, an experienced traveler is likely to do OK with any agency so the brand is less important that the specific assignment.

What is important for a first time traveler is a successful first assignment. This involves finding a recruiter who shares that goal and is interested in helping you becomeĀ a successful long term traveler. You need a traveler friendly facility and an assignment well within your current clinical abilities. There are plenty of other issues you will face on a new assignment, such as new to you charting software, new workplace culture and policies and procedures, likely different patient census and local culture, and workflow.

You are most like interested in Aya due to marketing, and Fastaff because of reputation for good pay. In fact, good pay for an inexperienced traveler is a huge red flag. Chase money later.

Personally, I think largeĀ agencies are a good place to start, such as American Mobile or Cross Country (yes, Aya now fits that category but I'd still suggest avoiding). They have a wealth of assignments and can easily find a good fit for you. But if you don't click with, or think you can trust your recruiter, move on! Trust and good communication are key to a good business relationship with a recruiter.

Hi!Ā 
I just started my first travel assignment. I was wondering if you or your friends have ever traveled within the same state of your primary residence? I worked and Iā€™m lived in city A and then my fiancĆ© and I bought a house about an hour and half away from city A. I switched my job to PRN and took a position as a travel RN in city A but a different hospital. I do have a temp address with another travel nurse where we have a rental agreement and I pay her rent. Iā€™m just trying to not get audited by the IRS as I am currently receiving the stipend pay. Any help on the matter would be greatly appreciated :)

TRVL.RN, BSN, RN

Specializes in PICU, CTICU. Has 5 years experience.

On 12/7/2020 at 1:16 PM, NedRN said:

Aya, formerly Access Nurses, has a historically bad reputation with travelers (but any agency has their fans). Fastaff I'd only recommend to experienced travelers ready for difficult assignments. Indeed, an experienced traveler is likely to do OK with any agency so the brand is less important that the specific assignment.

What is important for a first time traveler is a successful first assignment. This involves finding a recruiter who shares that goal and is interested in helping you becomeĀ a successful long term traveler. You need a traveler friendly facility and an assignment well within your current clinical abilities. There are plenty of other issues you will face on a new assignment, such as new to you charting software, new workplace culture and policies and procedures, likely different patient census and local culture, and workflow.

You are most like interested in Aya due to marketing, and Fastaff because of reputation for good pay. In fact, good pay for an inexperienced traveler is a huge red flag. Chase money later.

Personally, I think largeĀ agencies are a good place to start, such as American Mobile or Cross Country (yes, Aya now fits that category but I'd still suggest avoiding). They have a wealth of assignments and can easily find a good fit for you. But if you don't click with, or think you can trust your recruiter, move on! Trust and good communication are key to a good business relationship with a recruiter.

As long as you're 50 miles away from that address you should be fine. However, I would really try to avoid doing a contract in a city where you own a property because that could be confusing specially if you live there and will be reporting that in your taxes as well. If you have any questions I recommend you speak to anyone from traveltax.com it's a tax preparer who specializes on travel nurses taxes and other international travelers they can answer it the best. I use them for my taxes. But in my opinion I would think it may cause you trouble to have a property that you own in the same city that you're doing travel nursing.Ā 

7 hours ago, Bear26 said:

I do have a temp address with another travel nurse where we have a rental agreement and I pay her rent. Iā€™m just trying to not get audited by the IRS as I am currently receiving the stipend pay. Any help onļ»æ the matter would be greatly appreciated :)

So it sounds from your description that you are doing things right. Generally a 3 hour round trip does not lend itself well to a daily commute so remote housing is required (a key aspect of determining if you have a valid tax home). Things do get tricky though because if you say work 3 stacked shifts and go home for four days, you probably should claim those 4 days of per diem as taxable income. A free consult with an expert such as TravelTax will clarify your position.

Distance is not a primary factor, you could be 40 miles away and required to be on call at hospital within 30 minutes of being called in. That would require local housing. Lots of different circumstances. While a number of tax professionals not familiar with our industry may cite a "50 mile rule" (which appears in IRS regulations only in regard to the deductibility of moving expenses), but it won't hold up in an audit. Complete and long running myth, often cited by recruiters unfortunately for those travelers who are audited (sometimes caught because their agency is audited).

None of this really matters much for audit risk, doing things correctly only matter if you actually get audited, usually for another reason. Still worth doing things right as getting audited and having to pay back taxes, interest, and penalties is a life changing event. Not worth even theĀ minimal risk of cheating.

Ā 

TRVL.RN, BSN, RN

Specializes in PICU, CTICU. Has 5 years experience.

Furnished finder or airbnb or short term rental apartments unfurnished. And when I got an unfurnished place I would just throw cheap furniture from ikea and stuff to save money. I bought a small sofa bed from ikea and a huge thick topper from Amazon prime and boom nice little bed. And basic stuff for kitchen and a small table from ikea LOLĀ 

grad2012RN

Has 1 years experience.

@TRAVEL.RN,

Is there a set dollar percentage that the recruiter can take from contracts offered by a hospital?Ā  I ask this because I recently saw the exact same job at two different agencies, and one agency offered $420 more weeklyĀ salary. The stipends were the same.

On a personal note, I was a traveler twice, pre-Covid rates, and I'm actuallyĀ still paying off that debt. I stayed in cheap rentals, and spent less on food and gas. However, I was still paying rent in my home state.Ā 

I met lots of wonderful nurses and other staff on those travel opportunities though!

TRVL.RN, BSN, RN

Specializes in PICU, CTICU. Has 5 years experience.

what I've noticed is that usually the companies with direct contract with the facilities/ hospital could either pay more or less. I personally will pick whoever pays more and can give me guarantee pay /hours meaning that if you get a shift canceled you still get paid. some agencies such as AMN will have a minimum requirement of canceled hours before they start paying all your canceled shifts. for example with AMN I needed to be canceled a total of 36 hours without pay before they would start paying my canceled shifts. so after I got a total of 36 hrs canceled by facility without pay then they started paying all my canceled shifts after that. when it comes from the recruiter im not sure how companies go about their commission or what they get from each contract. I was with a friend at the same facility same unit same hours per week contract same contract length and she made like 600/weekĀ more than me and had guaranteed hours from the first shift thatĀ she was canceled. she had a different agency then me at he same hospital. my agency was the direct contract her agency was a subcontract agency meaning her agency had to go through mins in order to get the contract for her. so its a very confusing system where after 3 years of traveling I still don't know how they run things between agencies and sister companies is a real hot mess to follow and try to figure it out. therefore whichever company pays me the most and gives me the best benefits will win my signature. my favorite agency to travel with so far has been flexcare. my least favorite even tho they are a monster agency in the industry AMN. hopefully this helped in anything LOLĀ 

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note: 36 hrs within your entire contract whatever that is 13 weeks 4 weeks etc.

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