First time traveler-Difficulty getting assignments???? Please help

Specialties Travel


I am trying to start travel nursing and have signed on with 3 different companies. I have been waiting over 3 weeks and still do not have a job submitted for me yet. Is this normal? I am licensed in a compact state, in good standing as a nurse, have 5 years experience and good references, so it should not be that hard to get a job, right? Is there a good company out there that is 1st time traveler friendly and will try to get you a job fast? I really need to start working. Thank you for any help/suggestions :)

Med-surg? Things are a bit tough right now. But you really need to be signed up with the right agency, and a recruiter who really tries hard. Are you signed up with one of the biggies, like American Mobile or Cross Country (or any of the agencies they own)? They have the largest pool of assignments so they could be your best bet. They may or may not pay as well as others, but right now you just need to get your feet wet and have a successful travel assignment under your belt. Then you will be more marketable. Right now, you are just an unknown risk.

Thank you. I am med surg. I think I'll try cross country. Have you heard anything about hrn company?

Sure, based in Seattle with offices in other states/regions such as California (mostly a West Coast presence). You don't get one recruiter for all your travel, you get one for the region. They tend to pay less in hourly, but make up for it somewhat in housing. They have a unique program where they have a budget for housing, pay for housing, and pay the traveler any difference tax free. I've never been able to figure out how that might be legal, but it is really not the traveler's problem and they've done it for years. HRN does have an excellent reputation with travelers on online forums. I've never worked for them, but I've had significant amounts of contact with them, including a visit to their Seattle offices and meeting Cami on a couple of different occasions including the first Travelers Conference in Vegas. I've also talked to the owner on the phone, crusty character! Solid agency in my opinion, but of course like any agency, there will be unhappy travelers and huge fans. I think they are trustworthy.

If you are interested in West Coast, both American Mobile (the largest agency in the country) and Emerald (one of the 10 or 20 biggest agencies) are based in San Diego and have significant numbers of assignments on the western seaboard. There are some cool smaller companies also based on the west coast, but to break into travel as med-surg, you might want to stick to to a large company for your first assignment or two. Perhaps longer. I worked for CC for my first 4 years of travel and it was great, even though we parted badly.

I am interested in working in any of the compact states and not so much west coast. Right now I am signed up with flexcare, freedom healthcare and valley healthcare and as I said no job for three weeks. They all seem great but at this point I need to work:) does cross country provide free housing? Thanks

Those are good agencies (well Flexcare is a bit iffy) but on the smaller side. There is no such thing as "free" housing, but all agencies do provide either housing or a stipend to cover it. Agencies have a fixed all inclusive bill rate with hospitals, and must provide all compensation out of that, and still have enough left over to cover their own costs (marketing, office, recruiter pay). So housing comes out of that pot. More housing money, less hourly. Simple as that. That is also why high cost areas for housing such as San Francisco or Boston have surprisingly low rates compared to the local staff nurses.

If you limit yourself to compact states, you are cutting out an immense number of possible jobs. Here's why: You are now competing with every other traveler from a compact state. That's a huge pool of likeminded travelers who don't want the hassle and expense (usually agencies will reimburse much of the cost) of a new license. Guess what, this reduces your chances even more in a specialty that is not currently in demand, and as someone with no successful travel assignments under their belt, it is not surprising that you have not been offered an assignment yet. Also, for the reasons stated above, compact states tend to pay less than states where competition is more limited.

Lots of non compact states are either walkthrough, or are relatively easy to get licenses. Let agencies place you there. You might also consider pre-emptively getting licenses in states where you will want to go to sooner or later as well to make you more marketable. High paying states like Massachusetts and California should be on your short list, and perhaps Florida if you really must go there (lower pay, bad working conditions, bad board). I only mention Florida because it is so popular and so hard to get a license.

Thank you for you help!

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