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Independent vascular access nurse

Infusion   (380 Views 3 Comments)

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I had an interview recently with an independent vascular access company. I assume this would make me an independent contractor, as taxes are not taken out of monthly pay and a 1099 is issued. Does anyone have any experience in this area? I have not been able to find any recent threads on the topic. What were your taxes/ record keeping/business expenses like? When you factor in wear and tear, insurance, car payments, and gas, was the pay worth it? Do you carry malpractice insurance? Is there supplemental reading/training material you would recommend? Would you recommend it as a career? This is completely different than anything I have ever done, as I have always had employer offered benefits. Any input is appreciated! 

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"nursy" has 40 years experience as a RN and specializes in ICU, ER, Home Health, Corrections, School Nurse.

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I was a PICC nurse independent contractor for many years and I loved it.  I made fantastic money.....but.....I was very good and I pretty much took every call that came in for three different companies, covering 3 counties.   I pretty much worked 7 days a week.   Very few nurses did it this way, most had regular jobs and did it on the side.  Record keeping is a pain in the you know what, and you're on your own with that.  Whether it's worth it  depends on a several factors.  I lived in a busy metropolitan area where there was a high demand for the services , and several companies set up to provide those services.   Where I currently live, ( a small city of 100,000 people)  there is no such demand, and no companies exclusively providing vascular access services.     Probably the biggest question you have to answer for yourself is can you take being on call all the time.  As an independent contractor, you can set whatever hours you want, and you can turn away whatever call you don't want to take.  But that's not how you make money.  My companies always called me first because they knew I would  do it.  And also you have to be OK with feast or famine.  I had days where I made 2000 dollars in one day.  I also had weeks where I kept checking to see if my phone was broken because nobody was calling me.  

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CritterLover is a BSN, RN and specializes in ER, ICU, Infusion, peds, informatics.

880 Posts; 11,490 Profile Views

I've done this a couple of times, though not as my full time job.

Carefully evaluate the area you will cover. As an independent contractor you are not eligible for mileage reimbursement (unless that has changed) and you will likely not be paid for your travel time. You can claim the mileage as a business expense but that only goes so far.

Also carefully evaluate the pay. As an independent contractor you are responsible for your own social security/medicare taxes. It is a good idea to budget for 1/2 your pay to go to taxes. I would expect to be making at least twice the equivalent hourly hospital rate.

Most of these companies pay according to what you do: x amount for a PICC insertion, y amount for a midline, z amount for a dressing change, etc. Keep in mind how much they are paying you combined with the average number and types of calls per day, plus the average (and maximum) travel distance between patients. Also, if you don't get the line in do you still get paid? As an independent contractor you are not an employee and they DO NOT have to pay you for all time worked -- they only need to pay you according to what is stipulated in your contract. Most of these companies are contracted with SNFs, and those patients can be tough -- uncooperative, contracted and the like. I've found that there is often very little help to be found. You'll also have a limited ability to review vascular access history. Where I work we keep a list of patients who have occlusions so we know not to try them -- you lose that sort of thing unless it just happens that you've met the patient before.

What sort of technology will you be using? Will you need to xray on a regular basis? If you do need to xray, do you have to wait for the xray? Or do you have to go back if an adjustment is needed?

I can't comment on record keeping because I never did figure out that part.  malpractice insurance is a must is usually one of the requirements.

I did not find that it was worth it for me. However, I was covering a HUGE territory. While I LOVE placing PICCs, I would only do this type of job again to maintain my skills if something happened to my current supplemental position (my FT job is in a different area of nursing). I didn't mind the travel, but financially it just wasn't a great deal for me.

I'm happy to answer more specific questions if you have any.

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