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Is travel nursing stable income source?

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My question is once you get a contract great! But after that contract has expired are there any nurses who actually travel find it difficult to get the next travel contract? Considering travel nursing but seeking conistent income as well so this is why i am asking this question. Thanks for any response from nurses who have experienced issues or problems with lapse of income between assignments or is this not a problem? My resason for asking is that if i traveled I would be in psychiatric nursing which is from what I have been told limited opportunities not as open as med surge or ICU or ED.

The smaller the specialty, the smaller the assignment choice. The flip side with smaller specialties is that demand can exceed supply more easily, leading to higher pay. Regardless, travel nursing is a growth industry now and for the foreseeable future so there is zero problem working as much as you want.

For psych travel, I'd recommend only larger agencies to have a good choice of assignments. Smaller agencies don't get the same number of psych orders. Try Cross Country, American Mobile, RN Network, and Supplemental. Worldwide is not as large as those, but has a special interest in psych and may have a good choice too.

I am not so concerned about the choice of assignment location as I am having an assignment to choose. My only thing is I don't want to be in a harsh cold state in the middle of winter, but if i had no choice i would do so. Thank you so much for your input, i sincerely appreciate it. it helps me in gathering information and knowledge from individuals who have been where i am trying to go.

Talk to recruiters at the agencies I mentioned for reassurance about the ability to work steady in warmer climates. The topic of psych travel comes up about once a month in this forum and if you search Allnurses you will find quotes from psych travelers that work steady.

Julius Seizure

Specializes in Pediatric Critical Care.

Unfortunately, stability is not guaranteed. It is wise to have money in the bank to fall back on, for the inevitable time that your contract gets cancelled (through no fault of your own), and the agency says you need to move out of the housing that they provided by tomorrow, and you are 1000 miles from home in a state where you don't know anybody, and you are scrambling to set up a new contract that will hopefully start ASAP.

Also consider that there will almost always be a short gap in between contracts, as you are moving to the new location, etc.

Yes, you can make a living as a travel nurse, but don't do it without some emergency money in the bank.

the agency says you need to move out of the housing that they provided by tomorrow, and you are 1000 miles from home in a state where you don't know anybody, and you are scrambling to set up a new contract that will hopefully start ASAP.

How often does this happen, and for what reason might it occur? I didn't know agencies could do that. Has it happened to you?

About one out of every ten contracts fails to complete for all reasons including some that never started. That is the industry's "fall-off" rate overall. Smaller agencies usually do better. It is certainly prudent to plan for this eventuality and save money. It should only be disastrous if it happens on your first or second assignment if you start broke (as I did).

If you are in agency provided housing, you are a tenant-at-will. This is a legal status similar to timber camps that have bunkhouses for employees. Normal housing protections and lengthy eviction processes don't apply. If you take the stipend and contract for your own housing, you will have different issues with your landlord.

That worst case scenario provided by Julius can be made a lot worse. It is common to withhold the last paycheck to pay for contractual damages, and even reverse the previous payroll leaving you with a negative bank balance you now have to make good. While both these actions are illegal, that doesn't do you a lot of good right now when you need operating funds. The agency can also pursue legal action for a breach of contract (often even when it is no fault of your own). That only adds to the stress of being terminated. If the termination for cause, the facility or agency can also put your license in jeopardy with a report to the BON.

Worst cases and what ifs are always worth considering (in every aspect of life, not just travel) although I'm not sure why it was worth mentioning in this particular thread. Reality is somewhat different. Travelers are a valuable commodity and most agencies with good business practices strive to retain them.

Besides having emergency funds, you can also mitigate both the chances of a termination and the outcome with some simple principles. First, sign up with several agencies so you can quickly move to a Plan B if something unexpected happens. Choose recruiters carefully, and take only good fitting assignments (be wary of high paying assignments - they are paying the bucks for a reason). Be uber-professional on the job (more so than staff as you don't have the in-the-family card to play) and with your recruiters (don't whine or share personal or even professional issues). Many terminations are due to a careless remark to a peer or charge. Keeping a good and professional relationship with recruiters helps you communicate if any issues arrive, and make it less likely the agency will take adverse (often emotional) actions against you. Do all this, and your personal chance of a termination will be far less than the industry fall off rate.

Thank you so very much for your insight and wise counsel. I sincerely appreciate it. I have often wondered about how difficult it would be to keep a stable continuous source of income with travel nursing. For me, since I am singe and have no close family livng near me as my most immediate family lives in Indiana and Wisconsin, I am open pretty much to traveling anywhere and I am not picky (especially with my speciaty of psychiatric nursing). So I will consider all of your counsel. Once again, thank you so very much! Lela

It should not be difficult at all, barring uncommon happenstance.

I have been traveling for the last 2 years. I'm with a local company and have never had difficulty being placed. My contracts have been consecutive. There are thousands of agencies out there to choose from! I'm with a company local to my state, give them a call and ask them. I'm with Total Med staffing. Look them up online and ask questions you may have. I had tons of questions before leaving my permant position, they've never lied to me yet and it's been over 2 years that I have been with them. I couldn't be happier with my choice!

Thank you so much RN/WI for your comments and suggestions and I will take your suggestions to heart and contact Total Med stafing along with the others that NedRN suggested as well.