Joined: May 7, '06; Posts: 414 (15% Liked) ; Likes: 79

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  • Aug 21 '11

    Quote from rnof2011
    i am a student about to graduate and decided to do some research on travel nursing since i hear the process is strenuous and i need experience first. most posts do not list companies because they scour these forums looking to reprimand someone. is there anyone out there that can give me a true perspective of travel nursing and a trustworthy company to go with?
    if you're determined to do travel nursing, make sure to get two solid years of experience before hand. some companies will hire you with less, but you'll have a tougher time finding positions at hospitals. and you want to be a good, solid nurse before you put your license on the line by going into a hospital with poor staffing, no procedures in place and a preference to hang you out to dry rather than standing behind you.

    my first travel assignment was in a hospital circling the drain financially -- its reputation had already gone down the drain. the physicians were mostly from india and pakistan and weren't especially friendly to the nursing staff. they appeared to hate each other. nurses were reporting physicians to the medical board for (according to the medical staff) manufactured reasons and physicians were reporting nursing staff to the bon for "bogus non-issues." the joint commission was on it's way to yank their certification. staffing was in short supply as was linen, equipment and other supplies. assignments were overwhelming. there were so many traveler there that some of them did charge, and even the manager was a traveler.

    but then i got to work in places like the university of washington in seattle, brigham and women's in boston and the mayo clinic.

    it's an advantage to travel with your family -- cuts down on those lonely moments gripping the telephone and realize that you're in the wrong time zone to call anyone. but those traveling alone or with a friend in the same age group seem to get invited to the most parties and activities. you'll always be the new kid, so you have to be friendly and outgoing. you have to say "yes" to invitations you'd rather pass on because you're exhausted after your 12 hours of hell -- because if you don't say yes, they'll stop asking.

    you see any part of the country you wish to see -- anchorage, miami, honolulu, san diego, new york or waterloo, iowa because that's where your grandmother grew up. sometimes it feels as though you don't have enough time off to explore as much as you'd like -- but you can always arrive early or stay after your assignment just to play tourist.

    you meet some wonderful people.

    you get exposed to some really shoddy practices by people who have been socialized to believe that those are safe practices . . . best to have a full two years of experience under your belt and the ability to distinguish a safe practice that is just different from the way you learned at your old hospital and a shoddy one. sometimes, you might even find that the way you learned it was the shoddy way. i've seen travelers who started out at johns hopkins or the cleveland clinic shocked and dismayed to find out it really isn't the only place they know how to take care of vads, and that the way they learned to titrate or mix drips isn't the only way. i've seen travelers who worked icu at east goatlick medical center in the middle of nowhere realize that they really didn't know icu after all. some of them learned on the (travel) assignment and became good nurses; but most didn't.

    when your son hits his first homerun, grandma may be 3000 miles away and when your daughter loses her first tooth, no one at work will be really interested. you'll move into a strange town and have to find a new grocer, dry cleaner, hair dresser and pharmacy every few months, and when that food you ate at the potluck gives you food poisioning, you won't have a local physician. if you break your tooth falling off your bicycle, you'll have to find a dentist immediately -- probably on a sunday.

    some travel companies are unreliable. some lie to you. some lie about you. some hospital units are ecstatic to see travelers to fill in the gaps in their staffing, others will be downright hostile and there's a male nurse everywhere who has to bed every traveler that comes through the unit. there's also a charge nurse everywhere who resents you because she sees you as making more money and getting more holidays off than her. there are nice people who are fun to get to know and may become real friends everywhere, too, but it takes a strong and outgoing personality to find them. anyone can stumble into the unhappy folks.

    travel nursing is a great way to see the country and to gain perspective on how nursing is different everywhere you go. you can learn a lot and have lots of adventures, meet people you'll carry in your heart wherever you go and maybe find the place you can't stand to leave and will become your permanent home. or maybe it'll just be an adventure.

    you did ask for the dirt, didn't you?

  • May 3 '11

    Lemme guess, this is a CCTC contract correct? I was offered the same per diem crap, medical insurance and housing for another New England town. The problem is thus, I have been a nurse for about 12 years now and for many of those I was a traveler. When I worked a traveling contract back in 2001, I was paid $9 MORE per hour than the rate I am now being quoted for the SAME hospital. I am being told that "with the Tax-advantage plan your hourly rate will be equivalent to --.--/hr." Unfortunately, I have NO interest in taking a tax advantage plan. I'll get that ANYWAY at the end of the year when I file my taxes. I want the market wage salary (without any tax-advantage plan or other nonsense thrown in), a 1-bedroom apartment and medical coverage. End-of-story, period. These companies have really been screwing over nurses!! Makes me so mad!

  • Dec 23 '10

    Quote from bellarn2010
    hoping to get this thread going again... i would also be very interested to hear how travel nurses are faring these days given the current economic climate? are you having trouble finding contracts? also, how many years of experience did you have before embarking on a traveling career?

    many thanks in advance for your insight!

    i have only been traveling less than a year; i was a full time nurse for 4 years before that. i haven't really had an easy time finding jobs, it hasn't been too hard though. i wanted to stay in florida, very much a traveler state luckily for me, but i have learned to be particular about where i travel to. i have a very long list of questions that have to be answered during the interview process in order for me to comfortably accept the job. i hope to go out of florida with my next assignment. good luck to those who want to get into this area, i hope it goes well for you!

    my tips:
    keep your options open, don't limit yourself to one area/state. this opens more choices for you and you can be selective of the facility.
    set aside money during your assignment just in case you don't find an assignment right away.
    if the facility is posting for 47 nurses, ask them why? it could be something as simple as the "season" like in florida where people come south in the winter but it could also be that the facility was just recently cleaning house and those staff left are miserable or mean.
    keep in mind that you need to be flexible, your job is to fill in and they will probably float you first and most often. consider it a learning experience. i try to even when it is not great.
    if you need to, keep reminding yourself it is only for __ weeks. i have been doing that currently, its only 13 weeks, its only 13 weeks...
    when you are off, enjoy your surroundings, visit malls, museums anything that you can. part of the perks you are traveling for are those extras that you wouldn't be able to do otherwise! if you take advantage of these things it helps when your work assignments aren't as great.
    if you find a recruiter you like, keep with that company. i am with a company that i have heard bad things about but those people have different goals and expectations than me so their experience would not be the same. just because you hear negative things doesn't mean you should leave. also, just because you hear great things about a company doesn't mean you will have a great experience. keep your mind open and listen to your instincts.

  • Oct 23 '09

    First, get your licenses in the states you want to travel.
    You don't want to be overlooked because you're still waiting on your license to be approved or arrive.
    Many require license "in hand" even to be considered.

    Next, Get together with companies that provide travelers to the areas you want to work. Not hard, just ask around. I say affiliate with at least 4 different travel companies because not all of them pull orders off the national database. Some are company specific. You want as many offers as possible so you can pick & choose what's good for you.

    Now sit back and wait. Most orders are filled about 3-4 weeks out. Not much in the way of long projected start dates. Most of the contracts come and go so fast. So, about a month before you want to go travel start hounding them for assignments.

    Be patient. You might find yourself jumping at the very first opportunity that comes your way and it might be much less than what you expect. You might need to turn down an assignment or two. Remember it's always a negotiation. Do your research about average wages in the area you're traveling in. They're not just going to give you the farm... you got to ask for it.

    A good recruiter will maximize your benefits within the parameters of what the contract pays. It's in THEIR interest to make you happy so you will continue to work for them and make them money. The bad ones will stick it to you to maximize profit margins. Unfortunately there are more bad ones than good ones.

    Best of Luck and happy trails.

  • Aug 4 '08

    have been looking into the VA's new travel deal, and it seems to be a fairly good deal. Only problem I see is the lack of medical insurance. They were very vague when the
    questions went to pay too, seems is based on "government level ratings"
    anyone have any experience yet with this program????

  • Aug 4 '08

    No, I haven't done an assigment with them. But I have called twice and talked once with the person who runs it and once with the receptionist. I gave all my information and they said I would get an email with more info and a complete application in the mail.......but I still haven't received it. I contacted initially back in May and then just before I resigned another contract in early July but still haven't received anything.

    I will probably give it one last try and then I'll be over it if I don't get any info. They told me they were very busy and there really isn't a dedicated staff to just the travel division. So, I dunno.

    Let us know if you find out more!!

  • Aug 4 '08
  • Aug 4 '08

    i wrote to the va regarding their travel nurse and this is the reply i received:

    the va travel nurse corps (tnc) is currently hiring rn's for staff positions at the phoenix and san diego va medical centers. these positions are temporary intermittent appointments which have a per hour salary with shift differentials and overtime if required. we also offer full federal travel benefits which include travel, lodging, per diem and incidentals while on assignment for the city in which you are working.

    the pay is based on a salary schedule for the va tnc. that schedule is only for the southwest region. we will have different salary schedules when we expand to other areas of the country. va nurses go through a boarding process which established their grade and step, which then establishes their salary. it is based on the individual's education and experience. that sets a per hour rate. va also pays 10% differential for night and evening shifts; 25% for weekend shifts; a combination of the two for 35% and overtime after 8 hours. salary is separate from the travel benefits.

    at this time, please note that the appointments are only temporary intermittent. in that way, we are like the travel nurse industry with 13 week assignments. at this time, we are working with each nurse and facility on the length of the assignments. we can go a little longer or a little shorter if needed. with only two sites (phoenix and san diego), we can not keep a nurse fully employed until we have more sites established. the temporary appointments do not have any benefits.
    if there are any changes to the program, they will be posted on our website at we know that we have nurses out there that want to travel, but still need their benefits. we assist our nurse applicants with an online application process which creates an application form and at the same time, completes the credentialing portion of the application process.

    (i deleted bits that pertained directly to me, but included all of the general info in the email) hope this helps....

  • Mar 1 '08

    Don't want to hijack the post but have a couple questions regarding Compact licenses. My first Nursing License was granted in Iowa in 1989, well before the thought of a single license. I did not actually work in Iowa following my licensuer, started travelling just as soon as the license was in my hand. At one time juggled 10 licenses and found that too difficult and costly. Am strongly considering full time travel in an RV, heading to Florida in the winter and the western mountains in the Summer, actually most of the Compact states would be open to me. Any hints regarding obtaining a Compact license as a full time traveler in an RV? Do I need to move a residence into one of the states?


    You would have to be/remain a resident in one of the compact states.Although I was initially licensed in NC, when I moved permanently to PA for 2 years,my compact status became null and void. Once I moved back to NC, I again had a compact license. Secondly, and you may know this, but for others reading this thread, if you become a traveler in an RV without significant ties to one community, you will no longer qualify for the tax free housing meals incidentals benefits and everything will be taxed. you will be considered by the IRS tobe an "Itenerant worker" (I spelled that wrong). Significant ties means that you have documented proof of maintaining a tax home with duplicate expenses (Such as power bills,lawn care bills etc etc). and that you regularly return to that place.

    Good Luck. (Your company should reimburse licenses if you take assignments in the state. I'd look seriously about where you'd want to go, and then chose three or 4 only. No point in juggling ten licenses...)

  • Oct 18 '07

    Yep...this is the same Joint Commission that surveys hospitals on patient's rights. As I understand the standard, an employer can't punish you for refusing to take the flu shot, but they can make unaccented workers wear surgical masks during flu season when caring for patients. The declination statement is not real should just state "I choose not to take the flu vaccine because of (check one) religious reasons, or medical reasons. It really should not be asking for specific medical conditions unless you want to disclose the condition and have an Employee Health Nurse or Infection Control Nurse contact you to provide you with educational information. Just a word of caution- there are about 15 states and a few of the Canadian provinces that mandate flu shots for any one working in LTC. I understand the legislation in these 15 states makes it fairly difficult to get an exemption for medical or religious reasons- again this only applies to LTC.

  • Oct 18 '07

    Quote from BugsRme
    Yep...this is the same Joint Commission that surveys hospitals on patient's rights. As I understand the standard, an employer can't punish you for refusing to take the flu shot, but they can make unaccented workers wear surgical masks during flu season when caring for patients. The declination statement is not real should just state "I choose not to take the flu vaccine because of (check one) religious reasons, or medical reasons. It really should not be asking for specific medical conditions unless you want to disclose the condition and have an Employee Health Nurse or Infection Control Nurse contact you to provide you with educational information. Just a word of caution- there are about 15 states and a few of the Canadian provinces that mandate flu shots for any one working in LTC. I understand the legislation in these 15 states makes it fairly difficult to get an exemption for medical or religious reasons- again this only applies to LTC.
    Thanks for the info. Do you know if there is a website with this information available?

  • Sep 27 '07

    I Recieved mine 4years ago. I am a RN FA ADN. Recieved mine from Taas New Mexico. You can go on the web for AORN and follow the instructions. Thats what I did.

    I would like the information on RNFA also. I have worked in an OR for a few years and now am in the CVOR which I really like. The Surgeon has a PA who First Assists and takes endo leg vein, but isn't there all the time and we "Assist" as needed. I am an ADN and I know that to be "certified" you need to have your BSN. I won't be getting my BSN and am concerned about it maybe I should just keep scrubing and forget about RNFA. Thanks


  • Aug 27 '07


    Since this picture was taken (Feb '07) I have upgraded my pickup to a dually long bed quadcab. For me these trailers are too big for an SRW (single rear wheel) pickup. I had too many close calls on the Alcan to not upgrade.

    I also upgraded my wheels and tires on the trailer to 16", which are much safer than the 15's that came with it. I had two blow outs just bringing it home from Elkhart, IN (I saved >8k buying it at Tiara).

    You should know that Raptor's are about as cheap as you want to go. There are much cheaper, but if you're going to spend any time in one of these you need a little quality. I could not live with patio furniture!!

    Better yet when I upgrade I'm going with a KZ Escalade Sporter. Twice the price but worth it. BTW the Raptor is my first RV.

    If you have the time you might want to got to and check out the community. They have two forums of interest, Tow Vehicles and Toyhaulers.

    Good luck,

  • Aug 26 '07

    Quote from shannon88
    Does traveling with an RV as your primary home get you tax exemptions?
    The answer to your question is no. You must have a "tax home" per my CPA and the IRS. A tax home is your permanent home in a fixed loaction which I fortunately have.

    Last fall I bought a 39 ft fifthwheel toyhauler and this March I left Alaska to start my traveling career in New Mexico. I got lucky and my second assignment is near my home in Alaska (80 miles away so I am still a traveler in the eyes of the IRS).

    The travel expense for me is about $1500 each way (AK - NM) and the agency gives me 300. That's tough but I make it up quick.

    In New Mexico I paid $300 for space rent, $59 sat tv, ~300 RV payment, 800/yr RV insurance and 100 to Good Sam. The agency pays me more than $4700 a month in per diem (housing, travel, and M&I). All of the per diem $'s are tax free.

    I get the same per diem here in Alaska but I pay 600 for space rent. I do rent a space and live in it during the work week because the commute would be too much working nights. On weekends I pull my fifthwheel back to the homestead. It's also great for weekend trips to go fishing or where ever.

    I should have started traveling 20 years ago!! This is great. I take my Harley, 4wheeler, mtn bike, and a small freezer full of salmon and moose with me. I've got a lot of my shop tools with me so I can work on my home and toys. I feel like I'm always at home.

    Good luck and HTH,