Let me elaborate further. Full-time staff are treated well because they are unionized. The pay is great, the benefits are pretty good, and nursing in general receives a lot of support due to "turn-teams" that will turn your patients every two hours or help with difficult bathing. There are break nurses that will cover you for your lunch and breaks, which can be up to 1.5 hours/shift depending on the hospital and unit you are working.
My original post was in regards to how TRAVELERS are treated. I nearly left bedside nursing after 6 months with Kaiser. I felt like a number, an expendable body. They shuffled around your assignment every 4 hours and it was highly likely you would work in at LEAST two units during your 12 hour shift. I am a highly trained and experienced CVICU nurse and they took that as "she can work anywhere". They floated me between CVICU, ICU, tele, step-down, and med-surg. In one day, I could have as many as 13 patients. I had no experience outside of the ICU and they thought because I had a high skill level I could handle 5 patients in med-surg. ICU and med-surg are not the same thing; they require difference skill sets. I am used to splitting my brain in half, one-half for each of my two-patient assignment. I don't have the same work flow as someone who typically manages a larger patient load.
While I managed the heavier load it made me very uncomfortable and I never really embraced it. If I wanted to be a med-surg nurse, I would have gone that route after college. If you dared to speak to your manager or staffing office representative and tell him/her that you felt uncomfortable and you felt you were endangering your own license by taking on work in areas outside of your comfort zone...they would threaten to end your contract on the spot. For those of you who haven't traveled before, this means you have exactly 48 hours to move out of your housing and it is very likely you will be financially punished by the hospital and your travel agency. In addition, you will be blacklisted from every working at the company, not just the facility, every again. They keep you between a rock and a hard place all the time.
To further elaborate - The manager that hired me into the CVICU as a traveler once confronted me and said that he heard I was talking negatively about the medical staff to other nurses. I never had any personal problems with any of the physicians on staff in any department and particularly not the CVICU and ICU. I had no idea where this came from. In fact, I liked many of the physicians in the facility and really only had issue with one because I thought he was lazy and out of his depth. I never expressed that sentiment to anyone, not even my own husband. Where he got that information was beyond me. As a traveler, I trust no one. I don't gossip, and I try to be positive and helpful at all times. When I asked where this information came from he refused to answer. I felt like it was a "I got a secret but I'm not going to tell you" kind of conversation. I told him if he wanted to have any further conversations with me it would need to be in HR with another person present and fact would need to be presented. THIS WAS THE LAST STRAW. My contract ended a week later and I will never travel to another Kaiser facility again. I'd rather leave nursing.
Fortunately, my next contract was with UCSF in San Francisco and it was a polar opposite experience. I loved, loved, loved it and stayed for 7 months. I would have stayed longer but my husband took a job in Phoenix and off we went. UCSF restored my faith in humanity after such a demoralizing experience at Kaiser and I no longer wanted to leave the bedside. The best thing I can do is to tell my story to other potential travelers and encourage them not to take an assignment at KP...you will regret it.
P.S. The worst thing you could do is become an American Mobile traveler at Kaiser. You will be treated horribly and make less than your fellow non-American Mobile travelers. Ugh.