To Travel or Not?!?!

Specialties Travel


Hi All, looking for some insight on travel nursing. It's something I'd love to try, but like most of us, I'm nervous about making that decision. Now my current situation:

I have been a nurse for 10 years, my last 3 years have been with float pool, so I have experience in multiple areas. I also have my med/surg certification and BSN.

Now, here's my concern/dilemma....I want to stay "local" to where I live, and that only leaves me with 2 big hospitals, one of which I am currently employed at. Now I know I can't "work" for them immediately if I travel, but I am okay working for another facility "local" to me. My current place of employment uses travel nurses ALLLL the time! Local to me is 50-55 miles from my home, these are the 2 closest hospitals to me. That being said, would I get something for my travel time, if I could get a contract, or some sort of stipend?

Benefits are NOT an issue or concern for me because I could go on my husband's insurance.

I am really nervous because I have a HUGE concern for job security. I have talked to many travelers at my hospital and they have all said they've never been without a contract. The only time they have off is the time they take off between assignments. We do not "cancel" our travelers, because we are told they get paid whether they work or not, don't know if this is true or not.

Any helpful insight is greatly appreciated!!!

If you don't need benefits, why not do in-house per diem for a higher hourly amount? If your hospital always uses travelers, you should have no problem working full time.

Specializes in A variety.

Correct me of I'm misunderstanding you. Your goal is to earn what a traveler does while staying local.

Personally I wouldn't do a travel assignment at a facility only 50 miles away that's cutting it close. You'd be better off signing up with a registry or going per diem with that other hospital. Be aware your benefits may not be as good as you have as a 10yr staff nurse or may be non existant.

Our PD nurses get called off at least one day a week, sometimes two. I need guaranteed hours.

Cutting it close for what?

Specializes in A variety.
Cutting it close for what?

I'm not a fan of being presumptuous. Based on the information you provided it sounds like you'd like the benefits of travel pay while having the convenience of being close to home. Is this correct?

"cutting it close": The IRS doesn't come out and say how many miles specifically your travel assignment must be from your primary residence to qualify for tax free income. I personally wouldn't take an assignment close enough to home that it could be reasonably argued I could drive home after work. It sounds like you're trying to do that. Keep in mind I'm not the IRS or a tax professional. This is based on conversations with my tax professional and what I've read. Make sure you consult one.

If what I said doesn't make sense, get familiar with what it is to duplicate expenses, so you can understand why travel nurses get paid the way they do. Try:

"I need guaranteed hours": If you're unwilling to go far away from home taking a travel assignment where your hours are guaranteed, consider a local staffing agency. Verify whether or not your assignment provides for guaranteed hours though. Since you don't need benefits this sounds like the best hybrid of guaranteed hours, proximity to home, and the higher pay you desire.

"I have a huge concern for job security": You have 10 years experience in multiple specialties plus a BSN. That's your job security. :-). I'm sure with proper communication and a professional exit your current employer would welcome you back immediately if you ventured off to travel and wanted to come back.

Travel hours may be guaranteed, but only for three months and you may not be renewed. Travelers are far more likely to be terminated than in house staff at any time - a contract is not as protective as you think.

If you leave your perm staff position, your hospital is now short staffed. I'd think they would prefer to staff you the same hours guaranteed "bock booking" per diem rather than pay more for a traveler.

A good portion of travelers effective pay is higher net pay based on beneficial taxation based on higher expenses (like duplicated housing) incurred by working away from home. You will not be eligible if you commute from home (distance is irrelevant). Additionally, many hospitals will not accept a traveler who lives within a 200 mile radius.

Per diem pay probably is higher net income than travel and the cost to the hospital is lower. Win, win.

I'm nudging you towards per diem because job security and pay should be better than travel. Negotiate with local hospitals to see what you can get.

Specializes in Peri-Op.

I would not travel that close to home.

See if your hospital has fulltime non-benefit as an option some hospitals do this and you get paid close to the same as a per diem but a guaranteed schedule. Your a staff member minus the extra health coverage. Usually you just have to show that you have external benefits these days because of the new health insurance laws in the past 8 years or so....

Ned RN has really good advice. I tried travel nursing and you know what? He is on point about the termination point. Someone or the place can say things that are not true and it gets you terminated. Been There Done That also gave me good insight about the microscope you are under when you do travel nursing. Because of the experience I had with travel nursing, it makes me wary about it. The hours are not guaranteed and the scheduling of shifts when you travel are ridiculous at times. The facility can change your schedule and try to take advantage of you being there for a short period of time. Not all places are like that, but there are some like that. You have to think about your license too, because there is that possibility of someone lying out of spite or just because they don't like you. So before you go travel nursing, just think it through and decide if its really worth it.

Definitely travel:) There are so many places to see in this world... my best memories so far are:

Watching boats pass under the Elizabeth Bridge on the banks of the Danube in Budapest, Hungary;

Observing traditional folk dancing in Maldonado, Uruguay (They had no idea that a tourist was watching);

Wandering through the ruins at Delphi, Greece;

exploring the twisted steets of Sevilla, Spain;

taking in the tropical splendor of Algarve, Portugual, and then there is, of course, Las Vegas...

This is my experience I will never forget!

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