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Travel Nurses - Share your stories

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Joe V Joe V (Admin) Columnist Innovator Expert

Specializes in Programming / Strategist / Web Development. Has 25 years experience.


Share your insights about Travel Nurses! Tell us about them. Which are the best companies to use? How is your schedule? How competitive is travel nursing? How is the pay compared to staff nurses? Do you have any stories to share regarding your "travels"? ;)

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Specializes in ICU.

I can't stop thinking about travel nursing, this is perfect timing, I can't wait to hear some stories! :)

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

Travel nursing.. as is any thing in nursing, is what you make of it.

I've worked at the esteemed Mayo Clinic in Arizona, Kaiser in Hawaii.

It's a special sort of challenge that requires much experience, knowledge , and most importantly.... flexibility.

bagladyrn, RN

Specializes in OB.

I've been traveling for over 17 years now and have crisscrossed the country many times. I've worked in facilities ranging from 800+ beds to critical access hospitals with less than 25. There are hospitals with wonderful staff who welcome travelers and those where I found myself marking off every shift worked with a big red "X" telling myself I could make it through this.

While the payrates are not as high now as in the past (fallout from the recession) the opportunity to travel and see places I would never otherwise afford is unparalleled. I'm doing now what many people dream of doing in retirement. I've made friends with whom I keep in touch all over the country. Traveling different routes and secondary roads all over has led to some fascinating places along the way.

My biggest problem now is that I can't imagine staying permanently in one place. Each time I consider it I find myself thinking "But I haven't been there yet" and "I want to go back there". Can't imagine my travel being limited to 2 weeks vacation a year!

I've "worn out" 3 vehicles through my travel years and am now working on the 4th. Who knows how many more before I'm done!

I could say much more but this would turn into a book!

I really want to travel but I am intimidated by learning new computer charting systems. How much experience do you need to be an icu or ER traveler?

xoemmylouox, ASN, RN

Has 13 years experience.

Spretty said:
I really want to travel but I am intimidated by learning new computer charting systems. How much experience do you need to be an ICU or ER traveler?

This is what I wonder too. How difficult is it to learn each computer charting system with each hospital system to travel too? I know it's becoming an ever smaller world with hospitals joining each other, but we still have many different systems out there.

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

Learning the computer charting system is certainly the biggest challenge. Especially when your training will most likely consist of 4 hours.

However, isn't EPIC now in use everywhere?

Also, Epic was the most user friendly system ( to me).

NurseVoldemort, BSN, RN

Specializes in ED. Has 14 years experience.

I've been a traveler on contract as well as per diem. Travel wages are much better then staff wages depending on where u are. For example upstate NY nurses only make around $25 with several years experience but as agency/traveler you can make that plus free housing plus a daily food allowance so if u live close to where u do ur agency work you'll basically get the same wages byt free rent and free food... that adds up! Plus if you are more than 50 miles from your home you get tax free benefits. The other option is to just make a flat agency rate which does not come with tax benefits but has a higher overtime rate. I work overtime so I like the base rate, also because I live about 10 miles from the hospital so I don't get tax benefits either way. My agency wages is close to double staff wages. Plus working per diem as agency there is no gaurenteed hours but also no minimum requirements for hours, weekend, or holiday. So you only work when you want to and they have openings which usually isn't an issue to find openings at hospitals that are using agencies. In regards to computer systems, I've worked at 4 hospitals and none had the same system. You just learn It and ask questions until u get it.

I finally found my niche in nursing! I have done many areas in nursing as a permanent staff nurse. 2 years ago I completed my first travel nursing assignment. After a long extension I decided to take a permanent public health position at home. I thought I wanted that 8-4 desk job, during this 2 1/2 month transition I had a lot of time to reflect on the past 2 years as a travel nurse. I ultimately decided to pick up the phone and get back into travel. This is truly an area of nursing where you have control of almost everything. It is definitely the most challenging nursing specialty out there. There is always something to learn whether it be a new area and its locals or the equipment and EHR. No computer system is the same, as facilities can individualize to their preference. I absolutely love travel nursing and could never be bored in this area!

travelingrn2001, ASN, BSN

Specializes in ICU. Has 23 years experience.

Just my 2cents. It's been a long time since I have travelled but thought I may add from my experience. I incorrectly assumed that a high completion bonus meant a difficult assignment, wrong. Ask your agency to for the names of nurses that have completed assignments at a facility you are considering, some are very unfriendly to travel nurses, constant floats, assignment changes within the day, etc.

I loved the 2 yrs I spent as a travel nurse. Some facilities appreciate your help, some hate you for your expense.

Joe V

Specializes in Programming / Strategist / Web Development. Has 25 years experience.

Travel nurses please share your stories.