Hello everyone, just wanted to get some advice. I have been a nurse for 2 years now, all 2 years in the ER. I want to start travel nursing and have been talking to different companies. I've already applied for a FL license, where I plan to set up my home base and take my first assignment. I just don't know how to tell if I really am ready and will be successful. With 2 years experience, I feel good about the typical ER routine/duties that I do daily at work. There are still things I haven't done though, and I don't know if that is okay or not. It is mainly the "trauma" stuff. When I was going through the ER skills checklist for a travel agency, there were quite a few things I still don't have much experience with/feel comfortable with (example- ART lines- no experience; chest tubes- have only seen one placed once; IO's- still haven't placed one). I mean, is it okay to travel if I function well with the "usual" at my work? Thank you.
While you will be able to get travel assignments within your skill level, there are several practical reasons not to go that way right now. Moving to Florida, you will not get tax benefits for getting assignments within commuting distance from your new residence. Hospitals often have policies saying residents within a certain distance (varies from 50 to 200 miles) may not work as travelers. I'd recommend getting a consult from a tax professional (try TravelTax first for a free consult) about how to establish a new tax home in Florida so you will be on solid ground to take tax free stipends when you are not working within commuting distance from your new home. I'm not an expert, but starting off with a staff job at your new home should make your new tax home status indisputable should you be audited by the IRS.
A staff job at an appropriate hospital will get you some common clinical skills you cannot now check off on a skills checklist (part of every agency requirement). Both the extra staff experience and picking up extra skills will make you more competitive with other ED nurses and extra confidence required when hitting the ground running at a new to you facility with different practices, policies, culture, patient population, staffing, and charting.
There is no such thing as a "permanent" job, so don't let that dissuade you from a staff job. You can quit after three months if you wish. But better would be to drop down to per diem (if the shift requirements fit with your desire to travel), or seasonal if available (coming back for a few months every winter). There are three main legs to a valid tax home and one of them is working local to your residence. While only two of the these three legs is required (I've never worked locally for example), it makes your tax home status very solid.