Boyfriend and Girlfriend RN's considering Travel Nursing together...

  1. My girlfriend and I are both registered nurses with associates degrees. I have 1 year of Psych experience and she has 1 year of ICU experience. We live in south Texas. We're night shift nurses. I'm salaried, work for the state hospital and make 60k a year. She's hourly and makes less than 50k a year. We are considering travel nursing because we'd like to travel across the states and we HEAR that travel nurses get paid a lot. This is where I need y'alls help. The internet seems to have no clue what travel nurses make. I'm seeing everything from 40k a year to 165k a year, from 20 dollars an hour to 72 dollars an hour. The reviews I see on all of these contracting companies are all over the place too. I need to hear from actual nurses. What kind of pay can I expect? What have y'alls experiences been like? Can these companies be trusted? I'm interested to hearing anything and everything y'all have to say and look forward to hearing your responses.
  2. Visit msmoe16 profile page

    About msmoe16, ADN

    Joined: Apr '17; Posts: 16; Likes: 8
    from US


  3. by   NedRN
    In terms of total pay, most travelers make from 100 to 120K per year - up to a around a third of it tax free for qualified travelers that are traveling away from their permanent residence. However, out of this amount, you have to pay for housing (costs of which vary widely based on location and personal preference and are in addition to keeping up your primary residence), health insurance, and get no PTO, holidays, or vacations. It is kind of like working per diem at your existing hospital, more cash in lieu of benefits. With overtime, or working rapid response assignments, or being very choosy, it is certainly possible to make over 200K a year. But a reasonable max might be 150K. Travel assignments to the South or Midwest may pay less than the first range mentioned.

    It is tough to pencil out, but anecdotally, when I first started to travel, my hourly was about the same as staff, but instead of saving five percent of my net pay living frugally, I was able to save more like 90 percent. There was just no comparison at all.

    However, you should never even consider travel for compensation, you do it first because you love the lifestyle. Staff nurses, depending on where they are, can do just as well as travelers by retirement time, and with a far better lifestyle if they would hate being a gypsy.
  4. by   msmoe16
    Thank you for your answer. So, financially, you're saying I'd have to wait until retirement age as a staff nurse to do just as well as I could be doing right now as a travel nurse? That's a huge difference! I'm more interested in the money, my girlfriends more interested in the lifestyle. But, I grew up a military brat, so moving around isn't a foreign concept to me. Thanks again, Ned!
  5. by   NedRN
    No, I'm simply saying that with prudent handling of income, your retirement income will be similar. That's a broad generalization and doesn't include that it may be easier to achieve that as staff because of human nature. Most "millionaires next door" live normal but prudent permanently employed lives in ordinary houses and end up very comfortable.

    By contrast, travelers really living the lifestyle to the hilt can spend their fairly large disposable income like they are on vacation, and similarly spend big between assignments and may take extra time off because it is so easy. Certainly most permanent employees do not end up as millionnaires ether, but it strikes me that travelers are even less likely.
  6. by   msmoe16
    Ah, gotcha! I'm a penny pincher, my girlfriend on the other hand...
  7. by   Ruby Vee
    One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that you and your girlfriend each have only one year of experience. Reputable companies like to see two years of experience in the specialty in which you travel. Certainly people have been offered travel assignments with less, but it takes about two years in your job to become competent. At one year, you're still in the "don't know what you don't know" phase, although you may be more confident. I'd stay where you are and get the additional year of experience while you gather information and make contacts on the travel nurse scene.
  8. by   msmoe16
    I hear you. I'm especially fearful for my gf, being that that she's ICU. A lot could go wrong there.