Thank you for your replies! I am beginning to see I might have to loosen my white knuckles a bit if I am going to have a go at this!
I've been reading some forums here and have been in contact with several recruiters. Each conversation has been different, some more informative than others. Some recruiters get irritated when I don't jump on assignments, I guess I should take this as a bad sign.
I have been going about this the wrong way. I approached recruiters as though I were on an interview and was nervous to seem too eager for basic information, like pay, insurance or license reimbursement. I was also hesitant to say that I was talking to multiple agencies. From what I've read, the best practice is to be honest and to procure the information I need from the conversations.
I was able to talk to a couple different recruiters about the same assignment. I thought this would allow me to compare apples to apples, and yet one of those apples ended up looking strangely like an orange. The base pay was $8/hour different and the ever elusive "tax-free" daily stipend differed more than 80 dollars a day, bringing one company's offer to over $300/ week more. I don't understand how that could be possible for the same contract? There are a few differences I like day-one insurance, cancellation policies and overtime pay, but nothing that I could see to account for such a large difference.
I know that it might be difficult to stay in the area I want to be in. I am a NICU nurse, and I know that makes it more difficult, but for personal reasons, it would work best. Within my "radar" are some decent sized cities like DC, Baltimore, Columbus and Pittsburgh. I'm fairly determined to at least try. I have not considered per diem work, but I will look into it. Any tips for starting there?
The more I learn about traveling, the more overwhelmed I become, but I know these feelings are normal with trying anything new. My anxiety level is heightened because I'm dealing with my livelihood