Are there any traveling nurses out there? If so would you care to share your journey! I have been an RN for going on 6 years, working in Oncology/Hematology, Spinal Cord Injury, Med-Surge and Float Pool! I have been sticking my toe in the travel agency business by taking local contracts and PRN positions. I feel pretty confident that I can manage as a traveler. However I personally am not a well traveled person and need some insight on how room and board plus transportation is managed? For women, are there ever any safety concerns? How do you balance family, healthcare needs, vacation time, etc.?
Same way you do now! Weekly work hours are the same. As far as housing goes, you can take agency provided housing. Safe housing is a priority for agencies. Pretty luxurious way to go, just show up and grab the key. Fully furnished (check about kitchenware though), utilities on, ready to go. Many travelers prefer to get their own housing, as typically you can pocket some excess cash. But it is a real hassle to get your own housing, take the provided housing for your first assignment. You will have enough stress just from adapting to a new facility with minimal orientation.
Ned's right that taking company housing makes it easier, but I like the control of finding my own. That being said, some rental markets are harder than others; for example, this is the first time in a year or so of traveling that I took company housing, but I wasn't going to find anything better on my own in Florida during season.
I don't have safety concerns in general, but I travel with my husband. You always have the option of renting a room versus a whole apartment, where you'd have roommates if living alone makes you uncomfortable. But then you have to be comfortable living with roommates. If I were a solo traveler that is what I would do, and have discussed doing with my husband if he ever wanted to stay behind. I like the idea of traveling with a buddy - I know a lot of nurses who travel with a friend, which makes rent easy and helps stave off the loneliness that can come with travel nursing. I also know a lot of nurses who go it alone. It depends on you.
Vacation time is easy. If you need off during a contract, you let your recruiter and the manager know in the interview and make sure it's in your contract. Or, you just take it in between contracts. That's not to say that there won't be some contracts where a hospital won't want to give you the time off, but I haven't had that issue.
Thanks for the feedback. Do you usually drive to your locations with your personal vehicle or rent a car once you arrive?
We drive. I think it's more fun. I met a travel nurse from Canada who gets a friend or relative to drive with her to whatever her destination is, making a road trip out of it. Then after visiting for a bit her friend will fly home. So, if you want to drive but are nervous about a long road trip by yourself, I think that's a great idea.
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