Travel vs Agency nursing

  1. I am new to nursing and I have seen different posts about Travel nursing and Agency nursing. Is there a difference between the two or is it the same thing just different terminology? If there is a difference, can you please explain the differences?
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    About tukoo

    Joined: Nov '03; Posts: 7


  3. by   rncopper

    Most people do make a distinction between travel nursing and agency.

    Travel nursing involves (usually) going to a different location than where you normally live and take an assignment for a variety of timeframes. Some are as short as 4 weeks or most are 13 weeks. There are some assignments that are longer. You are given a place to live (or a housing stipend), insurance, travel pay to the assignment. Companies have varying "perks". Most companies guarantee weekly hours (there are some companies out there that don't. VERY bad, IMHO!!!).

    Agency nursing is usually done in your home area. You sign up with an agency, let them know when you are available to work, and they will send you "out" to different facilities. Usually, this work is NOT guaranteed; you can be cancelled. Most agencies do not offer insurance or any "perks". You are essentially a independent contractor with them.

    I am a traveler. Best thing that I could have done for myself!!! If you have any other questions about traveling, just give me a shout!!!

    (Also, did agency!)

    Good luck to you!!!
  4. by   LadyNASDAQ
    Nurses who work as travelers are expected to know thie jobs very well. They are being paid a salary as well as having their housing paid for. These hospitals are looking for experts, not novices who may or may not know their job roles.

    You may be given a nearly impossible assignment and even with a lot of years of experience, you WILL be challenged, trust me. You have to be able to hurry up and transfer bathed patients that have had their am meds quickly but anticipate that you will be slammed with new patients and have to hurry up and get these patients admitted in a hurry and not lose yourself . That's just for the floors.

    If you work in ICU, you may be given 2 very, very ill patients and be hit again with a third patient. Again, it's the hurry up thing because they want you to pick up the newest admission while the rest of the staff are sitting at the Nurse's station sipping cappuccinos and watching you run, run, run.

    Unfortunately, this is truth, not fiction. You have to be aware that assignments are not balanced and frequently you will see the wrath of staff assault the poor Travel Nurse who was very unsuspecting.

    I am a strong Nurse. I have 25 years of experience. I have dove in many times to rescue my co-workers may them being staff but especially new Travelers where I have been told don't do someone else's work. I still did my part to help even if it were knocking in orders in the computer and placing calls to Docs. It can be overwhelming and you need to be aware that Travel Nurses are perceived as fill ins who they can saddle down with an assignment full of patients no one wants to take care of with all kinds of things wrong with them.

    Just be aware of needing very good skills before you embark on this.
  5. by   rncopper
    I agree with the statement that you need very good skills to become a travel nurse.

    BUT...........I very much disagree with the rest of LadyNASDAQ's reply!

    I have traveled for over 2.5 years; been at 7 facilities during those years. It has been VERY, VERY rare that I have been dumped on, given no help, given the sickest patients while everyone else sat on their duffs!!!!

    Yes, occasionally it does happen. But, for me, AND many of the travel nurses that I know (and I have met and talked with many!!! Who have also done MANY, MANY assignments), IT IS NOT THE NORM!!!!!!

    When you look for information on travel nurses, make sure it is from those of us who actually "travel" (ie - take assignments for short periods!!!!) and not from people who stay at "assignments" for years!!!!!
  6. by   LadyNASDAQ
    I have worked 1 long and 1 short (26 weeks) and for 3 years vs. your 2 1/2 yrs.

    I know that you were miserable in one of the assignments and read your post thoroughly and agreed with you about being dumped on but believe me, I still value a longer assignment much more and this is why I have to disagree on this point with you.

    The hospitals care less with the 13 weekers. They make mincemeat out of those who stay a short time and don't concern themselves about your feelings.

    I also don't discredit other people's responses. I do however disagree with yours. It is the norm that most facilities harbor a lot of resentment and a lot of jealousy towards travel nurses and get their jollies out of watching them work harder. I can definitely feel for you on that contract you were in and say that as time moves on, you are bound to find more and more hospitals feel that they can use us unless we stand our ground.

    Seven assignments is in my opinion too many places to be in. You don't even know the hospital well and can not establish yourself. In a 26 week assignment, you show more stability. The fact that I stayed in a 2 1/2 yr. assignment gets you crazy I know lol. It's not likely that someone can stay that long and be offered a continuous assignment with bonuses and perks but then again I have the years in and can do Charge in any ICU and have done so in the past.

    To put me down is showing off. To be asked to stay for 2 1/2 yrs. is a compliment. It will come a time I may do 13 weekers, too but putting me down is a strange thing that you seemed to have picked up from the other Forum. This is a friendly Forum. No fighting here.
  7. by   rncopper
    No, no fighting. Since the truth CAN be heard, we REAL travelers know, and live, the truth everyday on our 13 week assignments!!!

    By the way, just because travelers only work at an assignment for 13 weeks, does not mean that they are NOT valued at that facility! Many different reasons go into a person leaving after 13 weeks. VERY, VERY rarely is it because the facility no longer wants us.

    I am The Perpetual Tourist! I want to see and experience as much of the country that I can. I do not travel for the money. I travel for the experience. I have been in management; I have done the charge thing! I no longer wish to do that! I travel to get a piece of Americana! NOT because I cannot hold down a longer job.

    In my seven facilities that I have been at, I have been asked to stay, either by extending again or going permanent, at 6 of them. I did not want to. I have been treated as staff at those 6. Included in anything and everything that staff has been included in. I have oriented new staff, I have taught classes to their staff; I have been valued! Just because I stayed less than 6 months, I have not been treated differently at all!

    I guess, after coming home from my 12 hour night shift (where, yes, I am being included in the staff Christmas functions!), your statements hit me VERY wrong! Because, I know for a fact, that most of what you posted is erroneous.

    For my "attitude", I am sorry. But, I am not sorry for pointing out the fallacies of your statements.
    Last edit by rncopper on Dec 5, '03
  8. by   LadyNASDAQ
    We real Travelers have the option of extending or not extending. I chose to extend and I stayed longer. It seems to impress Recruiters a lot to tell them I have extended and I have been told that the hospitals are impressed by Nurses who do extend and this does hold a lot of weight with me.

    I do agree with you on one thing and that is to see the Country. I do want to do this but I do value a good day shift position without having to fight for the next assignment because most of these facilities want night shifters, only. I wish I could work that but this body won't stay up all night. If I could, I would only do night shifts. I have no kids and no reasons why I couldn't make it happen except that I get so sick in the middle of the night that I know better after 3 good tries.

    For 13 weeks, it goes by so fast that how much could you really see in that short period of time and if you work nights, how would you see it anyway when you're sleeping the other side of the clock.
  9. by   rncopper
    You would be surprised how much I can see in 13 weeks! Plus, I love nocs; HATE days! Work 3 days a week; tourist the other 4! And I try very hard to do 6 on, 8 off. Perfect for sight seeing!!

    (And I have been very successful at getting just that kind of schedule).
  10. by   bellehill
    I have always felt like I was welcomed to each different facility. Never have I felt like I was being dumped on, some places actually try hard to make sure I am happy (hoping I will stay?) If I didn't enjoy the assignment the reason was not the nurses on the unit.

    The longest I have been one place was 9 months, too long in my opinion...the longer you are at a place the more you get pulled into gossip groups and hospital politics. I agree with rncopper that 13 weeks is plenty of time to see what you want and get out.

    I am sorry that you have had a couple bad assignments ladyNASDAQ, but they aren't all bad.
  11. by   LadyNASDAQ
    First assignment was heaven, last one was treated ok but the 13 weekers were not. I signed up for 26 weeks and was treated completely different wheras the 13 weekers were dumped on.

    Right now I am considering staff vs. accepting another 26 week assignment with even higher pay than I was making. It boggles the mind. Anyways, good luck in your adventures and as for me, I am hopeful that I have good responses about a couple of hospitals offered if I do go back out and travel again will be good experiences but no way will I do 13 weeks.
  12. by   rncopper
    THANK YOU, Bellehill, for the colaboration!