Travel RNs Making $$ - Would you go back to it?

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by Alicia777 Alicia777, MSN, NP Member Nurse

Specializes in Surgery.

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altomga, ADN, BSN, MSN, DNP, RN, APRN

Specializes in Interventional Pain Mgmt NP; Prior ICU and L/D RN. Has 24 years experience. 459 Posts

8 minutes ago, Alicia777 said:

I signed up for Vivian Health. I get the alerts that fit my old role of 'operating room RN'. I've started the process of talking to one of the recruiters and feeling out if this could be a possibility for me, while it lasts....

I'm going to DM you..

Thanks !

NPdancer

NPdancer

Specializes in 11 YRS ER RN, 6 YRS Travel RN, New Grad AG-ACNP. Has 13 years experience. 15 Posts

On 1/29/2022 at 1:23 PM, altomga said:

I have been looking at the possibility of doing some travel RN while the "pay is out there" and taking a sabbatical from my NP career at this time. 

I was going to be asking this question myself. 

 What company(s) have ya'll found to be good? I've only traveled once between by last RN job to my NP job. 

NO NP job is going to pay me what these RN travel jobs are right now and it would give my husband and myself an opportunity to "travel" .

I recently completed by doctorate and trying to find a faculty position with education like it is currently is almost zero to NONE!  Student loans are coming due and I was looking for a second job, but the pay for these travel RN jobs would be the two jobs combined !!

I have not done bedside staffing in seven years and not sure how a facility will "look" at that. 

 

Hello there!  My main travel nursing companies are Flexcare, Fastaff, and Kruical.  I used Flexcare pre-covid and they had the best rates for CA and paid the highest at the time. I used Fastaff for a local assignment and was given great hourly rates, although all taxed. Kruical is the FEMA company that pays great rates and includes housing. There's also Angel Staffing and Favorite Staffing as well. 

Jfaunsy

Jfaunsy, DNP, RN, APN

Has 10 years experience. 5 Posts

Aya healthcare is huge and decent. I've been with them for 2 years, (im a "covid" traveler, aka, I only started traveling post pandemic). I have consistently made on average around $3,000/week for the last 2 years straight. my lowest contract was $2,500/week, my highest $4,200/week. Let me qualify these price ranges for you as well. I have NEVER paid for housing once so far. A hotel here or there, but never really paid for housing. I bounce between two different states where I have relatives and friends living in the area and just work at hospitals around their houses, and stay for free at their house (their idea, not mine! Im not a free loader LOL haha). So on average I would say NET take home pay for me has been $3,000/week for the last 2 years. 

Why am I commenting on this thread.....? IM ALSO IN NP SCHOOL! ahhhhhh. LOL I don't graduate until May 2023 however, I've already told myself that if contracts are still the same when I graduate I'll take my boards and get that out of the way but im going to keep right on travel nursing. This is a UNPRECEDENTED time in nursing as far as pay goes, and the only people who are mad about it are people who aren't doing it, and that's fine, they can be mad. But after working at over 10 different hospitals in multiple states I can confirm the healthcare system is broken 😞 LOL and the nursing shortage is REAL! For the last 2 years I keep waiting for these contracts to come back down to "normal" but they havent, and IDK if they will. Im sure they will normalize out , like much of the rest of the economy (the crazy housing bubble we are in right now as well). But im telling you. 

3- 12s a week, 36 hours, for $3-4K consistent... cmon, DO IT! Btw yes I know there are 6,7,8k/week jobs, but I just value my time with family and my "not pay for housing rule" I have, so I don't do those. Those are obviously mostly 48 and even 56 hour/week contracts. The max I've ever seen in the last 2 1/2 years for 36 hours is probably $4k. 

 

Hope this helps! 

Numenor

Has 10 years experience. 462 Posts

On 2/20/2022 at 12:56 PM, Jfaunsy said:

Aya healthcare is huge and decent. I've been with them for 2 years, (im a "covid" traveler, aka, I only started traveling post pandemic). I have consistently made on average around $3,000/week for the last 2 years straight. my lowest contract was $2,500/week, my highest $4,200/week. Let me qualify these price ranges for you as well. I have NEVER paid for housing once so far. A hotel here or there, but never really paid for housing. I bounce between two different states where I have relatives and friends living in the area and just work at hospitals around their houses, and stay for free at their house (their idea, not mine! Im not a free loader LOL haha). So on average I would say NET take home pay for me has been $3,000/week for the last 2 years. 

Why am I commenting on this thread.....? IM ALSO IN NP SCHOOL! ahhhhhh. LOL I don't graduate until May 2023 however, I've already told myself that if contracts are still the same when I graduate I'll take my boards and get that out of the way but im going to keep right on travel nursing. This is a UNPRECEDENTED time in nursing as far as pay goes, and the only people who are mad about it are people who aren't doing it, and that's fine, they can be mad. But after working at over 10 different hospitals in multiple states I can confirm the healthcare system is broken 😞 LOL and the nursing shortage is REAL! For the last 2 years I keep waiting for these contracts to come back down to "normal" but they havent, and IDK if they will. Im sure they will normalize out , like much of the rest of the economy (the crazy housing bubble we are in right now as well). But im telling you. 

3- 12s a week, 36 hours, for $3-4K consistent... cmon, DO IT! Btw yes I know there are 6,7,8k/week jobs, but I just value my time with family and my "not pay for housing rule" I have, so I don't do those. Those are obviously mostly 48 and even 56 hour/week contracts. The max I've ever seen in the last 2 1/2 years for 36 hours is probably $4k. 

 

Hope this helps! 

LOL thats all well and good but get ready for a massive pay cut and more work as a NP. You'll be the "mad" one soon but hey you get to wear a white coat I guess 😉

Also the farther you get from NP graduation the less valuable you are, so go one traveling but be prepared to get a scut job after or none. But hey I only help hire NPs for a living what do I know.

Jfaunsy

Jfaunsy, DNP, RN, APN

Has 10 years experience. 5 Posts

I already have a job lined up, but thank you anyways! 

Numenor

Has 10 years experience. 462 Posts

6 hours ago, Jfaunsy said:

I already have a job lined up, but thank you anyways! 

A job over a year out from graduation? That HR is zealous. Hmmmmm. I still stand by the pay cut, unless they have already negotiated salary over a year out from graduation which would be unprecedented.

I live in one of the highest pay NP salary areas and traveler pay still beats it by far. You will take a pay cut. If you are cool with all of that and more work then okay, just a warning.

Jfaunsy

Jfaunsy, DNP, RN, APN

Has 10 years experience. 5 Posts

Yea I do have an offer from the family practice I’m in already, they are expanding and I know the director personally.
 

But yea pay cut for sure! I mean I’m making as much as some MDs right now, so I’m fully prepared for that. But I gotta play the long game too. 10,20,30 years from now travel pay won’t always be there. Have to transition at some point. 

Numenor

Has 10 years experience. 462 Posts

19 minutes ago, Jfaunsy said:

Yea I do have an offer from the family practice I’m in already, they are expanding and I know the director personally.
 

But yea pay cut for sure! I mean I’m making as much as some MDs right now, so I’m fully prepared for that. But I gotta play the long game too. 10,20,30 years from now travel pay won’t always be there. Have to transition at some point. 

I agree, long game is important. Just the state of being a NP and NP education is very worrisome at this point and is reflected in salaries. Gross over supply with a substandard product, unfortunately. I say this as a NP who did a residency alongside MDs.

Hopefully, things get better and the NP regulation bodies get it together but I am doubtful.

jnb1740

jnb1740, BSN

Specializes in Cardiac. Has 25 years experience. 21 Posts

I've seen someone say, "While the pay is still out there". Question: Do you all feel that travel pay will go down soon, after Covid dies down? If so, do you think it will still be higher than pre-Covid, but maybe not as high as during mid-Covid?

Jfaunsy

Jfaunsy, DNP, RN, APN

Has 10 years experience. 5 Posts

Great question. And I think we’ve all been taking it one “surge” at a time. So I started traveling almost right away with covid 2 years ago. And every 3-6 months someone would tell me “oh this travel nurse thing won’t last” and I honestly agreed with them. I didn’t want to get my hopes up , but weeks turned into months and now months into years and one variant has turned into 3 (that we know of LOL). So I have a few thoughts. 

1. Demand is higher than it has ever been. My company had around 14-15,000 jobs posted 2 years ago. This is nation wide. I’ve watched that number slowly creep up to now 20,000 and hold steady. 

2. while covid drove the demand for nurses up due to higher censuses. It also did a lot of other things that also drives demand up AND supply down, like burn out. I’ve seen with my own eyes nurses quitting the hospital and healthcare altogether. This is why part of me no longer thinks this is 100% covid. It’s a big part but now it is more like the effects rather than the original cause. 
 

3. And maybe most important… Precedence. The door has been opened, the money has magically appeared, I mean why have RNs been paid (relatively) so low for decades?? Because hospitals said so. But now the game has changed , and I think for good. Hence the “nursing pay caps” that are supposedly taking place. This is untrue but whatever. 
 

So on this point here’s my predictions. I think contracts will slow down (now completely stop) however, I now think there will ALWAYS be 4,5,6,000/week contracts out there if you look hard enough and are willing to go to strange places LOL. So while they may not be $3,500/week in your backyard (what I’m doing now). They’ll be out there for sure. 

It doesn’t show signs of stopping. I mean the hospital I’m at alone (in NC) just posted a dozen more contracts all 3,200/36 or $4,500/48 hrs week!! That’s just the going rate. And what a lot of people don’t realize is that there are hundreds (thousands? ) of hospitals that always have and always will DEPEND on travelers. You just didn’t notice them as much before. But they were always there. So that demand never goes away and now we’re just seeing the pay go up. Will it come back down? I do t think so. Atleast not any time soon.