Where to start?

Specialties Travel


Specializes in Emergency Room.

Hello everyone!

This is my first post on here :D

Anyways, As of June of this year I have officially gotten my 2 years of experience out of the way. I've always wanted to travel! I live in a super small town and want to get out there. I have met a few travelers that have come and gone until last year when our hospital cancelled their "travel program" and stopped accepting travelers. I wish I would have asked them more about it, but the one thing I can remember is that the all absolutely LOVED it.

Here I am ready to start, but I have no idea where to start.

I applied to American Traveler and a recruiter called within the hour, but I froze and didn't answer!

From what I've read on here most people are saying to look for companies that will cater to your needs, but I honestly don't really have any! I just want to get up and go!

So, what are the companies that some of you work for? I know we cannot put recruiter information onto the threads, but is it ok to put the names of the actual companies?

Pros and cons would be nice.

Also, I've heard of people "agency hopping." Do any of you do that or are you loyal to one company/recruiter?

Thanks so much for any information!

The best way to learn as much as possible, as quickly as possible is to check out all the websites and forums

Delphi forum. TNT message boards are great

Highway hypodermics

Pan travelers

Joe at travel tax

Traveler magazine

There are some great books you can order or download on kindle about travel nursing also! There is tons of info out there!!!

Specializes in Emergency Room.

Thanks so much! I've noticed that there is so much info, it's sort of overwhelming!

Specializes in Operating Room.

Messaged you some info, hope that helps you out.

Specializes in ICU.

Nurse Cupcake87- Where are you from. Maybe you should consider going to the Travel Nursing conferencee in Vegas..in October.. Thats what I'm planning to do. I'm in the same boat as you. 23 year old female.. no tie downs..from a small town, ready to get up and go. The thing is, I cannot go until January due to a contract I have at home- (Virginia). Sounds like we will both be getting into this exciting career together. I'm excited. I plan to start applying to agencies next month (August). I didnt want to do it beforehand because I didnt want the constant phone calls so early knowing I couldnt do anything. This will atleast give me a few months to get all my stuff together. Good luck. PM me if you can or email. [email protected]

I started traveling with just 2 years of experience and from a small rural hospital. I love it. It's the greatest learning experience you can have in my opinion. It took me a while to actually get started once I talked to a travel agency. I think that it doesn't matter that much when choosing and agency because for the most part they all offer the same things. It's all about your recruiter. I talked to one recruiter for an entire year trying to get prepared for traveling. I decided to try a different recruiter and see how another worked. Within 2 weeks of applying and talking to a different recruiter...I had a job offer! I found a great article that may give you direction when talking to a recruiter and to know what to ask. TRAVEL NURSE TOOLBOX - Travel Nursing HUB

Also, another good website is Travel Nurse Help | Hospital Information for Travel Nursing Jobs. There are tons of resources online. Just go for the gold. Don't hold back or you will never know. The best thing is if you try it and hate it...you are only obligated to fulfill one contract. Try to get an 8 week contract your 1st assignment to see if it's for you. Best of luck!

You can just jump in and learn as you go. You will quickly learn what your preferences are. Some travelers do stick to one agency for their entire time traveling, usually a larger one with a lot of assignment choices. Less paperwork!

Some travelers are more freelance and keep current with a number of smaller agencies for good assignment choices, independence, and often more money.

If you don't want to research, you don't have to - just try it! That's also a valid preference.

Not all travel companies have your needs! Pay is the #1 consideration when traveling. So you shouldnt say you dont have any needs! Watch out for the low ball offers as you're new.

I agree that not all companies have your back. But so what if you lose three months? You will have a completed travel assignment on your resume and will have better options all around for the next one. I don't give that advice for most new travelers, but it seems to fit this one.

I disagree that pay is the #1 consideration when traveling. I'd take a couple bucks less any day to work for a better agency. And if pay is the only consideration worth considering, perhaps travel is the wrong thing altogether. Move to SF or Boston and take a $60 an hour position. Or become a stockbroker. Travel for the lifestyle, not the money.

I agree with NedRN...travel for the lifestyle, not the money. That being said, we all have a minimum pay that we 'can' accept. Its important to make sure that you know what amount this is. There are also other considerations that you might want to think about when choosing an agency.

I would also recommend that you attend the Travelers Conference if you can. You'll gain a ton of useful information and be able to connect/network with other travel nurses.

For those of us just starting out traveling...how do we know if we are getting low ball offers? Of course we know what are are personal limits are, but is there a good rule of thumb to keep from getting hosed? Is it usually comparable to what an full time employees make in that area plus stipend and M&I?

For those of us just starting out traveling...how do we know if we are getting low ball offers? Of course we know what are are personal limits are, but is there a good rule of thumb to keep from getting hosed? Is it usually comparable to what an full time employees make in that area plus stipend and M&I?

While pay does vary by geographical areas, you shouldn't compare it to staff nurses for many reasons. There is no sure fire method of finding out if you are being paid market rates as a traveler because there are a number of variables. The best method is to get quotes from several agencies for the same general area (or even the same assignment if you are lucky) and use a calculator such as the one found on PanTravelers to compare.

Another way to go about this is to search travel nursing forums such as this one to seek out reliable agencies and avoid known bad ones. Select a trusted agency and be done with it.

There are several reasons why it is so difficult to be sure if you are getting a fair offer or not. One is that bill rates for the same hospital can vary from agency to agency (often depending on their own negotiating skills, or their need to place lots of travelers versus just a few). Agency overhead also varies a lot from agency to agency, with some agencies requiring over 30% margin to stay in business, and some lean agencies surviving on sub 20% margins. Hospital bill rates can also vary from week to week depending on how urgent their needs are - which means that you can have travelers doing the same job at the same hospital, even for the same agency, with different pay rates.

One last thing to consider is that first time travelers often get paid less for good reason. It is not that their bill rate is any different, it is that their risk to the agency is substantially higher. Industry wide, one out of 10 contracts fail to complete. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the failure rate among first time travelers isn't three times higher. Lots of reasons for that, including agencies placing travelers in poor fits for them, traveler expectations being very different from reality, failing to realize that travelers are not staff and have to act more professionally, and just plain experience at hitting the ground running at a new facility.

There are real costs from failed assignments that the agency has to cover, from broken leases to loss of business goodwill and reputation with their client hospitals. On average, these costs are more likely for first time travelers, so some agencies will average out expenses by reducing pay for all new travelers. So it is not just about profiting in excess from newbies.

On a similar theme, even experienced travelers represent a risk to agencies if they haven't worked for them before. Some hospitals are even refusing travelers that don't have a prior history with the submitting agency. While many experienced travelers recommend working for several agencies (myself included - you should always have a Plan B), there are often longevity rewards for loyal travelers. Sometimes they are actual annual bonuses, or more subtle in that the best paying assignments will go first to proven in-house travelers.

I wouldn't worry too much about being hosed your first assignment or two, but do try to pick agencies with excellent reputations, even if they pay a bit lower. For example PPR does very well with new travelers, putting them in appropriate assignments, first class housing, and holding their hand. I think that is worth taking a couple bucks an hour less to have a good first assignment.

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