Travel nurses play an essential role in the medical community. They help hospitals fill immediate staffing needs during shortages and crises. They also enable facilities to maintain nurse-patient ratios.
Many travel nursing agencies offer lucrative salaries, including housing allowance and travel expenses. They also provide various benefits, including healthcare coverage and 401(k) contributions.
A travel nurse agency recruits nurses to fill temporary positions at hospitals that do not have permanent nursing staff. These agencies are also responsible for providing them with housing, transportation, and other benefits.
They offer a variety of assignments, from large metropolitan hospitals to small community hospitals and outpatient centers. They also provide opportunities to experience different regions of the country, especially during certain times of the year. Some agencies have dedicated staff to help nurses settle into new states and get acquainted with the local culture. These staff members are referred to as “travel nurse advocates.”
To kickstart the recruitment process, you must show interest in a job position with an agency. Once you have done this, a recruiter will contact you with available jobs. The recruiter will send you all the information about the position, including compensation, stipend, and travel reimbursement. You will then decide on which ones you want to apply for.
Some agencies provide housing, while others offer a housing stipend. The stipend is usually based on the average cost of living for the area. To cut down on expenses, you can either get a roommate or search for an apartment in a more affordable city area. Some agencies even have offices in the cities where they place nurses. These locations allow nurses to drop in and submit paperwork or fulfill fit testing.
A good agency has attentive recruiters and excellent customer service. A travel nurse agency connects nurses with job opportunities in the states where they prefer to work. They also help with the paperwork and licensing required to work in each state, provide housing or assistance with finding it, sick pay, time off, insurance coverage, and tuition reimbursement.
In addition to sourcing referrals, travel nurse agencies use other outside-the-box sourcing tools to help their candidates find jobs faster. For example, programmatic sourcing can help agencies target the most qualified applicants using data-driven advertising campaigns. It can save valuable time and money on recruitment efforts.
Travel nurses face a steep learning curve when moving to a new assignment. They must quickly learn hospital systems, procedures, and workflows. It can make it difficult for them to form long-term relationships with coworkers, which makes it harder to stay on their assignments.
Once a travel nurse accepts a job offer, the agency will send what is known as a confirmation to the hospital. This document is essential because it covers any special agreements the travel nurse made during their interview. For example, some travel nurses may be asked to sign waivers against liability or agree to specific terms not covered in their contract. Travel nurses should always read their contracts carefully to understand them fully.
In the travel nursing world, it’s essential to understand how pay works. You get paid an hourly rate for your work plus a housing stipend or agency-provided housing. The stipend or housing is removed from your bill rate, reducing your take-home pay. Finding housing or living with a roommate is also possible, saving you money.
When working with a reliable travel nurse agency, you can expect to be informed about your compensation in advance. The agency can provide a detailed breakdown of your total pay, including the hours you will be billed and any stipends or per diems that may apply. Some agencies will also offer bonuses, tuition reimbursement, and 401(k) options with company matches.
Another factor that affects pay is whether the hospital requires non-billable orientation hours. Sometimes the hospital will not bill for the travel nurse, and they can range from 4 to 12 hours. The travel nurse must then spend that time at the hospital getting familiar with their new surroundings, which can be a hassle.
As a travel nurse, you should carefully consider the pros and cons of this career choice before signing your contract. It would be best to decide why you want to travel as a nurse and how this will impact your life at home. You should also determine how many contracts you will sign and if you will accept assignments that require you to move from state to state.
Reimbursement is one of the most important considerations when choosing a travel nurse agency. Staffing agencies charge hourly rates for their nurses’ time, and these pay rates may differ significantly between hospitals and even within a single facility. You can find these pay rates in work advertisements and other communications from the staffing agency. However, pay rates are only a small part of the total travel nurse compensation package.
Travel nurses also receive tax-free stipends for temporary lodging, meals, and other expenses. The amount of these stipends can vary widely between agencies, and some are better for travel nurses than others. You should always be aware of your travel nurse salary package’s tax-free components to ensure you receive the best possible benefits.
Compliance and credentialing are other primary services that travel nurse agencies provide. Generally, the agency is responsible for ensuring that all the travel nurse’s documents are in order and up to date. They must also ensure the travel nurse has all the necessary clearances to work at their assigned hospital.
Some travel nursing jobs require that the travel nurse be away from family and friends for long periods. It can be difficult for some people. In addition, it is hard to build deep friendships with people who you only see every few months.