Ask a Travel Nurse Question:
I want to start off by saying I read your book and it was very interesting! Such helpful information!
I started Travel Nursing after two years’ experience in Tele. I’m from south Florida and wanted to do the Midwest, so my first assignment was in Munster, Indiana. I fell I love with nearby Chicago, found a contract there and decided to stay!
So here I am almost 5 years later in Chicago (which I love), but I am ready to travel again! This time my heart is set on Hawaii. I know the pay sometimes isn’t the best in Hawaii, but I truly just want the experience!
What advice do you have for taking a contract in Hawaii? I am already working with my previous agency that has jobs in ICU in Maui but the pay rate is worse than I thought! Is this a good location? Obviously I don’t know anyone personally there, but I am very independent and social/outgoing. I feel prepared for the independent/alone situation, but is Maui worth it? Could I find better rates with other companies? I felt the need to reach out to you because I read your book and it helped to get a better understanding of Travel Nursing, and because you are so experienced! Any advice will help — thank you! And I am very much excited to take this journey, I KNOW I am ready!
Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:
As far as taking a Hawaii contract, you need to be of the mindset that you are doing it for the experience, not the paycheck. You need to view it as an extended vacation and must resign yourself to the fact that you will very likely leave the island more in debt than when you started.
You can travel to Hawaii on a budget, but then why go? Once on the island, you’ll want to take the whale watching tours, learn to scuba dive, rent a surfboard, drive to Hana (multiple times), hike and explore, shop in the luxury stores or art galleries, tee off on a fairway facing the ocean, eat dinners in restaurants that create exquisite entrees from the local seafood, or countless other activities that tug at the monthly paycheck you’ll earn (and may require regular use of a credit card or two). However, it’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.
As far as location, Maui No Ka ‘Oi (simply translated, Maui is the best!) It is where I have spent approximately two years of my life over the course of three assignments on the island. It was my first travel assignment and I likely still know many of the people there in the ICU (please tell them all I said “Aloha” should you decide to take the assignment).
Travelers are common in the unit and they are welcoming and inviting (I believe I had Thanksgiving with one of the staff’s family my first time there).
As for better rates with other companies, that is something you will have to research yourself as I’ll never know the current rates or how the different companies allocate their spending — some might have a higher hourly, but your insurance costs more, etc. If you need some more options in regard to travel companies, email me as I’ve traveled to Maui with two of the current companies I use.
Consider how long you wish to stay and what you will do for transportation. Rental cars can be pricey when renting monthly, but may be required depending on where your company houses you. I shipped my vehicle the last two times I went ($1000 each way), but I also stayed for about ten months each time, so the cost was way less than a rental car.
You will probably not want to stay on the side of the island where the hospital is located, nor will you want the drive back and forth to Lahaina. My last two contracts, I was housed in Kihei and would request this if I were taking another assignment (but it would require transportation to get to work).
I could probably come up with a few other tips, but it might take a direct question for me to recall that aspect of my contracts. You can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, but hopefully this may be enough for you to make a decision on whether or not you have the interest.
I hope this helps.