Ask a Travel Nurse Question:
I’ve been a nurse for 10 years and am very strongly considering switching to Travel Nursing. I currently work as a float nurse throughout a 1000-bed Missouri hospital specializing in NICU/Peds/PICU. I make $31 per hour, and do OK because I work premium shifts about once a week bringing my take home pay about $1000 a week, after taxes and insurance.
My biggest motivator for trying Travel Nursing is pay. I have a lot of education debt and need to make more to manage it. Do you think with my background and experience I can do better financially as a Travel Nurse than I am now? Can I consistently get better pay on Travel Nursing assignments?
Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:
Whenever someone mentions money as their motivation for Travel Nursing, I discourage it because I believe that most anywhere in the country you should be able to make as much money as you want with per diem and agency work. And while you can ask your recruiter to only submit you for jobs offering over “x” amount per hour, I cannot promise you that those jobs will be prevalent on a continual basis.
However, I will say that $31 seems low for NICU/PICU and you very well could find some decent paying assignments out there. As a Travel Nurses, you could also pocket some extra money living on the cheap while taking a housing stipend (however, you need to be sure you understand the tax implications of housing stipends and if you even qualify for that reimbursement to be considered tax exempt).
The short answer is, I cannot assure you that you would make more financially in travel. For many people the value of the experience factors in as well.
But, if you would like to speak to some great Travel Nurse resources, I do always offer to set people up with the recruiters I use and trust with my travels. If you like, send me your preferred email address and current phone number to email@example.com. I will forward this info to my recruiters and then email you with the names of the people who will be contacting you and a little bio on the company for which they work. I ONLY share this info with the five recruiters to whom I refer people.
They are all great with new Travelers and will take the time to give you some numbers of the going rates of current assignments throughout the U.S. and you can then see if the financials work out for you. Also if you do email me, just remind me briefly of your situation. I have a pretty good memory, but do correspond with quite a few Travel Nurses.