Ask a Travel Nurse Question:
In travel nursing, how do I know if I am being paid fairly?
Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:
I get a ton of emails asking this, but always feel a bit defensive of the profession of travel nursing when I respond. I suppose that is because I look back on a profession that has afforded me a great many adventures which would never have been possible for it not for travel nursing. I guess it’s kinda hard to bash anything when your first assignment is in Maui 😉
But along those lines, let me ask you a simple question; “Do you feel you are being paid fairly?” I’ve written before that this may be a very “zen-like” way of looking at the world of travel (where nothing matters other than the enjoyment of the profession itself). But it is a question you really do have to ask yourself at some point because no matter what you are being paid, if you don’t feel fairly compensated for the work you do, then how good are you going to feel about it?
I also have to admit that I’m not really a traveler that cares what I am being paid as long as it is enough to pay my monthly bills (with some spending money left), give me a nice place to lay my head after work, and have health insurance. However, I do realize that there are those who have different priorities and money can certainly be at the forefront of those priorities.
The only way to truly know if you are being paid competitively is by comparing apples to apples on your travel assignment offerings. To do so accurately can be VERY difficult. While one company may offer a higher rate, another company may charge less for their health insurance, or have better housing, which then can negate the extra hourly. But if you are not concerned with having good healthcare coverage or staying in the nicest “digs”, then perhaps hourly rate is your only concern. If this is the case, then it becomes a bit easier because all you have to do is call several companies with which you are on file, and ask them the going rate for the area. Occasionally, you will find two or three companies with the same contract, often with a different hourly rate. It then becomes about the benefit(s) you favor most.
But, once again, if you are trying to balance the best of ALL the benefits your companies are offering, then it is tricky to have to try to weigh $2 more an hour against being put up in an extended stay hotel (verses a one bedroom apartment with the company paying less).
Try not to get caught up in the game of “what does your company pay you?” or you will always feel cheated. You can rarely know ALL the details of someone else’s contract. Call around when shopping a new assignment, weigh the benefits you feel are important, and go with a reputable company that will have your back should something go wrong on your assignment. A few dollars more an hour is NEVER worth it when your company hits you up for thousands of dollars on a contract cancellation due to no fault of your own.
I hope this helps.