By March 31, 2010 3 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: What should I expect with housing provided by my company?

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example of bad travel nurse housingRecently, a nurse considering her first assignment emailed me to ask about travel assignment housing. Her question will be the genesis of the posts in the coming weeks where we’ll take a look at the different aspects of assignment housing.

As most travelers know, when you take a travel nursing assignment, your company will often arrange your housing for you. However, in most instances, this option is yours to accept or decline. Personally, I have always allowed my travel company to set up my housing for me. This is mostly due to the fact that I don’t wish to have to worry about anything more than necessary when starting a new assignment. However, the reason I have continued to allow my company to provide my accommodations is because they do a good job in providing this service.

WHAT TO EXPECT

If this is your first assignment, you might not know exactly what to expect in the way of housing. As an example, my current assignment has me housed in a one bedroom, second story apartment. The complex has one large heated pool outside the clubhouse and two smaller, non-heated pools, with hot spas, in other areas. It also has a workout room, to which the tenants have keys for 24-hour access, and a few tennis courts. The parking area and apartments are gated and the grounds are nicely decorated with trees and flowers and the property is kept clean. The apartments are also kept nice and all include built-in microwaves and washer/dryers.

This complex is a perfect example of the type of housing you should expect from your company. I have lived in complexes with extravagant pools, tennis courts, huge workout facilities with aerobic and exercise classes, and even one with an indoor racquetball court. Some will be nicer than others, but after a while, you should get a feel for what to expect. When you arrive on assignment with sub-par housing, you will know.

WHAT THEY PROVIDE

One reason I allow my travel company to provide my housing is because there is relatively little involved on my part. I simply tell them if I have any preferences (like a second floor unit), or if I have any special situations (like traveling with a pet), and then they have their housing department work on finding me a place to stay.

Another reason I like for my company to provide my housing is because they arrange for furnished accommodations. Since it will often be an apartment they provide, they will notify a furniture rental company to deliver the rental package either the day you arrive, or many times, a day or two ahead of time. The rental package usually includes: couch, loveseat, coffee table, end tables and lamps, kitchen table and chairs, a bed frame and mattress (you can specify a queen or king sized bed), a chest of drawers, and a nightstand and lamp. If you require anything else, it can be negotiated with your travel company.

Your travel company should pay for your basic utilities such as gas, water, electric, and trash, but you will have to arrange for such services as phone, internet access, or cable TV. When your travel company calls to tell you your assignment address, they might also give you the information for setting up these services (such as, which cable provider is in that area). If they do not, you can always call the apartment complex and they should be able to give you that information.

I like the simplicity of having my travel nursing company provide my housing, but if you wish to have a bit more control over your accommodations, then next week we’ll take a look at how to arrange your own travel assignment housing.

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About the Author:

Hello everyone. I’m a travel nurse originally from Ohio who graduated in 1993 from Mount Carmel School of Nursing in Columbus. I completed a critical care fellowship at Riverside Methodist Hospital in 1994 and started traveling in that specialty a year later. My first travel assignment was in Maui and since that time I have completed close to 40 different contracts in various states with multiple travel companies. I am the author of Travel Nurse’s Bible (A Guide to Everything on Travel Nursing), in addition to my writings here and in the pages of Travel Nursing publications such as Healthcare Traveler Magazine and American Nurse Today. I am presently on assignment in Phoenix, AZ and travel anywhere from six to eleven months of the year.

3 Comments on "Ask a Travel Nurse: What should I expect with housing provided by my company?"

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  1. Ralph Nance says:

    I am really considering traveling in the next few months. I am a little apprehensive about it but it is somehting i have always wanted to do. I currently work in a very busy cardiac cath lab and this is what i will be seeking to travel in. I have also worked ER and CCU. Is the money really going to be that good? I was also in the Army for 3 years and i can live anywhere for 3 months. Any advice or help will sincerely be appreciated.

  2. David says:

    Hey Ralph. One thing you mentioned in your question gives me pause, the money. When someone asks me if you can make a lot of money traveling, I say yes. But then I remind them that if they want to make a lot of money, they can also stay where they are and pick up lots of OT or take a position in the hospital in town where no one particularly wants to work. Nurses can make money just about anywhere, but will you get assignments in Key West and Maui and makes tons of money as a traveler? Probably not.

    There are certain companies for which you can work that will promise wages that look enticing. However, you will often find various hitches when you investigate further. For example, you might find that the money they promise is based on a contract that has you working 48 or 60 hr work weeks. Or, maybe the contract is for a float position (which can be tough work) or is in a facility in a bad part of town. Not ALL travel contracts that pay well are going to be in bad locations or require tons of OT, but again, don’t expect to work in Hawaii and earn “tons of bank”.

    If you want to take tough assignments or assignments with lots of OT, then you can earn over 100K as a traveler. But you can also do that anywhere. For me, the draw to travel nursing has always been that I can travel to some wonderful locations, have someone pay for my housing, pay my insurance, pay me a decent hourly rate, and then allow me four days off to enjoy myself. What could be better?

    All assignments will have different rates. The thing you have to decide is are you going to be the traveler that earns $45 an hour for a winter assignment in Idaho, or $27 an hour for one on Oahu.

    I will also mention my book if you’d like to take a look. It’s called the Travel Nurse’s Bible and can be found at travelnursesbible.com. I wrote it for nurses like you who are just starting out in travel and want to know what to expect. It’s a kind of “how-to” book on becoming a travel nurse.

    Once you start looking at companies, I can also offer some recommendations and contacts if you like. I hope this helps and feel free to email me personally at david@travelnursesbible.com if you’d like any more info.

    David

  3. Ashley says:

    I signed my first contract and start in a little over a week. I decided to have the company provide housing for this first go-around mainly due to the fact that I am a first time traveler and didnt want to have another stress filled task to complete. Anyways, I found out I’ll be staying at an extended stay (which isn’t my first choice but do-able). Well I’ve been reading the reviews of this particular establishment and am starting to get worried. 2/5 stars at best. Complaints of it being run down and having cockroaches… I can handle bugs but roaches are a serious phobia of mine. But even if they weren’t I should be allowed to decline the housing if I walk in and it’s that had, right?? Now my stress level is more on the lines of my housing rather than being a new travel nurse. What is acceptable and what isn’t? How do I go about this in a professional manner without being a pushover or a nag? HELP PLEASE!!

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