By December 14, 2012 1 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: Questions about Travel Nursing

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travel nursing questionsAsk a Travel Nurse Question:

I am 26 yr old, employed on in the U of Utah Burn trauma ICU, I have been an RN for 2.5 years and my contract is coming to a close in the spring of 2013…I have been reading a lot on traveling and plan on starting when my contract is up.

 

 

My questions are:

1. When researching companies do you prefer big or small agencies?

i.e. large agencies with lots of placement opportunities in diverse areas of the country, or smaller more region specific agencies.

2. Is a home base necessary? Should I get a storage unit or try and find a cheap room in SLC to come back to after assignments.

3. Stipend for housing or provided housing?

4. When to inform my manager about my travel plans and possibly stay on as a PRN Rn on the BTICU 5. Chances of me finding a female traveler with the same mindset.

6. Will my brother who is a Tele RN with 3 years experience be able to find assignments and be my travel buddy?

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

1. When researching companies do you prefer big or small agencies? i.e. large agencies with lots of placement opportunities in diverse areas of the country, or smaller more region specific agencies.
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Generally speaking, don’t concern yourself too much with where a company is located. If you are a hospital in need of a travel nurse, are you going to advertise this with a small local company or put it out on the national level? Now this is not to say that all travel companies will have the same assignment offerings, but if you join a handful of companies, you can have a really diverse listing of available assignments.

There are pluses and minuses to both small and large companies. Smaller companies will give better customer service, but may not have as many assignment offerings. Larger companies may equal more opportunities, but the left hand often has no idea what the right hand is doing. You will need to stay more on top of things and may encounter problems should something happen on assignment (if you are not satisfied, would they really care if they lost you as a traveler?)

The logical option here is a medium sized company. I am with four companies I would call “medium-sized” and two large companies. I prefer using the medium sized companies as I find their customer service better, but also reach out to the large companies when I am having trouble finding something in the area I want. Stay on file with a few of each and you can even scatter in some smaller ones if you like. Don’t be afraid to have two or three looking for you, but remember to be courteous to your recruiters and let them know when you have taken an assignment with someone else.
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2. Is a home base necessary? Should I get a storage unit or try and find a cheap room in SLC to come back to after assignments.
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A home base is not necessary, but a “tax home” will allow you to deduct expenses while on the road and will prevent you from being taxed on your housing or stipends. I believe I devote a whole chapter to taxes in my book, so there can be a lot of reading up to do on just that single subject. My best advice here is to jump over to http://traveltax.com/html/TaxEdTravelling.html and read through all the FAQ’s on that page. It will give you a ton of info on the tax implications of travel.

If you just want to have a place to call home, that is going to be a personal preference. I have had either a house or condo during most of my years as a traveler.
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3. Stipend for housing or provided housing?
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Provided housing, at least for your first few assignments. I know travelers that will live on the cheap and just rent rooms from people on Craigslist, which sounds like it might very well work for you. However, you must arrange all of this on your own and can be quite a headache when coupled with all the other stresses of an assignment.

Learn the in’s and out’s of travel and then add the hassle of doing it on your own when you’ve mastered the rest. BTW, in over a decade and a half of travel, I have always taken the company provided housing (unless I’m on a local travel assignment).
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4. When to inform my manager about my travel plans and possibly stay on as a PRN Rn on the BTICU
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Depends on how cool your manager and facility are. I worked at a small hospital that kept me active on their payroll so that anytime I was back home, I could just call up, tell them my available days, and work some per diem shifts.

If you dont want to ruffle feathers, you could wait until you’ve secured an assignment or have an offer of a contract.
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5. Chances of me finding a female traveler with the same mindset.
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Not sure…does she need to be good looking too?  You can always join social sites like HealthcareTravelbook.com or any of the travel nursing forums on the net and explore the postings.
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6. Will my brother who is a Tele RN with 3 years experience be able to find assignments and be my travel buddy?
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No reason to think he couldn’t. It’s obviously a little harder to coordinate two travelers, but it’s always nice to have a friend along on your travels.

Otherwise, you seem headed in the right direction. Travel nursing is not exactly a “cash cow” like it was in the past, but you can certainly still find well paying assignments and completion bonuses that would enable you to take time off. If you really want to maximize your bank, you can also take assignments that guarantee 48 or 60 hr work weeks.

If you need any referrals to companies, let me know as I also work with a great group of recruiters at the companies I use and trust.

Hope this helps.

David
travelnursesbible.com

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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 over thirty travel contracts, worked with several different travel agencies, and currently hold about a half dozen nursing licenses in different states. Last year I wrote a book entitled, Travel Nurse’s Bible (A Guide to Everything on Travel Nursing), which can be found at TravelNursesBible.com. I am currently blogging on this site and writing a monthly column in Healthcare Traveler Magazine. I am presently on assignment in Phoenix, AZ and travel anywhere from six to eleven months of the year.

1 Comment on "Ask a Travel Nurse: Questions about Travel Nursing"

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  1. Ren Davis says:

    Hi! With the question of “Chances of me finding a female traveler with the same mindset.” I can tell you there is lots of young female travelers, me inclueded (also from UT) we have groups that we travel wih and usually go by two or three’s.

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