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By November 1, 2018 2 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: How can I financially survive a start date delay?

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Ask a Travel Nurse: How can I financially survive a start date delay?

Ask a Travel Nurse Question:


My start date was just pushed back two weeks and this has messed up my financial situation. Any advice on a company that can get me quick per-diem shifts to supplement these two weeks? I’m in Petaluma, CA and looking for any company that may be able to help this RN out.

Thank you!

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

My first question would be, “Have you asked your recruiter about this?” Some agencies have a large umbrella of staffing companies and may also have local staffing under that umbrella.

If not, local staffing/registry will still likely be your only recourse. It’s not fun having to go in and fill out all that paperwork for what may only amount to a few shifts, but if the financial strain is there, it may be your only option. Plus, should you wish to pick up extra while on assignment, and there is no overtime available at your facility, you can work registry.

I enjoy my free time too much, but do recall one Florida assignment where I signed up with local registry. But I may have only picked up a dozen or so shifts with them for the period I was there.

Most companies have you sign a contract stating that you will only work for them while on assignment, but honestly, if they cannot provide you the work, then you have to take care of what you need.

The only other possibility would be the hospital itself, and seeing if they could use you in a float or per diem capacity. But that may be more difficult than hiring on for local registry.

Sorry that there are not a lot of options, but hopefully the aforementioned will help you bridge that gap until you start your assignment.




Posted in: Ask a Travel Nurse

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.

2 Comments on "Ask a Travel Nurse: How can I financially survive a start date delay?"

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  1. Yvonne


    Can you let me know which agencoes are good to work for and keep you busy? Im a new at traveling. Thank you. If you can please respond as soon as possible.

  2. Hey Yvonne. My apologies in just getting back to you. Direct emails reach me quicker than website posts.

    I do not endorse or recommend “companies” per se, but rather, great people within those companies. I firmly believe that the key to a great travel experience is in having a great recruiter. If you’d like, I’d be happy to help get you connected with some great people in the industry.

    What works best for both my recruiters and I is to have you send me your best contact info (full name, best email and best phone number where they might reach you). I’ll forward your info to my recruiters and then email you the name of the person who will be contacting you, the company for which they work, and a little bio on the company. These people are the ONLY people who will receive any of your information.

    I would also need to know if you have already spoken with any recruiters or even just contacted a company and given them your information. The reason for this is because of the way that I refer nurses to my recruiters and not wanting to submit your name to a company where you are already working with, or have been assigned, a recruiter.

    Presently, there are four companies where I have established great contacts for my own travels. These people have helped me get quite a few new travelers started in their careers. Most are medium sized companies (that give better customer service, but may not have all of the assignments that the “giants” do). However, I also have a really great recruiter at one of…if not, THE, largest travel company out there. This is one instance where having a great recruiter is KEY.

    I ALWAYS advise travelers to be on file with at least a handful of companies (after two decades of travel, I am still on file with six or seven). So many of the nurses join all the companies I refer them to, but usually find a favorite and do most of their traveling with that company. I am no different, but when I want to get to a location and my preferred company does not have any assignments in the area, I can always call two or three others and find what I want.

    It’s also important for new travelers to be on file with multiple companies because some hospitals will even specify, “no first-time travelers”. So obviously, the more companies you are on file with, the more assignment opportunities you will have (not all companies have the same assignment selection).

    Don’t be afraid to have several companies looking for you at once, but be courteous to your recruiters and let them know if you do take an assignment with anyone else (so they do not continue to spend their time seeking an assignment for you).

    I’ll also pass on some sites, of which you may or may not be aware, that are good resources for travel nurses. Some good travel nurse forums can be found at,, and the Delphi forum for traveling professionals (go to, look for the “enter search keywords box in the center, and type “travel nurses”, and the top result is a group called Travel Nurses and Therapists with over 50,000 members).

    Pan Travelers is also another good site with a forum. They have a free section and also a section where there is a charge to access information.

    Healthcare Traveler Magazine is presently entirely online, but can be found at where you can read current or back issues (I’ve written articles for them as well as a monthly column that you can find in past issues). You can also join Healthcare Travelbook (, which is a sort of Facebook style place for travelers, which also has a forum.

    While most travelers start with the companies that I use, if in your travels, you ever hear of another company that interests you, always check them out on the forums and see what other travelers may have to say about them. The amount of time they have been in business can be a consideration (not all “young” companies are bad, just as not all companies that have been in the business awhile will be good). Longevity just says that they have been doing this awhile and should have most of their ducks in a row (and it also means you should be able to find out more about them on the forums).

    Also look and see if they have a Better Business Bureau rating. Not all companies are accredited by the BBB (most might not be) but even if a company is not accredited by the BBB, they may have a rating and you can see if anyone has ever filed a complaint against them.

    Finally, I recommend simply typing the company name into a search browser with the word “complaint” or “review”. This sometimes yields some pretty interesting results.

    So, if you send me your contact info and let me know about any companies with which you have had contact, I’ll be happy to pass along your info and help get you started with some great people in the travel industry 🙂

    I hope this helps.


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