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By April 23, 2014 4 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: Will a hospital coordinate schedules for nurses traveling in pairs?

Ask a Travel Nurse: Will a hospital coordinate schedules for nurses traveling in pairs?

Ask a Travel Nurse: Will a hospital coordinate schedules for nurses traveling in pairs?

Ask a Travel Nurse Question:

We are a husb and and wife nurse team looking forward to starting our travel nursing careers upon the graduation of our second nurse daughter. One of us is ER and the other is Med Surg. My biggest concern is: Will the hospital will be willing to coordinate our schedules — at least for the most part — so we will be able to enjoy our time off together exploring the area?

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

Your first question in the pre-employment interview would have to be about self-scheduling. Simply explain your situation to the nurse manager and see what they say. In my experience, most hospitals will try to work with you on scheduling options such as shifts off, working your “3 in a row,” etc. Most will also allow a certain number of requested shifts off per month if you have a big day trip you are planning. But ask about ALL of this in the interview before signing your contract.

I have actually spoken to unit managers, that when asked about scheduling, have said, “We’re hiring you to fill our need. We will schedule you when we need to.” I told her, “No, actually you won’t,” and gently placed the phone down. If you ask enough questions about scheduling, or even just one broad question like, “How do you h and le schedule requests?” and get any negative tone, you might very well have your answer right there. Feel them out on the subject and then trust your judgment.

When your recruiter finds you an assignment, you can also ask them if they have any other travelers in the company who are at that facility and if it would be permissible for you to speak with or email them. Ask your recruiter too, if they have had any feedback on the facility.

Finally, if you want to put your super spy powers to use, call the actual unit on which you will work. Ask to speak with the person who actually does the schedule for your shift or even just a cool nurse that will give you five minutes of their day to let you know how smoothly the scheduling works in their unit … hint: all the “cool” nurses work on nights 😉

Remember to also ask about which weekend will be your “on” weekend and make sure you coordinate that with your spouse.

Hope you enjoy your travels and if you require any assistance with finding some great recruiters to work with, feel free to send me an email at

Hope this helps.


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.

4 Comments on "Ask a Travel Nurse: Will a hospital coordinate schedules for nurses traveling in pairs?"

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  1. Liz


    I am an experienced OR nurse of 40 years, (do the math), working in the same level 2 trauma center the entire time. I would like to travel until I retire, 3-4 years. I am looking for the Los Angeles area as my daughter lives there. I am from the east coast. Along with all the questions and trepidation I have, I am seriously motivated. Does anyone have any suggestions or input? all or any would be greatly appreciated. Liz

  2. David says:

    Hey Liz. I can certainly offer you some input on starting out.

    I do not know where you are starting as far as a knowledge base on travel nursing. If you are starting from scratch, I might recommend my book, the Travel Nurse’s Bible.

    I’ve been working on a rewrite for some time now, but had a really chaotic year. With all the requests for the book, I decided to make the 2009 edition available online in the Amazon Kindle store.

    While it is a few years old, during the reworking of the book, I was surprised to see how much of the book, has stood the test of time. Plus, I’ve made it available for less than the price of your next meal at McDonalds. It’s a great place to start even if you do have some knowledge about the travel industry.

    If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download free programs or apps to read it from any computer, tablet, or smartphone. You can find it here:

    Some great websites, other than here at, are,, and the Delphi forum for traveling professionals (go to, look for the box on the right that says “Explore existing forums”, type in “travel nursing” and the top result is a group called Travel Nurses and Therapists).

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

    Healthcare Traveler Magazine is presently moving 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.

    And finally, when you are ready to start out, I can offer you some help in getting set up with some great people in the industry as I do offer to refer nurses to the people that I use and trust for my own personal travels.

    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) to

    I’ll pass along your info and after I do this, I’ll 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 ALWAYS advise travelers to be on file with at least a handful of companies (after a decade and a half, 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).

    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.

    Another way to gauge a travel company can be by the amount of time they have been in business (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.

    I hope this info helps and if you have any other questions, I’m easiest to reach at But I am still a working traveler who corresponds with a lot of nurses on a daily basis, so please understand if it takes me a little time to respond.


  3. Dave


    Why is it that anytime you want information on something, someone wants money for it? Disgusting.
    Be very careful about any travel company you deal with. They are like Used Car dealers and will tell you anything to get you to do the assignment.
    Most travel companies are deceitful and usually waste your time with paperwork for assignments that all of a sudden”disappear”. Having traveled for several years, i would Never do it again.
    You wind up spending your money instead of making money.
    I can give you a list of the ones that LIE and tell you the most stories about jobs that don’t exist.
    My credentials are ER and ICU with over 20 years in both in teaching hospitals before I started traveling.

  4. David says:

    Hey Dave. I’m sorry that you had such a bad experience with travel nursing, but I’m on the flip-side whereas I’ve been afforded many wonderful opportunities that I would not have, were it not for travel nursing.

    As for wanting “money” from people for information, you could probably find all the information in my book online with many countless hours spent in research. While I devoted a year of my life to putting 18 years of travel experience in a book that puts it all in one place and has helped many nurses start their travel career. Should I not receive any compensation for those countless hours and the time I have put into my writings here and on other travel sites?

    Plus, travel companies are not the entities that are lying to you…it is the recruiters. That is why I offer to set anyone up with the recruiters I use and trust with my travels. I travel with one of the most vilified companies out there. Why would I do so with close to two decades of experience? Because I understand how important the travel recruiter is in the equation and while I work with a travel company that has one of the worst reputations out there, my contacts within that company are two really great travel professionals.

    Had you spent more time in the forums speaking with other travelers, and had you gotten paired with some great recruiters in the business, and who knows, had you invested the $5 I’m currently selling my book for (and yes, I’m now a billionaire bilking nurses out of $5 at a time), maybe you would not have had the experience you did.


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