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By October 17, 2012 5 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: Can you recommend good travel nurse companies?


nurse asking a question about travel nursing companiesAsk a Travel Nurse Question:

Hi. I  have recently decided that I want to try travel nursing for a bit. I have tons of questions after spending a fair amount of time reading about it online. I can ask a recruiter most of them, however, I don’t even know how to begin to chose companies to explore. I wonder if working for a larger company will give me a better range of assignments although, I am really only interested in working in larger cities anyway which should help. I have been a nurse for 16 years so I am certainly not green, but as a new traveler I’m sure I’d feel very vulnerable. Money is important but having a helpful and truly kind recruiter I feel would be extremely important to me and I will be travelling with 2 dogs.I’m sure that you can’t endorse a specific company but I feel I really need some guidance. Anything you can offer would be a huge help.

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

Actually, I can offer some specific help. I do have a group of recruiters to whom I refer new travelers. These people are either recruitment managers, my own recruiters, or people I have discovered after calling a highly recommended company. They are comfortable working with those nurses just starting out and taking the time to discuss the issues and questions had by many new travelers.

I have either traveled with these companies, or have heard enough good things in my travels to recommend them. I also frequent the travel forums and message boards to see what others are saying about these companies. I also take into account the many emails I receive from people having issues with specific companies while out on the road; I hear quite a bit on how the various companies treat their travelers.

Finally, I do ask that if I give you these names that you will offer some feedback about your experiences with these companies and recruiters. It only helps me maintain the integrity of this list. However, since many of these contacts are direct lines that bypass the company switchboard (where most new travelers are directed), I prefer not to post these on a public message board and  ask that you send me an email at my personal address,

I have mostly small to medium sized company contacts (since these are the companies that give the most personalized attention…something helpful to new travelers), but do also have contacts at the “giants” (as I call them), because I do recommend staying on file with a large sized company should you ever have difficulty finding an assignment in a specific location with a smaller company. Small does not always mean less option, just as big does not always mean less service. Just different beasts with which to deal.

Email me and I’ll help you get started.


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.

5 Comments on "Ask a Travel Nurse: Can you recommend good travel nurse companies?"

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  1. Meagan


    I am currently also looking into travel nursing. However I am extremely interested in international travel nursing. I currently work as an RN in Arizona, having experience in both Acute Home Health Setting and Neuro Med/Surg at a trauma 1 facility. I was wondering if you have any tips as to what companies are the best and what to watch out for. I’m just starting from scratch on this, but I need to switch it up and I do not have a family or obligations at the moment that would hold me back from this amazing opportunity. So please let me know.

    Thank you so much!

  2. David says:

    Hey Meagan. I am not certain whether you were seeking international companies, or companies here in the U.S.

    My contacts will get you started in travel (state-side), but as for international, probably the largest, or most well known agency is O’Grady-Peyton.

    But starting here in the U.S. would be my recommendation for beginning your career (find out what it’s like first, then dive in head first).

    If you email me at I can give you some leads at the travel companies I use and trust.

    I prefer to arrange contacts with great recruiters at the companies I use because even if you are with the best agency out there, how good an experience do you think you might have if they pair you with a recruiter just weeks out of training?

    Since these are either my own recruiters or relationships I have cultivated after much research, I prefer not to post that info in such a public setting. But again, I’d be happy to get you in contact with these people if you email me privately.

    Email me at the aforementioned address and I’ll help get you started.


  3. Nancy says:

    Hello Morgan,

    David is right about finding the best company and recruiter. The only way you will find them is to search via internet or calling them directly to talk and get a feel how their work ethics are. I pride myself on providing the best customer service and ensuring you get the job you want with the right pay. RN Temps pays your travel to and from the assignment and a monthly housing allowance. We also can provide health insurance if you need it. Take time to visit our website at and take a look for yourself. I wish you the best of luck in your future career as a travel nurse.

  4. Barbara


    Hi there,
    I am new to travel nursing and after talking with one recruiter feel as if its a seedy industry at best. I contacted a smaller agency that also provides you with a car for your time on contract so you can have transportation however when we started to talk about pay she rapidly glazed over it. I was told that the taxable wage I would receive was $12.25/hour ( my jaw dropped) and that the nontaxable amount was basically $80.00 a day based on a 40 hour week of which I was only gauranteed 30 of as the hospital can flex the hours down to that. Now I was confused and am thinking that makes my hourly pay about $22.00/ hour which is far less then I make now? When I emailed her to request she explain it a bit better I received no response? How do you find or is there any reputable companies out there? And is my experience the norm?

  5. Jeannie says:

    Hi Barbara, David was trying to post a comment, but was unable. Here is his response to your questions:

    Hello Barbara. I would hope that you not judge the profession of travel nursing by a conversation with one person. If I have assumed wrong and you have spoken with multiple recruiters and received the same message, then you are simply not connecting with the right people. I hope to change that.

    You are interested in a wonderful aspect of nursing, but as in any industry, there are companies that shine and companies that are to be avoided at all costs.

    Additionally, I do not believe there should be any nurses still traveling today that are not on file with multiple companies (signing up with a company and completing enough of their process to be enabled to take an assignment with them). After a decade and a half, I am still on file with six or seven companies to suit my various travel needs. So even once you are paired with several good companies, I still don’t advise placing all your eggs in one basket…..note the timely Easter reference 🙂

    What we need to do is get you in contact with some of the people and companies that shine. I, and many others, could not continue to work happily in a profession that was “seedy”, but there are things that you do need to know in order to navigate successfully.

    First, while I do offer to refer any nurses to the recruiters I use for my travel needs, I always encourage that you check out a company thoroughly to assess if they are the right company for you. Allocation is a KEY factor in any company and every company allocates the money they are paid for your contract differently. Some companies will put more money toward better housing, some will offer better healthcare benefits, and some will pay a higher hourly rate. Which company you choose depends on your priorities. NO company out there will have the best wages, healthcare, and housing. If there was such a company, no one would travel with anyone else.

    Let’s review some of the things you went over when you talked with the recruiter:

    I try to steer people away from taking the option of letting a travel company find you transportation while on assignment. I also encourage nurses (if they think they are going into travel for the long haul), to purchase a reliable auto and consider driving to their assignment destination. This alone can save you thousands a year and possibly tens of thousands in my case with as long as I have been doing this.

    The company can pay whatever rate the rental car company charges and then pass that cost along to you by earning you a lower hourly rate. What if you don’t need a car every day? Are you in a city where there is a good mass transit system? A you in a large city where Zipcar ( is available? (a service that lets you rent a car by the hour)

    As far as your hourly rate, you do have to be careful as many companies now push their “tax advantage plans” which utilizes the deduction you get if you are traveling and have a tax home (not ALL travelers will qualify to take this deduction). To get into all the tax implications of travel nursing, it’s easier to just have you read the best resource I know of for traveling healthcare professionals (

    You also have to consider the area and specialty in which you are traveling. Some areas of the country pay less than you are probably making now. Even some states, like California, vary depending on the location you travel (Southern Cali paying less than Northern Cali). You have to ask yourself, “Is it worth it?” Sure you might take a $2-$3 an hour pay cut, but would that be worth it to you if it meant sitting on a beach in Hawaii all winter?

    You must first figure out if this is an aspect of nursing you want to pursue. Read up a bit more on what others have to say about the profession and learn more about travel in general. Some good travel nurse forums can be found at 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 with over half a million members).

    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 that information.

    You can subscribe to Healthcare Traveler Magazine for free on their website
    as well as read back issues. You can also join Healthcare Travelbook (, which is a sort of Facebook style place for travelers, which also has a forum.

    After that, if you do want to pursue things further, feel free to email me ( and I will put you in contact with the people I use and trust for my travel needs. Once you sign up with a company, that is only saying that you are looking into the possibility of taking an assignment with them. If you find the travel pay rates too low for your situation, you do not have to accept any contracts; nothing lost in exploring though.

    I hope this helps and feel free to contact me with any questions you might have after exploring some of the forums and travel communities a little more.


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