Travel Nurse Frustrations and How to Deal with Them - The Gypsy Nurse


By The Gypsy Nurse Staff

June 12, 2019



What Do You Find Frustrating About Travel Nursing?

travel nurse frustrations
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We hear a lot about the fun side of travel nursing but what Frustrates travel nurses? We asked our travel nurse network group what they find frustrating about travel nursing and here is what they had to say.

Travel Nurse Frustrations

We were able to break down some of the more common issues into 4 categories. In addition to listing the common travel nurse frustrations, we’ve listed some of the ways that you can ease these frustrations.

Travel Nurse Frustrations: On-boarding Issues

travel nurse frustrations
Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash
  • Dealing with unreliable and incompetent Credential Analysts
  • On boarding process. Items that the traveler has to complete for each new contract. The ppd, drug test, check list, computer training.
  • Doing the same modules every. Single. Assignment.

Unfortunately, the on boarding process is a huge travel nurse frustration and is as varied as the number of hospitals that use travelers. Each individual hospital has it’s own requirements and no matter how prepared the traveler, there will always be on boarding issues. There are a few things that the traveler can do to make this process a bit better. Making sure that you have an updated travel nurse portfolio is the first and most important thing you can do to ease the on boarding. There will still be modules, computer training, drug tests, and checklists for each individual hospital but perhaps you can avoid that PPD.

When on boarding for a new agency or a new contract, understand that some of those last-minute issues aren’t actually coming from an ‘incompetent’ credentialing person – but from the hospital itself. Many times, the person doing the credentialing doesn’t get last minute information until they are passing it onto you.

Travel Nurse Frustrations: On The Job Issues

  • Being treated like a new nurse and underestimating experience.
  • Being treated like you should know how every facility works, where things are located, charting systems, and all of the hospital policies while simultaneously being treated like a moron.
  • No cubby, locker, email account, access to the paging system, or Istat/glucometer login access.
  • House wide orientation
  • Not being able to make change in the hospital you’re working at when their protocols or “ways of doing things” aren’t best practice.

Tips for on the job Issues

Someday, maybe hospitals will understand these issues. As a travel nurse all we can do is attempt to educate each new facility on how important these items are. A large part of being able to educate is to build trust between you (the traveler) and the hospital. Effective communication is the key here.

When hitting the floor (hopefully for orientation), talk to your preceptor and provide them a brief overview of your experience and what items you need help with: where are supplies, how do you contact physicians, basic day to day policies, etc.

What items are necessary for you to actually take care of patients? It’s not unreasonable for the traveler to insist on having these items BEFORE accepting patient care. It’s illegal to chart under someone else’s login. Patient safety requires that at a minimum nurses have access to the patients chart, medications, etc.

Do you have suggestions on how the hospital can improve? Ask for an exit interview. If you are able to arrange an exit interview – go prepared! Make sure that your approach is one of process improvement and safe patient care; not simply complaining about what you feel is ‘wrong’ with the current processes.

Contract and Pay Issues

tavel nurse frustrations
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  • 3rd party vendors (VMS/MSP) lower the pay rate.
  • Contracts are only one sided. No protections for the traveler.
  • Getting canceled and not getting paid.
  • Worrying constantly about getting sick and getting losing pay as well as penalties.
  • Pay rate for the hours of 37 to 40

Tips for Contract and Pay Issues

The first step in dealing with contract and pay issues for the travel nurse is to understand all of the aspects of your travel nurse contract. Additionally, it’s important to make sure that everything is detailed in your contract. Do you know what your pay is for hours 37-40? What are the penalties for missed shifts (sick days) and can you make them up? Does the agency/hospital have to give you any notice for termination? Is your contract going through a VMS/MSP? Knowledge is KEY! Asking these questions and making sure that all necessary items are covered in your contract are your responsibility as a travel nurse.

Other / Misc Issues

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