Travel Nurse Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Find the travel nurse answers you are seeking from the industry expert the Gypsy Nurse.
What do I need to know to be a travel nurse?
What does it take to be a successful travel nurse?
Flexibility, positive outlook, adventure. Travel nurses should have excellent clinical skills and be able to adapt to new settings quickly. Check out these tips from other Travelers.
What kinds of Facilities can I work at?
A wide range of healthcare facilities use travel nurses, from prestigious teaching facilities to small community Hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, clinics and much more. You can search jobs by keyword/specialty/etc. here.
How will several travel jobs look on my résumé?
Most hiring Staff are familiar with the travel industry and will see this as positive experience on your résumé. Working as a travel nurse proves your dedication to your profession and your ability to adapt quickly.
What type of orientation will I receive?
A 1-3 day orientation is the average for an assignment. The expectation is that a travel nurse is experienced and ready. Ask A Travel Nurse: Travel Nurse Orientation
How do I obtain licensing for assignments?
Travel companies will provide you with information you need to obtain the required license for your assigned state. Each state has its own rules and regulations, so The Gypsy Nurse recommends that you contact the state board of nursing directly. This is a cheat-sheet for licensing time-frames to use as a reference: State by State RN Licensing Time-Frame Guide. Here are some additional licensing resources: Licensing.
How to choose a travel company and get started?
What is the typical assignment length?
Typical travel nurse contracts are 13 weeks. Assignments can range anywhere from 4 weeks to up to a year. A Contract Extension is also possible, which many travelers choose if they enjoy the hospital and location. The thing to remember is that you – the traveler – are in control.
Do I have to sign a long-term contract?
No, You will sign a new contract for each assignment. Find out more about contracts here by reading through these articles.
What is a full-time schedule for a travel nurse?
A travel nurse generally works just as a full time staff member just for a limited term. A 36-40 hour work week is considered full time for travelers. Most travel contracts will guarantee a minimum weekly payment for a full-time schedule.
Where are travel nursing jobs available?
Travel assignments are available in every state. Job availability is dependent on several factors (1) Specialty (2) Flexibility (3) Hospital Need. Knowing where and when you are willing to go is key to finding a compatible contract.
Can I bring family and/or Pet with me on assignment?
Yes, You may have to pay additional for an extra bedroom if you need more than one and a Pet deposit. Most Companies provide a one bedroom or a studio apartment. There are many nurses that travel with a spouse, friend or pet.
When can I start my first travel nurse job?
When Do you want to start? It’s possible to start a contract in as little as 1 week after submission. Be prepared by knowing when and where you want to travel.
If I enjoy a particular assignment facility, can I continue to work there after the initial assignment is complete?
Yes. Many travelers extend an assignment. If you are considering going full-time with a hospital, check with your recruiter/company to see if there are any non-compete clauses.
Benefits and pay
How much do travel nurses earn?
Pay rate will depend on the facility, location and specialty, but the rates are generally higher than for equally experienced permanent staff. Additionally, it’s important to note that travelers do not typically receive any shift differentials or paid time off. Time and half (overtime) or double time (holidays) should be written into the contract. Read more about travel pay HERE.
Will I receive travel pay, bonuses, healthcare benefits, 401k?
Agency recruiters are the best resource to learn about benefits offered and if there is any effect on the payment package if benefits are selected. Travelers are generally reimbursed up to a certain maximum. Every staffing agency has different benefits available. Understanding the bill rate and how it effects your pay is very important. Some agencies offer 401K to their travelers.
Will I receive continuing education?
Some companies offer free, CE courses to travelers who are on assignment, ask your recruiter. Ongoing certifications are generally the responsibility of the Traveler.
What do I need to make sure is in my contract?
What do I need to make sure is in my contract? Whatever your needs are, i.e. guaranteed hours and time off and pay. It’s important to remember that items that are agreed upon verbally must also be reflected in the final written contract.
Will my company pay for housing?
You will generally have two options for housing. (1) Agency provided Housing (2) Housing stipend to secure your own housing.
Legal and Mail
What should I do about my mail?
There are multiple options on how to manage your mail when traveling. Find a process that works best for you. Some options include:
- Forwarding your mail with the postal service each time you move to a new travel nurse job
- Maintain a permanent address at a friend’s or family member’s house and have your mail forwarded to you on a regular basis.
- Rent a private post office box and arrange forwarding on a predefined basis.
There are many options when dealing with your mail.
What about my banking?
Travel companies provide direct deposit, which allows you to use your current bank, and many banks offer online services as well. Read over these TIPS for managing your banking while traveling.
Taxes and Tax Home
This is wide subject as each Nurse has different issues. You might like our Top Tax Questions and I recommend that you first understand the Tax Home and consult a tax expert for specific tax related advice. There are a multitude of tax-related articles that you can browse through on the site.
Support and Community
If you are looking for a community, join one (or more) of our many Travel Nurse Groups for even more support and resources!
Our Travel Nurse Guide will help you become a savvy and well-prepared travel nurse in a user-friendly, step-by-step process. If you follow these steps it will prepare you for success in your travel nursing career. It’s recommend that you complete the Travel Nurse Guide in the order in which it’s presented.
Is there a question that we’ve missed? Feel free to contact us or post in the comments.
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