Navigating the World of Travel Nursing Employment

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Nursing Employment

Many travel nurses utilize Facebook groups and other social media forums to find new jobs. The best part is that fellow travel nurses and reputable staffing agencies typically post the job postings.

Nurses must have all of their compliance-related documentation ready to go. This includes nursing licenses, certifications, and clinical records.

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Job Duties

As a travel nurse, you will temporarily work at various healthcare facilities to help fill staffing gaps. This can be a great opportunity to experience new places, add new skills and knowledge to your resume, and build relationships with other nurses from around the country or world. Travel nurses also have unique benefits, including competitive pay and sometimes sign-on bonuses. In addition to basic benefits like health and dental insurance and 401(k) matching, travel nurses may receive additional perks such as travel and housing reimbursements.

One of the main responsibilities of a travel nurse is to communicate with patients and other healthcare professionals, provide advice and education, administer medications and vaccinations, track patient progress, and assist in operating medical equipment. In addition, you will be responsible for creating and contributing to medical records and tracking inventory and supplies. You must have strong interpersonal communication and analytical skills, a calm demeanor, and patient empathy.

Many travel nurses choose to travel with a friend or partner, which can help cut costs by sharing living expenses and transportation. They can even select assignments near their home state to avoid expensive airfare and lodging. However, you must obtain a multi-state license for each workplace to practice nursing.

Salary

In travel nursing employment, nurses are paid higher salaries than staff nurses, with additional compensation for housing and travel expenses. Many travel nursing agencies also offer 401(k) options, other retirement benefits, life insurance, and free continuing education.

Pay rates vary by location, with the highest wages typically in warmer and sunnier states. Nurses with specialty certifications in cardiac catheterization or oncology can earn more competitive wages, too. In addition, some travel nurse agencies provide bonuses for taking assignments in less-desirable locations or working on a rapid-response basis.

Travel nurses must weigh their priorities and decide why they want to pursue this career. Some travel nurses are interested in meeting new people and experiencing different cultures. In contrast, others seek to earn extra income to pay off student loans, save for a house, or build a bank account.

One downside of travel nursing is being far from family and friends. Travel nurses tend to spend a few months or less on each assignment, so building deep friendships with the same group of people can take a lot of work. Additionally, it can be challenging to maintain a relationship with spouses or children who may have different desires to travel. However, there are ways to minimize this obstacle, such as choosing a contract close to home or opting for longer-term travel nursing positions that allow time to establish roots in a community.

Contracts

Many travel nurses enjoy high flexibility and freedom in their assignments. For example, they can take a contract that spans the holidays or allows them to experience a different climate. The ability to adapt to new environments is an important skill for travel nurses to have.

When a nurse is ready to start their assignment, they can connect with an experienced recruiter who will be involved in the credentialing and onboarding. This recruiter can also assist with setting up payroll and benefits behind the scenes. Travel nurses are eligible for health, dental, and vision coverage and savings options like 401K or 403b.

Once the nurse is matched with a hospital and they have agreed on the terms of their contract, the staffing agency will send a supplement to the hospital that outlines the specifics of the contract. This is commonly referred to as a “marketing contract.”

Travel nurses need to set up what is known as a tax home, which decreases their overall tax liability. Having a tax professional to help with this is beneficial. Some states have additional requirements to be considered a tax home, including minimum income thresholds. It’s important for all travelers to research these requirements before accepting an assignment.

Housing

Travel nursing assignments can be exciting, but they can also be challenging for new travelers. One of the biggest challenges is finding housing in each destination city, where costs can vary greatly. Luckily, there are options available for both new and experienced travel nurses to find housing. Some travel nurse agencies provide furnished housing for their nurses, while others offer a housing stipend, which allows the nurses to source their accommodations. Many seasoned travel nurses prefer this option because it gives them more control over their living situation and saves money.

For those seeking out their housing, various online resources can help with the search. Many of these sites have properties specifically prepped for travel nurses, including a kitchen where travelers can cook their meals to save on food expenses, pet-friendly rentals, and month-to-month leases. It is always wise to read the fine print, though, as some rental sites charge additional fees above rent, such as cleaning, booking, and guest fees.

New travel nursing jobs are posted daily nationwide, and contracts can be as short as 13 weeks. This means that new travel nurses can explore a variety of locations and find the perfect place to call home for their next assignment.