How to Get the Most Out of Travel Nursing
From my personal experience and from chatting with my colleagues, I think there is a general consensus amongst nurses that getting a job isn’t particularly challenging these days, considering there is a need for qualified, experienced nurses all over the country.
As of late, the demand for travel nurses remains high which makes it easier to get in the game, but you must be prepared when things cool down. Learning how to negotiate your salary, make yourself an appealing candidate and how to get the best jobs are valuable skillsets.
Negotiate Your Salary
A travel nurse’s salary is broken down into three parts and understanding which parts are negotiable will give you a leg up.
Tax Free Reimbursements: Tax free reimbursement for your travel/meals and incidentals is pre-determined by the government and based on the city you are traveling to. Unless you are a superstar negotiator or a lawmaker, this my friends is non-negotiable. To see what your tax free reimbursements are for each city you can visit gsa.gov.
Hourly Base Pay: Your hourly base pay also tends to be non-negotiable because your travel nursing agency has contracts with several facilities where the base pay for travelers has already been set.
Benefits/Bonuses: Opportunities for negotiation can come into play when you extend your contract, with travel reimbursement and possibly with other benefits. If a facility asks you to extend your contract, you may ask for an extension bonus and an hourly pay raise.
If you extend, you save your travel agency and the hospital money because they do not have to orient you. Also, most companies offer health insurance coverage as part of their benefits package. If you opt out of taking an agency’s health insurance and get your own, they may give you an additional bonus with each of your contracts.
Land that Dream Assignment
Whether making money or seeing the country is your intention for traveling, we all want to end up with the most ideal job.
If you are looking to travel to a specific place make sure your recruiter knows where you want to go. The assignment boards on your company’s website may not be up to date so keep a lookout on social media like Facebook and LinkedIn for assignments in destinations that you want to travel to.
Your company might not have a contract in a specific city or hospital you want to work in, which may require you to switch companies. Working with multiple companies is a common practice amongst travelers.
If you’re traveling intention is to make some dough, there are plenty of hospitals in undesirable locations who offer crisis pay for a multitude of reasons. You also have the opportunity to sign contracts that guarantee you four shifts a week. You may not like the location but you will love your paycheck.
Make Yourself Standout
I know nurses are awesome but it doesn’t mean that you will get every job you want just because you are a nurse. No matter what field you are in it is important to remain organized, prepared and competitive.
I believe the best way to make yourself standout in the travel world is with experience and a large skill set. The more years of experience and specialized training you have prior to starting your travel nursing career will make you stand out amongst your peers and open up opportunities for employment.
As a current traveler it is vital that you maintain a good track record and have positive evaluations. Having a variety of assignments, including both large and small, teaching and non-teaching hospitals is important.
In addition to maintaining your skillset, I also recommend that you stay organized. There is a lot of paperwork that goes along with travel nursing and it is up to you to maintain it. If a hot crisis pay job comes along or the destination of your dreams and you don’t have your certs up to date, then guess what, you missed out. Keep yourself organized and up to date. Your recruiter will love you for that.
Enjoy All Parts of Travel Nursing
Most of us aren’t in this career just for the money but receiving adequate pay for your hard work is vital to your job satisfaction. As you take more assignments you will learn that spending time negotiating deals while on the road takes time away from enjoying the real benefits of being a travel nurse; unless of course you are in this just for the money then in that case, more power to ya!