What You Need To Know When Looking for a Travel Nurse Assignment
Now, I am not a travel nurse veteran, but after completing my first travel assignment, I was able to catch a few tips for the future. When I first started getting interested in travel nursing, I was only learning about it from fellow travel nurses that were contracted at my then full-time position in Chicago. I’ve met so many travel nurses, that I was able to ask around about different agencies, pay packages, recruiters, and etc. There is also a great travel nurse group on Facebook called The Gypsy Nurse.
FIRST…WHERE do you want to go?
“…remember to give yourself time to get your license.”
I’ve actually had my RN license in California for two years before I finally pulled the trigger and did something with it. “They” say that California is a really hard state to get your license because of all of the paper work and processing time it actually takes to retrieve your license. I would say mine took about 3 months from the time that I submitted it to get mine, but I’ve heard from other people that it took a year. So remember to give yourself time to get your license before you start applying and reaching out to recruiters because you obviously want to make sure you have this vital certification.
SECOND… Find a recruiter.
Now, I found my recruiters through word of mouth via the travel nurses that I worked with at my full time position. The verification process took the longest with the recruiters. First you reach out to a recruiter and they make you fill out a skills check list and have you provide references. I would advise to start out with one or two recruiters so that your not overwhelmed with keeping things in line. You’ll also want to let your recruiter know if you want to take the lodging stipend or have the agency find you lodging.
THIRD… The submission process.
Your recruiter will send you options as to what facilities are in need for nurses. If you find something, ASK to see the pay package before telling your recruiter to submit your profile. Also, when submitting your profile, make sure that your not double dipping — meaning if you have two recruiters who offered you the same position at the same hospital, MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT DOUBLE SUBMIT YOURSELF for that position and hospital. Hospitals DO NOT LIKE THIS and will automatically disregard your profile. If this does occur, ask both your recruiters about their pay package and who has the better offer. ALSO — don’t be afraid to negotiate. I will talk about this more in the next few steps.
FOURTH… The pay package
When you receive the pay package from your recruiter, you will see a few things. You’ll see your base pay rate, overtime pay rate (maybe), and reimbursements (travel, maybe meals, and housing). Normally the reimbursements are non-taxable. Do your research and make sure that your receiving what you deserve, it is easy to get low balled if you’re not careful. When you believe you found the right assignment, tell your recruiter to submit that sucker!
FIFTH… The Interview, the Offer, and The contract
The interview is pretty standard. Be charismatic and show off your skills. When you do get the offer — your recruiter will process the contract and send it over. Look through this THOROUGHLY. See if they will reimburse you for your license, travel costs, sometimes scrubs will be reimbursed, and vaccinations that need to be updated. Look at what hours your working, when your getting paid, how many hours need to be completed, if your lodging reimbursement gets prorated if you get cancelled or do not fulfill your hours for the week. Remember, you do not get PTO, so whatever hours you do not work, you wont get paid for.
SIXTH… Completing your credentials
Once you have agreed on the contract and signed, you will need to complete the credentials needed for the facility. Normally, the facility is looking for updated vaccinations, drug testing, and possibly any facility modules that need to be completed.
SEVENTH… Pack your bags!
I’ll definitely be doing another post about packing, but just for now make sure you pack your essential clothes, scrubs, work shoes and any other shoes. I also made sure to pack linen!