RN Beginner’s Guide To Travel Nursing

RN Beginner’s Guide To Travel Nursing

Travel nursing is growing in popularity, both on the side of nurses and employers. This type of job opportunity basically means that a nurse is hired out for a short contracted term to a medical facility in need of nurses. In most cases you’re required to have an ADN, ASN or BSN degree in addition to an RN license and at least 1-year of work experience to be hired as a travel RN.

Because there has long been a shortage of nurses, many health care centers have tried to come up with creative solutions. Hiring traveling nurses was one of the answers. And as the need has grown for traveling nurses, agencies have been created that specialize in placing nurses into the hospitals and centers that are in need of nurses.

Now here are some of the benefits of becoming a traveling nurse:

You do get a good paycheck. Often you are paid above what a salaried nurse in the same position would make because there is an increased need for your specific skills. You usually are also provided housing and travel expenses. It costs money to relocate and/or commute! Most often you receive licensing assistance and payroll services as well. Different states require different licensures and if the need is present, medical centers will pay what is necessary to stay open.

The downside to this is that it is not a salary and the employment is a fixed period of time. You also may not receive other types of benefits such as retirement and family health benefits. Another downside is if you do have a family. Depending on the commute or the actual relocation, this can be a tough decision for working moms.

However, if you are single, or already live in a metropolitan area, you may be able to find the employment you need right in your own city.

The best way to get your foot in the door, so to speak, is to join a travel nurses association such as ATHNA. Made up of members of the medical profession, they are a union of healthcare professions that protect the interests of traveling nurses and help you find employment.

There are a number of traveling nurse agencies that will also aid in finding placement, negotiate pay, and maybe even have openings lined up once one contracted job has ended.

Travel Nurse Salary and Compensation

Travel nurse salary usually is based off of a base rate for a registered nurse. There are a variety of factors that will influence this base rate including your experience, the location of the assignment, and the specialty. However, the pay rate is usually very good and you can expect anywhere between $20 and $45 per hour as a base rate. If you add to that night shift differentials, that pay per hour will increase.

This is a nice traveling nurse salary and can be even better when medical centers also pass on a bonus to you for completing an assignment. For example, after you work a 13 week assignment you could receive anywhere between $500 and $6000.

And yet another bonus that will add to your traveling nurse salary is that many of these agencies offer a bonus for you to refer your nursing friends. Once they complete an assignment you can earn a bonus of anywhere between $300 and $600.

There are perks to becoming a traveling nurse for sure! It can be a rewarding experience. Another thing to take into consideration is that if you have a job that you love and then get justly compensated for it, it makes it much more rewarding.

A few other things that you may or may not consider part of your compensation as a travel nurse, but cannot be dismissed is the travel reimbursement, housing subsidies, and guaranteed pay programs. Furthermore, most offer competitive 401K retirement plans and free medical coverage.

You should receive travel reimbursement or subsidy to get to the location you will work at. Most traveling nurse agencies either provide housing or give housing cash towards rent. And then yet another benefit is the guaranteed pay program. This ensures that if your shifts are cancelled, then you can still get a paycheck.

A traveling nurse salary is not too shabby when you add all the benefits up. If you are good at budgeting yearly expenses, you could rack up some major retirement funds.

What to look for in a travel nurse staffing agency

When you are looking for the best travel nurse staffing company, you not only need a solid cover letter and resume and to be ready for an interview, but it is important look and see what each company has to offer. What kind of benefits are the nursing agencies providing and what type of assignments they have available are just a couple of questions.

Here are a few things that make travel nurse staffing agencies competitive and questions you should be asking them:

  1. They usually will provide free housing. If they do not, then they should provide a cash subsidy for living arrangements while you are on assignment.
  2. They should pay top salary and even give generous sign on bonuses. As a travel nurse, staffing agencies need you to fill medical center deficiencies. To do this, you should receive top dollar for your services.
  3. Health insurance: check out what the agencies will provide, but it should be free or very low cost and low deductible.
  4. You should receive travel reimbursement as well. You may be going across state, or across the nations anywhere from 4 weeks to 18+ months; this costs money and the agencies should cover or subsidize these costs.
  5. You should have a selection of assignments that fit your experience and background and you should also have a selection of areas to work in, say Colorado, California, or Texas.
  6. And one last thing you need to make sure and ask about is how much individual attention you are given. If you have a problem who will you work with?

There are numerous places to apply with, and agencies want you to apply, but make sure you that you are signing with a reputable travel nurse staffing company that will provide you with the benefits that you are looking for.

Top Travel Nursing Agencies in the United States

As one of the most rewarding jobs available in the medical field today, this job combines two amazing work opportunities: healthcare and travel. Many people with a passion for traveling rarely have the opportunity to indulge in the globe-trotting they so desperately desire, mostly because their jobs keep them shackled in one place. Travel nursing allows people to travel to their hearts’ content whilst still maintaining a decent career.

The following is a list of top travel nursing agencies in the United States according to geographic region:


Travel Nurse Across America
Physical Location: 5020 Northshore Dr, Suite 2, North Little Rock, AR 72118
Telephone Number: 800-240-2526
Website URL: http://www.nurse.tv

Physical Location: 600 N. West Shore Blvd., 6th Floor, Tampa, FL 33609-1137
Telephone Number: 888-800-1855
Website URL: http://www.travmax.com

Suwannee Medical Personnel
Physical Location: 275 West Main Street , Lake Butler, FL 32054
Telephone Number: 877-496-3034
Website URL: http://www.suwanneemedical.com


The Surgical Staff Incorporated
Physical Location: Midwest Nationwide/East 3974 Brown Park Drive, Hilliard, OH 43026
Telephone Number: 800-996-0577
Website URL: http://surgicalstaffinc.net

Physical Location: 6279 Tri-Ridge Blvd Suite 110, Loveland, OH 45140
Telephone Number: (513) 774-7300
Website URL: http://www.talemed.com


Nurses 24/7
Physical Location: 585 Stewart Ave, Suite 505, Garden City, NY 11530
Telephone Number: 1-877-692-4769
Website URL: http://www.nursesapply.com/nurses247/247Web/default.asp

Nurse Choice
Physical Location: 12400 High Bluff Drive, San Diego, CA 92130
Telephone Number: (866) 557-6050
Website URL: http://nursechoice.com/

Response 1 Medical Staffing
Physical Location: 1101 Investment Boulevard, Suite 140, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762
Telephone Number: 800.670.9338
Website URL: http://www.response1.com

Valley Medical Staffing
Physical Location: 3685 Mt. Diablo Blvd, Suite 351, CA 94549
Telephone Number: 925-297-6200
Website URL: http://valleymedicalstaffing.com

It’s important to keep in mind that although you may be picky about the place you are going to be employed by, travel nursing agencies are also going to be picky and choosy because they want to protect their reputation as well.