You’ve decided to become a first time travel nurse! Yay! You probably already know the many benefits of travel nursing versus staff nursing, but there’s so much more to learn as you embark on this exciting next chapter of your nursing career. Here at Wanderly we’ve rounded up 5 of our most frequently asked questions and are giving you the answers all in one place.
First Time Travel Nurse FAQ #1: How does a travel nurse agency work?
Due to travel nurse shortages, many healthcare facilities and hospitals lack the amount of nurses they need and often turn to agencies that can help provide short-term solutions without forfeiting quality of care or required expertise. Travel nurse agencies act as brokers between the hiring facility and clinician to ensure optimal placement in the best interest of both parties.
For a first time travel nurse, from desired location and salary to competitive health benefits and support, there are many decisions to make when looking for a travel nurse agency and placement. Luckily, with Wanderly it’s easy to compare and contrast contracts, agencies, locations and salaries all in one place.
First Time Travel Nurse FAQ #2: What type of travel nurse gets paid most?
The pay for first time travel nurses varies depending on a variety of factors: location, healthcare setting, specialty, years of experience, etc. Nurses specializing in the critical care sector, like PICU, CVOR and CVICU, tend to make more money due to the nature and condition of their patients (for more on this, check this out). Continuing education courses, higher education degrees and quick-start assignments are also great options for nurses to earn top pay. Differing locations will offer more or less money, sometimes depending on the cost of living in a given city.
First time travel nurses also want to be on the lookout for any benefits or additional costs in your travel nurse contract. The money is important, but it is best to look at a travel nursing contract value as a package. Look for your hourly rate, housing costs, healthcare benefits and any other out of pocket costs that might be included.
First Time Travel Nurse FAQ #3: How do I navigate travel nurse housing?
Many first time travel nurse agencies offer free housing or free housing placement for their contractors. Even if they do not, there are plenty of resources available, like FurnishedFinder to help you navigate your living situation. These housing partners can offer a move-in ready home, all you have to do is pick a place and move! In the case that your contract does not provide housing, they probably offer a living stipend. Travelers who need to secure their own accommodations while on a travel nursing assignment use these. For more information on housing, check this out!
First Time Travel Nurse FAQ #4: What should I look for in a travel nurse contract?
Though the idea of a legal contract may seem daunting to a first time travel nurse, with just a little bit of know-how on your end you’ll be negotiating like a pro in no time. Most travel nursing contracts are boilerplate, that is, you won’t see a whole lot of difference from one to the other. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look carefully at the details. At the very least, each contract should include: your hourly rate, the length of your contract and basic information about your role and responsibilities.
For more information about the basics of your travel nurse contract, click here. And for information about how to get the most out of your pay on any given travel nursing assignment, check out our tips for negotiating the very best travel nurse pay package.
First Time Travel Nurse FAQ #5: What are some of the most important qualities for a travel nurse?
The skills needed to be a successful first time travel nurse aren’t all that different from staff nursing. You need to be responsible, trustworthy, good with people, persistent and resilient. In addition to those qualities, most travel nurses have excellent clinical and soft skills. Those combined with a desire to travel, an adaptable nature, and penchant for trying new things is the sweet spot.
Being in a new environment is always a little challenging. Try having a willingness to learn and immerse yourself in the culture of the healthcare setting. Flexibility is also a great mindset to have going into any new placement.
First Time Travel Nurse FAQ #6: If I Like a Placement, Can I Stay?
The usual length of a travel nursing contract is 3 months. Contract extensions happen, but are not guaranteed. The length of your contract is dependent on hospital needs, which vary according to season, outside factors and internal operations. But if you’re loving the city you’re in, chances are there’s another travel nurse placement for you close by!
With the Wanderly search tool, you can filter contracts by location – giving you a fresh opportunity in a location that you already know and love.