What to Expect When You’re Expecting To Be a Travel Nurse

Travel Nurse

As a travel nurse, you should never be asked to lower your expectations when it comes to your work preferences (so long as they’re reasonable). Adjust them? Maybe. In this article, we address a few areas of frustration experienced by many travel nurses, and shed light on how shifting expectations can make or break a travel assignment.

Location flexibility

On occasion, you may need to adjust your expectations in terms of location preference. Flexibility in this area makes you more likely to land a job quickly and easily. If you’ve got your sights set on a certain city – that’s great! But it may take longer than you’d like to find the right facility, the right pay and other factors you’re looking for if your search is too narrow. Expanding your horizons might bring along the perfect fit!

Pay & raises

Here’s the good news: the hourly rate for travelers is often well above average. The bad news: travelers don’t get pay raises at the same facility over time. Every assignment has a different pay rate because every facility is different – if you’re jumping from location to location, your rates of pay may very well fluctuate. However, if you return to a facility you’ve worked with before, your pay rate does not get any higher the second time around (or third, or fourth and so on).

Talk to your recruiter before each assignment about your take home pay – when things like housing stipend, taxes and benefits are factored into the equation, you need to know what to expect in your pocket.

Floating expectations

Typically, travelers are the first to float in any hospital. One of the reasons travelers are paid more than staff nurses is because this expectation is placed on them throughout the assignment. Travelers never have to float in an area that’s not in their scope of practice, however, and are limited to their experience. The contract usually states floating expectations, so pay close attention to the details.

The interview

Almost all interviews are done over the phone, and could set the stage for any potential conflict in expectations.  Some facilities want to do them via Skype or FaceTime (wave of the future), but you’ll likely depend on your voice to land your next assignment*. This is a great time to determine if your expectations align with the facility – interview the facility as they interview you.

*Bonus tip: Note the name of the Nurse Manager who interviewed you and get their email address so you can send them a thank-you note following the interview. A little extra effort goes a long way!

Managing expectations – both your own and the ones placed on you by facilities – is vital to a happy travel assignment. Call us today and we’ll help you meet your expectations as a travel nurse!