For example, you may earn more in a month as a travel nurse compared to a staff nurse, but if you only work on one- or two-month assignments, your annual salary will be lower. A nurse who quit her job at the hospital for much higher salaries as a traveling nurse found the tough lifestyle in her family. But permanent jobs, but those don't pay much better than they paid before the pandemic. There are several reasons why traveling nurses make more money than other nurses.
The biggest influence on the wage increase is the demand for travel nurses. There is a high demand for nurses who can travel temporarily or permanently, and that means higher salary potentials. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, travel nurses' salaries were at record levels, according to CNBC. One of the most cited advantages of travel nursing is a higher salary.
However, you have to be very careful with this. Yes, there is a chance to make more money, but it's not a fact. There are many variables that will determine if you will make more money or not. You'll often find “professional growth” listed as one of the advantages of travel nursing.
However, it is important to be specific when defining this concept. As we'll see below, travel nursing also has its share of career-related disadvantages. As a travel nurse, you'll work in many different hospitals. These hospitals will have different processes, procedures, equipment, objectives and challenges.
As a result, you'll gain a wide range of experiences that could prove valuable in the future. You'll learn various EMR systems, procedures for administering medications, reporting protocols, approaches to patient care, and much more. You will experience working in small and large hospitals, teaching hospitals, trauma hospitals and more. Not only will these experiences make you more employable, but they will also help you contribute more to future employers.
Making new friends is often cited as one of the most appreciated perks of travel nursing. Nearly every hospital you work at will have several travel nurses. They are usually the best people to get acquainted with. They're in the same boat, so you'll have a lot to talk about right away.
That said, the permanent staff is often very welcoming to travelers, so there's no shortage of friendship opportunities. The ability to “try before you buy” is another advantage of travel nursing. This applies to both employers and cities. When I was recruiting, I worked with a lot of travelers who wanted to move from home and used travel nursing as a way to assess whether a particular city would be suitable or not.
Similarly, others were already moving to a particular city, but they wanted to determine if a particular employer would be suitable or not. Many publications cite flexibility as one of the advantages of travel nursing. Once again, it's important to be precise. It is often difficult to arrange time off during a contract.
In addition, hospitals are less likely to be flexible with the scheduling requirements of a travel nurse than with the scheduling requirements of a permanent employee. Paperwork has become a nightmare in the nursing travel industry. For starters, travel nurses often hire the services of many travel nursing companies to gain maximum exposure to the labor market. The problem is that all companies want you to fill out their long job application and skills lists.
You can use BluePipes to help reduce this burden. The real paperwork starts when you actually accept a job offer. You will need to complete all documentation related to standard compliance. You'll also need to complete any special training or exam required by the hospital.
This may include training modules that cover policies and procedures, computer graphics, and other facility-specific topics. Today, many hospitals require drug screening, PPD, and other related physical examinations to be performed within 30 days of the start date. It's not uncommon for travelers to spend several days completing this paperwork. And worst of all, it's rare for hospitals to offer any compensation for this travel nursing paperwork.
As a travel nurse, you'll probably want to get a license in several states. If you have a compact multi-state license, then you're one of the lucky ones who can practice in 25 states and keep adding up. Even so, you may also want to obtain a license in more popular nursing destinations such as California, Florida, and Washington State. The problem is that it is expensive to maintain several state licenses.
In addition, you must meet the CEU requirements for each state. In addition, having a license in certain states makes it difficult to obtain a license in others. For example, California is notoriously slow in verifying state licenses, which can delay licensing in other states. These factors make multiple state licenses one of the disadvantages of travel nursing.
As we mentioned earlier, tax-free money is one of the advantages of travel nursing payment packages. However, you must maintain a tax house to qualify for tax-free money. Doing so is costly and challenging. This undoubtedly makes it one of the drawbacks of travel nursing.
We've covered nursing home travel taxes in great detail here. As a travel nurse, you'll most likely work in several states each year. This means that you will have to file several state returns. In addition, you may want to request additional deductions that are not normally claimed as a permanent employee.
All of this can make your taxes a little more complicated. As a result, a significant percentage of travel nurses get their taxes from a licensed professional. Of course, this costs a little more than doing it yourself. Nursing travel companies often offer poor benefit packages compared to permanent employers.
Medical benefits usually offer a lower level of coverage. Very few nursing travel companies offer a 401k match. Rarely will you find a company that offers paid time off. When they do, it's usually just because the state you work in requires paid time off.
In this case, staffing companies usually offer only the bare minimum. Onboarding and orientation processes for travel nurses are often quite deficient. For example, you may not receive computer access codes before your first shift. In addition, many hospitals offer insufficient guidance.
It's not uncommon for a hospital to provide 4 to 8 hours of orientation before leaving a traveling nurse loose on the floor. We mentioned earlier that networking and making new friends is one of the advantages of travel nursing. Unfortunately, the opposite can also be true. Staff at some hospitals have a negative view of travel nurses.
They might believe travel nurses are “stealing their hours. Some believe that the use of travel nurses decreases patient care. These hospitals can be unwelcoming and even a little hostile to traveling nurses. One way to overcome this is to approach travel nursing with flexibility.
Another way is to participate in the work of PRN until its ideal task is secured. While researching this topic, we came across many professionals who were actually incorrect or misleading. We think it's important to briefly discuss these issues so that you know what to expect. It's also important to note that you'll receive a housing stipend if you choose not to accept company-provided housing.
These nurses find housing that is lower than the stipend value. In this way, the difference is pocketed as additional income. It's extremely rare to be able to “try new specialties as a travel nurse”. The general rule of thumb is that you must have one or two years of experience in the specialty you are applying for.
That said, you may be taken to a different unit. However, that's usually something that nurses don't like. In addition, it will not normally provide the level of experience required to get a job in that specialty in the future. Unfortunately, we list more disadvantages than advantages.
However, it is important to remember that many of the nursing professionals during the trip offer more than enough reward to overcome the disadvantages. In addition, you can solve many of the disadvantages with simple planning. In addition, managing many of the disadvantages becomes natural over time. When medical facilities are unable to fill these vacancies with nursing staff, they seek travel nurses to step in and provide high-quality patient care.
This is why it's not uncommon for a travel nurse to make as much money working 100 miles from home as they would if they worked 300 miles from home. Still, she is grateful for the high salary, although it is an issue she avoids at work unless she is approached by staff considering traveling as a nurse. The truth is that you will need to show some level of flexibility to stay employed continuously as a travel nurse. The hospital can decide that it no longer has a need and cancel a nursing travel contract before it starts or even during the contract.
However, now that COVID-19 cases have started to stabilize, the demand for travel nurses has declined. By accepting short-term assignments, travel nurses give medical facilities the flexibility they need to fill open positions without making long-term commitments. Once you have a few years of experience and have received your compact license, you should be ready to find work as a travel nurse. The ability to travel, try different facilities and even “avoid hospital policy” remains an attraction, according to Steve Curtin, CEO of The Gypsy Nurse, a website dedicated to travel nursing.
Stipends and subsidies for housing and expenses are considered non-taxable reimbursements, which also helps increase the average salary taken home of a travel nurse compared to an employee. In contrast, a travel nurse accepts short-term assignments and can work in multiple centers in a single year. If you're willing to be flexible and go where you're needed, when they need you, you can earn more money as a travel nurse. Some travel nurses also take tasks in several states throughout the year, making them eligible for housing stipends and enrollment bonuses.