Travel Nursing Advice Column - Questions and Answers about Companies and Recruiters

See questions and answers about travel nursing companies and recruiters from travelers here, or ask your own.

Question

I am preparing to start travel nursing. My specialty is dialysis, and I was ready to go with one company, until I read some not great reviews. Which travel companies are the most reputable for dialysis travel nursing?

Response

Most agencies cater to a variety of specialties and a good agency will be trustworthy and helpful across specialties. When seeking out the right agency I would focus more on finding a recruiter who is a good fit for you. The right recruiter will be an amazing touchstone for you as you maneuver contracts, housing, insurance, certifications, and other relevant topics. Here is a link to a list of agencies ranked in the Top 10 that you may find helpful: /Toptentravelnursingcompanies.html


Question

I recently was employed by Aureus. They lied, promised re-certification for PALS and TNCC, talked badly behind my back to the hospital I was working at (I have a voice mail sent to me in error), would promise me per phone agreements but not put anything in writing etc. etc. Could go on and on. Am now black balled from certain "Catholic" associations. I signed on for a twelve week contract and wanted to start two weeks later then when the original contract was signed. Quick and in a hurry after up to 20 phone calls a day I agreed to start two weeks early. Not being the smartest person on the planet, I did not read the 2nd contract; other then they changed the start date. Later to find out, they never changed the end date so was committed to two weeks longer than expected. I think Aureus is a group of liars, thieves and the worst kind of people to work for. I would like my pay checks audited (nothing was itemized) and I would l like to get them looked at by somebody who they have to account to. Can you help me?

Response

Sorry to hear about your troubles. Aureus has had an iffy reputation in the industry.

There are three options you could look at:

1. You could contact an attorney, but that could be very costly for your issue and not get you very far considering you did sign a second contract.

2. You could contact PAN Travelers (www.pantravelers.org/index.php) and see what they can do to help. They are advocates for traveling nurses and go to bat for their members offering legal advice and services.

3. You can contact NATHO (http://natho.org/), an association of travel nursing companies of which Aureus is a member. Their goal is to hold the members to a high set of ethics and standards. They have seemed to exist more for the benefit of companies than travelers however so be aware of that if you approach them. Hope these options are able to guide you in the right direction.

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Question

I live on the state border of Florida and Georgia. I am going to LLC my self and work as an independent contractor. If I LLC myself in Florida can I work as an independent contractor in georgia

Response

Independent contractors are facing some exacting scrutiny in recent times, and this will continue. So just a caveat that many agencies and many hospitals will not work with independent contractors. But directly to the question, any business must register to do business in the state that the business is to be conducted. Rules, fees, taxation and other elements are different in each state, and keeping up with them is sometimes a full-time job. So as you travel to different locations, you will need to register to do business in each state. Be sure to speak with a CPA and legal council before working in this fashion.

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Question:

What happens if I quit and assignment after 3 weeks into a 13 week assignment?

Response

The first thing you need to do is talk with your recruiter and find out what your options are going forward, as well as what the ramifications are. Every situation and travel nursing company are unique and will handle this differently. But you can likely expect to have to pay fees or penalties for cancelling a contract and your last paycheck may be delayed or less due to the circumstances you listed. This should be outlined in your contract so check there (also a good reason you need to always read and understand your contract). But the only way you will really know what will happen is once you talk to your company. Make sure you fully understand what they tell you and try to get it in writing somehow. However, before you decide to cancel the contract you should explore any other options you may have with your recruiter and try to stick it out. Your company could decide not to work with you any more should you end your contract, which means a lot of extra work finding a new company and explaining to them what happened at your last assignment. Ending a contract early should be a last resort.

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Question:

What company has the widest variety of assignments?

Response

The larger the company the more travel nursing job variety. The two largest in the industry are American Mobile and Cross Country Trav Corps. Both also own smaller companies as well. But if pure job variety is what you are after then they are the companies you would want to look at. Some other large ones you may want to look at include Fastaff, RN Network, Aureus and Medical Solutions.

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Question

What travel nursing agency should I go with?

Response

That's what our site is all about. Once you are a free member of our site, you can go to /members_only/rank_agency_results.php? and see how other travelers have ranked various companies like the one's that are calling you. If you click on view details, you can see specifically what kind of problems they have had with those companies etc. Take a look. It should be helpful.

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Question:

A nurse friend of mine and I are interested in short-term (4 wks or less)psych nursing assignments. Can you help?

Response

You may want to start your search with the following links

http://www.worldwidetravelstaffing.com/
http://travel.nursingjobs.org/psychiatric-nursing/

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Question

I have misplaced the travel nursing agency that offers high pay 4 week contracts with up to 60 hours/week hours avail. They advertise that you can earn up to $9,000 a month. Read about them first in Nursing Spectrum magazine. Have any idea who that agency is?
Sincerely,
GAil

Response

I am not sure which one you are referring to. You might want to try Onward Health 800-278-0332. They are advertising 4-26 wk assignments with good pay and sign on bonuses.

Also, Advantage RN is currently advertising 8-26wk assignments with pay of up to $1950 a week after taxes.

Good luck.

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Question

Hi there ... I'm newly empty nested ... but my husband is still employed. So ... I'd like to find shorter travel assignments (4-6 weeks). Do you know of agencies that offer that? I'm currently working ER, but have experience in tele, oc health, MS educator.

Response

I don't know of any one company that specializes in short assignments. Sometimes, companies that also staff strikes tend to have shorter assignments.

More than likely you will have to ask around when you call different agencies and or negotiate for a shorter assignment. The ER is usually a high demand area.

You may have to look a little harder, but you should be able to get short assignments if you want them. Take a look at our list of agencies to give you a starting point in your search /members_only/agencylisting.html

I love to hear from travelers and their stories. If you get a short assignment, please write and let me know how your experience was and what you found.

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Question

I have only dealt with one agency so far, this is so new for me. What concerned me is that they made me feel rushed. So far, I have an interview set up via phone, but it is happening so fast. I do not want to ruin my chances with this agency or job, but I want to spend more time investigating other options/agencies. Is this normal for an agency to push you? How can I looked into other agencies without feeling overwhelmed or obligated to any one agency?

Response

With internet technology and the amount of competition among the many agencies now adays, things can move very fast. It sounds like they are doing their job. The hospitals often want to fill the spot right away and they also want to get your comittment before you move on to someone else.

Now you have to do your job and tell them where you are at. Once you get the hospital interview, you will more than likely be offered a job and feel obligated to take it or lose it. It's ok to keep telling them that you are checking things out and don't want to make any committments just yet. I would not agree to any hospital interviews until you have checked out more companies and get an idea of what is out there. Then, when a company sounds good to you and they have an assignment that sounds really good to you, then agree to move forward with the hospital interview.

Do make sure you have all your ducks in a row to get up and go because things can move very fast once you interview. What ever you do, don't committ to the position just to hold it while you look at other options. Some travelers do this and it just isn't the right way to go about things and is a good way to burn your bridges. When you interview, make sure to discuss their desired start date and if it doesn't sound realistic to you, make sure to discuss it with your company. Tell your company when you feel a realistic start date is for you to get all your stuff together and get out there. Then the company can negotiate the start date for you.

There are plenty of opportunities out there and they will come around again so don't feel you have to take one out of desperation that it may be gone. Take your time and when the moment seems right then move forward. Be straight forward with the companies. Traveling makes you more autonomous. You are now the one creating your future. Remember that.

Also, remember not to get so wrapped up in how good the assignment sounds like, that you ignore what the company sounds like. You want to pick a good company that will treat you right while you are on assignment.

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Question

I was wondering if I should have the agency that I may use email or send me a written contract.

Response

So many things are being done via email now. Do do want to keep a printed version for your records.An emailed contract should be fine as long as you have the ability to print it out, sign it, make a copy and then send it back. If not, or if this sounds like too much trouble, feel free to ask them to mail the contract in the mail.

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Question

I have an issue with my current agency. A friend and I traveled to this 13 week assignment and the hospital was pressuring my friend to determine if she was renewing her contract. We gave our agency a verbal agreement on the stipulation that our next contract have some revisions made to it. Well the revisions are not to our satisfaction and we gave our agency 3 weeks notice that we would not be renewing and now the agency claims that if we do not fulfill the contract that we will be charged for the 13 weeks of housing that has supposedly already been arranged for??? Can they do this without correcting and revising our contract???

Response

I know that paying for housing is a common consequence for not completing your contract. However, it sounds like you don't really have a new contract and you have completed or almost completed your old contract.

It's good on your part to give them plenty of notice. I am not a lawyer, but it doesn't sound right to me. I would make sure that you document everything in case you decide to fight this at a later date. Save any emails that you send or recieve.

Make sure you send the notice that you won't be renewing in writing even if you have already told them verbally. Include the date in your letter, the reason you will not be renewing and the fact that you haven't signed any contract to renew and note the date that the renewal would have started had you agreed etc. Make sure the letter is detailed with all the agreements etc. Be objective and matter a fact in your letter (just stating the facts).You may be able to email it and then save their Response to the letter to show that they recieved it. Or you may want to make a copy and send it via certified mail (or both).

Either way, you get documentation that they recieved your notice along with an explanation and they recieved it in advance. You may want to summarize the letter with a therefore........I don't believe I am obligated for any expenses incurred for a contract I have yet to sign and that the terms were not completely met by them.

If they try to call you about the matter, you may want to tell them that you are finished discussing this matter on the phone and that all communication regarding the renewal and your paying for this apartment needs to be done in writing. They can email you about the details or any further complaints they have so you have it all documented. Let them know that if you are going to be pressured about paying for this housing that you want it all in writing. Let them know you mean business.

They may stop pressuring you or if they continue to press, you at least have documentation of all the events so you get the fair legal consequeces rather than what one person says against the other.

Let this be a lesson for everyone in the future that to avoid misunderstanding, do all negotiations with companies in writing from the very beginning. Save the communications and you will be in a much better position to negotiate and also protect yourself.....if needed.

It is difficult for companies too, because they have to make committments and sometimes financial committments with certain time frames based on what a traveler agrees on. When the negotiations don't go smoothly or as expected they can find themselves in a difficult situation. This should also be a lesson to them to get those contracts signed and communicate more effectively to make sure everyone is happy with the agreement.

These misunderstandings can easily happen and that is why contracts are so important. They help to clarify what each party wants and on what terms.

This is my advice for now. Good luck and let us all know what you end up doing and how it all turned out. Just email. I am always here. There are many other travelers out there who can learn from your experience and apply it to their own situations.

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Question


What are nurses looking for from a recruiter?

Response


I(a recruiter) find in some cases I can not give the nurse the amount that he/she wants or compete with what another company may be paying them for a certain area. But when that happens, I tell them to go ahead and take that position or what is best for them(just trying to be honest). What are some insights that I need to know to just allow a nurse to remember me or to just want to travel with me.

Travelers want someone that really listens to them as an individual so they don't feel like they blend in with the rest of everyone else. They want to hear....I can see that .......these things are important to you. I am going to do everything to make it happen. It's hard, there is so much competition and sometimes you will run across nurses that will be ungrateful no matter what you do. That's life everywhere though.

Well the right assignment and pay is what they are looking for from the company and that is something you don't have control over. However, what they are looking for in a recruiter is someone who cares. They need to feel you are there for them as evidence by:
1. Being available or returning calls
2. Remembering things particular to their situation and trying to adjust or find an assignment that fits those details.
3. At least one or more follow up phone calls after they get to their assignment to make sure they like where they are and how they are doing.
4. A small welcome care package when they arrive to their assignment would be a nice touch that I have never seen done, but think it is a great idea.
What is more important to nurse when they are thinking about taking a travel assignment? Initially, it is often the assignment location and pay. However, more and more travelers are nervous about getting left out in the cold with companies that don't hold up to their end of the bargain. They would also like to find a good solid honest company that does what they say they are going to do. IT is very important.

IF a particular hospital isn’t allowing me to give the nurse more in $$$$, than a particular company will try and give, what are some obstacles do you think I need to overcome in order to keep that nurse interested?

Ask them whatelse the company is offering and see if you can provide something else that they aren't. Perhaps the company pays more, but they have shared housing or you could provide corporate housing if necessary. Find out any particulars that are important to the travler and see if you can cater to that individual need. Finally and most importantly, ask the traveler what it would take to keep them. If there is anything else that is important to them that you may be able to compensate them and keep their business. Point out any strong points of your company and see if there is anything you can work out with them.



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Question


I am looking in to traveling nurses. My concern is the different agencies and what I have read about some of them is rather concerning. My concern is does the traveling nurse get abused in their positions, what agencies really work well and should you go with more than one agency to start with?

Response


Most of these questions are difficult to answer because they are a matter of opinion. Some nurses do feel abused in their positions, but not most of the time. It varies from place to place. Your experience will vary from agency to agency and hospital to hospital. This is mainly why travelnursingcentral was designed in the first place. At travelnursingcentral nurses can voice their opinions and share their experiences regarding the agencies as well as the hospitals they work in. This way, nurses like yourself can view the information as well as talk to the agencies and hospitals to get a feel for them and make a more informed decision. Over time we hope to further enhance the standards of the industry by agencies that don't want to get bad rankings and affect their bottom line.

I can say that I do recommend signing up with more than one agency to increase your choices and negotiations.

Good luck in finding the right fit for you.

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Question


I recently applied to travel nurse international to work in calif-i am from alberta,canada- i am now being told completion bonuses are being deleted as they are taxed heavily by amer.gov't. is this true and are the majority of travel nurse companies deleting them or should i apply to another company?

Response


I have yet to hear of such a thing. However, I would continue to apply with other companies and then make your decision. It is always a good idea to have more than one option. You might try Supplemental Health Care and O'Grady-Peyton for example. They are well versed in international travel. You can find them on the website's agency listing.

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Question


Hello. You mentioned that you have information on agencies that staff nurses in the UK. I'd love some information if you could pass it on!
Thank you!

Response


The following agencies have been known to staff nurses in the U.K. Let us know what you find out when you call them. We would love to hear from you.
Catto International Limited+44 1276 500 529 www.catto.net
Kate Cowig 353 (0) 1 671 5557 cowhig@iol.ie
O'Grady Peyton International 877-504-7794
Supplemental Healthcare 800-543-9399
World wide Healthcare Exchange +44 (0) 1707 259233 www.whe.co.uk
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Question


Have you heard of Critical Care Professionals? Is this a travel nursing agency? Are they on the web, I can't find them anywhere?

Response


Sure, their phone number is 410-321-5580. They staff dialysis nurses as well.


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Question


Are there any agencys staffing for strikes at present.

Response


Try Nurse Bridge, HPO, Fastaff, and Travel Nurse International. These are the agencies that are known to be the big players when it comes to staffing strikes.

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Question

I have not taken a travel assignment yet. I am working with a recruiter at cross country travcorps. What can you tell me about them please? Also, I was under the impression that travel companies pay for transportation/flights, do you know if they do ? I was concerned when my recruiter told me it was expected I would need a vehicle, and it was the norm for me to drive to new assignment. I live in Massachusetts and I'm thinking of working on the west coast!' I appreciate your answers and feedback.

Response

There are several sites with reviews of Cross Country out there and most of them are not very positive. I would check those out. Here are few:

Travel Nursing Central Reviews Cross Country TravCorps

Travel Nursing Blogs Ratings

Travel Nursing Blogs: Cross Country

Healthcare Travelbook Reviews: Cross Country

Healthcare Travelbook Reviews: Cross Country Staffing

Highway Hypodermics Reviews

As far as paying for transportation/flights goes, every company is different and with larger companies there may be less room for you to negotiate it into your pay package than with smaller ones. If that is something that is important for you then you should probably talk to a few more companies and see what they are willing to do for you.

Many travel nurses do drive to their assignments and that way have their cars with them on assignment. This makes assignments much more enjoyable as you will have the freedom to drive around and see all there is to see in your new city.

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Question:

I traveled for 4 yrs, have been core staff for the last 3 1/2 yrs, trying to get back to traveling again but my recruiter can't seem to find a job for me in AZ in icu or stepdown for a days position, what is going on with travel nursing? Should I change companies? Have been waiting for a month now...

Response

Donít know about Arizona specifically, but right now there seem to be plenty of travel nursing jobs available nationwide. Just looking at a few websites it looks like there are plenty of Arizona jobs out there.

It is recommended that you always work with more than one travel nursing agency at a time. Working with 3-5 is a good manageable number. It will help you in several ways.

First you will have more jobs available to you because not one company has all the jobs and even if they do they may not be the company the hospital wants to work with. Second, having more than one company that you are talking to will help you compare and know when someone is trying to put one over on you. Third, letting agencies know they are competing for you will help you get the best deal. Fourth, working with multiple companies puts you in much better control over your career. It will mean less times going without an assignment or having to take one you donít want.

Hope that helps.

Question


What resources can I use to locate travel companies that offer over seas assignments?

Response


Good question. I don't really know of one good source to find assignments that send people overseas. We need to fix that. I will continue to research this question and meanwhile we will open this open for discussion. If anyone knows of a good source for this and or any agencies that staff overseas please send an email and we will begin right now to change that and make a list right here on this website.

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Question


Are there any jobs out there for LPN's in travel? I have filled out apps with allof the travel agencies; they write back saying they have plenty of openings. I am flexible with location, then they say there is'nt much for LPN's.

Response


This can be frustrating. Unfortunately, most recruiters are told to tell you there are plenty of openings in order to get your application. They want your contact information. Then they worry about whether they really have a position later. I know LPN's do travel, but yes, the positions are not as easy to find.

There are over 100 travel companies out there. One of them is bound to have an assignment. For starters...I would suggest you go to this website's find assignment section and post your resume. Your resume will be sent to several travel companies at once and then they can contact you if a position comes available.

Meanwhile, you may want to find a smaller agency and offer a committment to them if they are willing to market you and your skills. Yesterday, I was on the phone with Robison Medical and they brought up the fact that they staff LPN's. You may want to try them if you haven't already. Their number is 888-288-5659. Furthermore, I just read an article about an LPN who recently worked in Alaska with Healthcare Seeker 888-331-3431.

Keep me informed and let me know when you find something.

The following agencies have staffed LPN's within the last year. You may try contacting these companies. If you find one that is no longer staffing LPN's please email me and we will remove them from the list. The industry is constantly changing.
advantage 800-749-1122
american traveler 800-884-8788
Bonnieville 800-777-6430
Core Med 800-995-2673
Cross Country 800-343-3270
Favorite Nurses 800-755-1411
HPO 800-611-6462
HRN 800-476-5561
Medical Express 800-544-7255
Medstaff 800-732-9992
Nurses RX 800-733-9354
Preferred Healthcare 800-735-4774
Preferred medical 800-552-6845
Procare 800-877-6785
Qshift 800-733-6877
Stat nursing 800-962-8678
Prestige Healthcare Resources (866-997-9844) just wrote me about several positions they have in California. December 2, 2003
 
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Question


The hospital I am currently under contract with is cancelling my contract 6 weeks early. They are cancelling all travelers at the hospital. My recruiter tells me that it is OK and that we need to find another assignment. Does this hospital not have to "settle" this contract? What do I get out of this besides a lot of worry? Any advice on this matter will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Response


I really feel for you on this one. Life is not always as it should be. Obviously, the hospital should have the decency to finish out their remaining contracts on ethical grounds at least.

Legally......every contract is different so it is hard to say if they are obligated by law. The contract may have a standard clause saying they could discontinue at any time for any reason. It is also likely that your recruiter doesn't know. Many recruiters are not allowed to view contracts.

You could curse and pull your hair out trying to get to the bottom of it and it probably wouldn't be worth the effort. If you like your company, I would definitely use this situation to negotiate for extra benefits on your next assignment to compensate your hardship and disorientation.

I can tell you that this situation is not common. Many hospitals will gradually taper off rather than drop off. Also, the next time..... you can always try to negotiate for a statement in your contract with the agency stating they (the agency) will pay you for the length of the contract should such an occurrence happen in the future again that is out of your control.

Good luck. Remember blessing sometimes happen in funny ways. Who knows what is going to happen now. Please let me know if it leads to something great. Life has a funny way of doing that.

Followup
Thanks for such a speedy reply. You are right when you said blessings happen in funny ways.
Although I like the hospital that is canceling me, I have just found out that a hospital I had been to before, and loved, is needing immediate help.

I will be asking for a clause in my contract regarding cancellations from now on.
Thanks again,

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Question


I am on assignment in Boston. The GSA per diem rate is $50/day. I am only getting $40/day. Am I getting ripped off? Who sets the per diem rates for your contract? The hospital or your company?

Response


I am not familiar with the term GSA per diem daily rates. I assume you are talking about the daily tax deduction you recieve for working away from home as a traveler. This is one of the greatest financial benefits of being away from home.

This daily deduction is determine by the IRS. It is rare that a company would be giving you this money ahead of time. Perhaps they are offering this benefit to you as a way to provide you with more money sooner. However, sounds like they may be keeping a little money for the service. In that case, I would say that $40 dollars a day is not up to standards according to your information. If they are giving you less than the allotted amount, it may be worth your while in the long run to discontinue their special plan and have your accountant do the daily deduction for you at the end of the year for the full $50 dollars a day. It can really add up.

Per diem is a tax free amount of money given to a worker each day while on a temporary assignment. It covers daily living expenses. GSA (General Services Administration) sets the per diem rate for Gov't employees, and the IRS uses this as the guideline as to the maximum that will be allowed to be tax free. It is based on the location. High cost areas are $50/day, lower cost areas could be as low as $35/day. The rates are subject to change every year in October. There are 2 parts to per diem: housing, and meals & incidentals. Since our company provides housing as a separate paid item, the per diem we get is actually for the meals & incidental portion.

When I quizzed our company about the $40/day per diem, their answer was, "That's all they will pay" (meaning the hospital). I thought the agency set the per diem rate, wage rate, etc. Do you know how all this works?

I am not completely sure how they work it because not many companies offer this kind of a plan. I seriously don't think the hospital sets the rate. I would think the agency sets the rate based on some kind of deduction they get from the IRS since this is really a tax issue.
Regardless, you should be able to deduct the difference ($10) at the end of the year when you file your taxes as long as your pay checks are itemized to show that you are getting paid a $40 dollar a day living expense and the GSA is really $50.

One resource you may want to try is www.hicksfinancial. He is an accountant that specializes in travelers taxes and he has his own website now.

I will continue to research and please continue to keep in touch if you make any further discoveries as well.

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Question


I am very intersted in traveling, but I am a single mother, and am not sure how to arrange child care for my 4 yr old, especially on weekends or holidays

Response


Traveling as a single mom can be challenging, but not impossible. When you talk to the agencies explain your situation and tell them you will work for them if they can help you find an assignment and childcare. When you interview with the hospital explain your situation again and ask if they know of any resources etc. and if it is a problem...tell them you won't be able to committ to weekends or holidays unless you can find childcare. Most of all, make sure to get all these agreements in writing in your contract with the agency. The travel industry is very competitive and resourceful. Let them help you.

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Question


My next assignment will be in a level II nsy in Bakersfield, CA. I have been told by other travelers with friends working in CA that if you work 12 hours anything over 8 hours is paid time and a half. I looked online and read the CA Labor Law and I could not understand all of the double talk that goes into legaleze. Does anyone know what the law means to me as a traveler working 36 hours a week but 12 hour days? My company assures me they would not break the law, but I want to know the truth about how the law in CA works.

Response


I will have to look into this further. So far..what I can tell you is that California does pay time and half after 8 hrs and double time after 12. However, many reputatble agencies located in California get around this to a certain extent. If you are scheduled for an 8 hr shift but you work 12, the pay the time and half for the 4hours over. But, if you are scheduled for 12hrs from the start...then they pay regular pay. What I don't know...is how this is justified according to the law. What I can tell you ...is that your company is not the only one. A loop hole must exist to allow this. I will research this further. For now, I hope this help somewhat.

I have been checking around. One experienced recruiter I spoke with recently told me she believes that the hospitals file a waiver with the state in order to bypass this law. Some hospitals have filed and some have not. If you want to comment on this topic click here and we will post it.

Comment from Gloria A. Brent, R.N., author of Travel Nursing at it's Best...Expect Nothing Less
California does pay time and a half over 8 hours and double time over 12 hours by law! However, many agencies give you what is called a "blended rate." It is important when taking an assignment in CA for 12 hours shifts that you know whether you are being quoted a "base rate" or a "blended rate." Here is what I mean by a "blended rate":

Base Rate = $28 per hour
Time and a half of that rate = $42 per hour

Now, we are going to work a 12 hour shift....

$28.00 x 8 hours = $224.00
$42.00 x 4 hours = $168.00

$224.00 + $168.00 = $392.00 pay for a 12 hour shift.

Now, the agency will divide $392.00 by 12 hours = $32.80 per hour

They will tell you that the rate of pay is $32.80 per hour. (That is actually a low rate for CA, but I hope you understand the math)

It is important that you ask the question if is is a "base rate" or a "blended rate." It would be terrible to expect time and a half of $32.80 after 8 hours and not get it, because the agency wasn't clear of their actual rate. Now...the problem with the blended rate comes in when you are cancelled for the last four hours of your shift! Now you didn't work the 12 hours. Guess what?! You will only get $28 per hour for the 8 hours you worked!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment from Victoria Taylor, RN
Also, some CA hospitals have unions who have voted to work however long work days (usually 8) and not get paid the double time after 8 hours so that the money can be placed evenly into their pay throughout the day. This is where people who come in afterwards have to be cautious.

Comment anonymous
I have been told two things about the overtime in California by a Recrutier most company quote a blended pay which incluced the overtime. Second if the travel company is not based in CA they dont have to pay the over 8 rule just over 40 hrs. I would make sure that my contract is very clear what pay I would recive .

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Question


I've been researching requirements for licenses. What does it mean if the temp license fee is included in the cost of the permanent? Do travel nurses recommend getting permanent licenses? Do most agencies cover the cost? Should I keep my original license renewed? My state doesnt require CEU'S to keep my license; do I need to start acquiring CEU's to be licensed in other states? About how many CEU's are needed?

Response


Unfortunately, there is no standard Responses when it comes to licensure. An effort has begun to standardize the process....the licensure compact. You may have heard of it? You have to reside and originate in one of the compact licensure states and then you can use your license like you use your drivers license from state to state. You can find out more details about that at (www.ncsbn.org).
If you do not live in a compact state.....the licensure process will be different for each state. Each state has different CEU's, cost, processing time, and temporary license expiration. A few states only offer permanent licenses. Many states do not require you to show your CEU's to get the license, but perhaps to renew it. Others such as New York require you to have classes topics such as abuse and aids etc.

It all sounds complicated and overwhelming if you try to look at the big picture all at once, but it really isn't. The first step is to decide where you want to go and then see how long it will take to obtain your license and what it requires before you commit to a start date. If you want to travel right away, often recruiters have an idea which states are easier and faster to get licensed. Some states are what they call "walk through" states where you can literally take your paperwork into the office and get licensed that day.

Licensure reimbursement is one of those negotiable benefits. Not all companies offer it. If they do, it is often a partial reimbursement and is usually paid after you begin your assignment.

Travelers often recommend getting a permanent license. Some temporary licenses do not stay active for a full 3 months. Also, you never know if you may end up liking it and want to extend your assignment or take another assignment in the same state. This way your options are open.

I would recommend you keep your home state license active for a few reasons. To maximize your tax benefits you will want to maintain a permanent residence which means you will need to return home and work occasionally to look like you still live there. Also, you never know when you will want to return home for a while to visit friends or relatives. However, if you know you won't want to return and your don't care to maintain a permanent residence then you can request that your license be put in inactive status. This way they still keep you on record and the process is easier to activate then to reapply for licensure, yet you don't have to pay for an inactive license.

Overall, licensure is a fairly simple process in most states and isn't usually an obstacle to traveling. Yet, it is good to consider the licensure requirements as far as timing your assignments and managing your commitments.

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Question


Do you know of any companies that will provide a rental car? I'm nervous about driving clear across the country by myself.

Response


Companies do not provide a rental car as a standard. However, you can negotiate for one. Often you can trade one benefit for another. Get creative....especially if they offer a benefit you don't need. Also, tell them that if they figure out how to provide a rental car for you.....you will travel with them. This will motivate them and believe me they have ways. This is a competitive business and they want you to work for them.

Note: If they give you a car allowance...make sure to call and find out what the car rentals in the area cost. One time a company provided a car for me in Alaska. They gave me a car allowance that sounded great. When I got there....I discovered that it was double that to rent a car there.

Also, you may want to consider traveling with a friend. With the travel allowance they pay.....if you travel low budget (motel 6)...you can often pay for your friends food and airline ticket back (or 1/2). The trip can be a great experience. Many people would love to go and see part of the country and then fly back.

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Question


I have been researching many traveling companies over the last four months. I can not decide which one to go with. When I feel that I have made my decision then I heard of someone who had a bad experience with that company. I feel frustrated. I looked to your company to hopefully find the highest ranking company to go with. Please give me some advice. I will be traveling with my family and I do not want to make a huge mistake and end up in a mess somewhere! How do you find the best company to go with as you FIRST!

Response


Thanks for writing. Good question. One of the reasons travelnursingcentral started ranking agencies is because of this very problem you speak of. They want to get a compilation of opinions from several people for a rating of a company. You have to take traveler's individual experiences with a grain of salt. One person may be really happy with a company and another unhappy with the same company. Most travelers claim that their recruiter makes all the difference.

My advice is to look at the ratings, pick a company that has been around for awhile, ask lots of questions and have them make the benefits clear and spelled out in the contract, and meanwhile consider how comfortable you are with that recruiter. They will be your lifeline.

The good news is that most companies that have been around awhile they are competitive with everyone else. The travel companies are very competitive. The worst that can happen is that you don't receive your paychecks or the housing is a bummer. If the housing is bad, you can demand they find different housing or you will leave. Remember they want you to be happy. You are making them money. If you leave the contract...they miss out on the money and they look bad to the hospital. Try to get direct deposit for your paychecks. Companies that don't pay..don't stay in business very long.
Pick one and go for it. You can always travel with someone else next time. This is not an exact science and each company will have its strengths and weeknesses. You have much more to gain than to lose.

You may try asking your recruiter what she feels her companies strengths and weeknesses are. Also, when you interview with the hospitals ask them how satisfied travelers seem with the company and is there a different agency they staff with that travelers seem more satisfied with.

I know the first step is a scary one, but after the first one you will have much more confidence. As a traveler, you really become your own business person. You market yourself and negotiate for what you want. It may feel that you are helpless in their hands, but they are also in yours. Without you, they won't have a business.

Go for it.......you'll be fine. If it was that bad....there wouldn't be so many people traveling. Even the people you talked to who had bad experiences are still traveling aren't they? You have to do your best to make a good decision and then make the plung.

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Question


I have been an RN for a bit better than two years, and have traveled for the past nine months (on my third assignment now). my experience is med-surg, some telemetry; also orthopedics and some others (i've worked in small hosptials where you do it all). i really want to work PACU, perhaps ER or ICU. i have the paper credentials, just no experience. i've made it clear during my interview that i'd be happy to float to these units as a "pair of hands" (just for the exposure, though i don't say it that way). so far it hasn't happened. any other suggestions for gaining this experience? i'm getting a bit burned out on med-surg. thanks! oh--great site!

Response


Unfortunately, it is difficult to get "experience" in a new department while traveling. You almost have to find a unique agency or hospital. I believe Cross Country used to advertise a cross-training program along with traveling. You may want to see if they still do anything like that. Otherwise, most hospitals want to put you to work where your strengths are. You are only there for a short period of time. The time and money to orient you to another department is difficult for them to justify. I know a nurse who recently stopped traveling to work a year in NICU so she could gain the experience she needs to travel and work in NICU.

The only other suggestion I have..... would be to discuss this upon your interview with the hospitals. You may be able to agree to work with them for a certain period of time, if they will work with you. I would try to propose this with a hospital that is known for having a ongoing need for travelers.

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Question


What countries offer international assignments to U.S. nurses?

Response


The english speaking companies tend to offer the international assignments. The most popular places are New Zealand, Australia, and London.

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Question


How plentiful are Psych Nursing assignments, and which agencies have the most Psych jobs?

Response


Psych is not as plentiful as other nursing specialties. While these positions may be more challenging....it is not impossible to travel.

Your best bet is to find a company willing to search for positions for you. Once you find a company that is willing to work with you on an individual basis you will be fine. Also, Coremedical has been known to have psych positions in the past....you may want to try them. Also, if you are interested in international travel at all....you may contact Psychiactric Care Consultants (pcc@pccnurses.com.au).
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Question


i'm finishing a current contract where i was for 26 weeks from the intial first meeting the staff trhoughout the hospital was not friendly,hostile and just downright rude....now the nurses are reporting things not done wheras they are guilty of the same thing..plus i'm guarenteed 36 hours and the next two weeks she has sligted me 12 hours each week...what should i do?

Response


I am glad you are finishing up your contract. Way to hang in there. Every once in awhile a nurse will find herself among a sea of sharks. Your proper plan of action is to contact your agency. They should have someone that is a nurse advocate for problems like this. The cut in hours will concern them as well. Unfortunately, some agencies are great at backing up their nurses and some aren't. Good luck and watch your back and dot your I's as they say.

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Question


Can you list some of the travel agencies who are known to provide adequate housing? Or can you provide a ranking system by travelers just for housing?

Response


We cannot specifically suggest one travel company over the other, but travelers can. This is why we have a ranking system on our website for travelers to rank the agencies according to their experience. Over time, we hope this will be invaluable information and improve the standards of the industry. We hope to become the largest independent site for travelers to meet and voice their opinions and share information. On the agency ranking page, you can view how each characteristic of the company is ranked in detail including housing.

Our referral service can referr you to companies that offer private housing if you would like. However, we cannot personally give out our own opinions. Besides, what better place to get that information than from other travelers on the web. We did a ranking system to get a accumulation of opinions rather than one persons opinion. You probably already have realized that many people have differing opinions about the same agency depending on who their recruiter was and what kind of experience they had with them.

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