Travel Nursing Advice Column - Questions and Answers about Companions and Pets

See questions and answers about traveling with companions and pets here, or ask your own.

Question

My plans are to begin travel nursing sometime in 2013, this will be a new adventure for myself and my husband who will be accompanying me. I have spoken to numerous travel nurses who work on the PCU unit at my current job who have reccommended using more then one travel company so I would have more opportuities. My question is, how would this work since I would need to have insurance coverage for both myself and my husband while traveling? Any help you can provide me would really be appreciated.Thanks! :o)

Response

Traveling with a few companies does have a few advantages including better access to more available assignments. Also, if you are traveling with a few companies, you are able to compare them to each other to weed out the ones that aren’t treating your properly or not offering enough pay and benefits, etc. If you traveled with one company, you really wouldn’t have anything to compare.

However, traveling with one company allows you to have consistent insurance (for you and your husband like you mentioned), establishing a better relationship with your recruiter (which can be highly advantageous), easier for filing taxes and you’ll have consistent all around benefits. Now weighing what is more important to you is key. If you decide to travel with a few companies, your best option for insurance would be to get your own private plan. Mainly for hassle sake… you definitely do not want to deal with changing your policy every 3 months with each new company. Hope this helps.

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Question

Is it difficult to travel with pets?

Response

Many travelers take pets with them on assignments. The biggest challenge obviously comes from finding housing where you are allowed to have pets. This becomes more difficult if your pets are larger or dangerous breeds like pit bulls or presa canarios. The easiest way to find this kind of housing is to work with companies that are pet friendly and have experience dealing with pets and knowledge of where to find pet friendly housing. This link can help you find some:

goo.gl/q0MO9

Using a company to find your housing for you usually makes sense for pet owners not only because of their knowledge, but also because of the amount of money needed upfront to house a pet. There are pet fees, pet deposits and company pet cleaning fees.

et fees are additions to your rent that a landlord may charge simply because you own a pet. A pet deposit is money you will be required to put down when you move into your housing to cover any costs incurred from damage done by your pet (also note that any damages beyond this deposit may come out of your next paycheck with your company). Finally company pet cleaning fees are a typical charge by companies to make sure they can adequately clean up after your pet and minimize any pet damage fees.

If you decide to set up your own housing and you have pets these are all expenses you will have to handle on your own. Either way though it will help if your pet is well behaved which leads to another challenge you may have when traveling with pets. Who will take care of your pet while you are at work? If you have a cat or a dog that can handle long periods of time alone without tearing up your home then this is not a big deal, but if you have a little (or big) terror who needs more attention, then you may need to find a dog sitter. Here are some sites that can help you:

Sitter City/pet-sitting

Pet Sitter.org

Care.com/pet-sitters

Finally you will also have to make sure you have veterinary care at your disposal while traveling in case your pet gets sick or injured while traveling.

Here are some sites to help with that:

Veterinarians.com

Hope that helps.

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Question

Do they pay for your husband's plane ticket when the rn travels?

Response

These things are always negotiable in your travel nurse contract. Some companies will give you a reimbursement check, in which you can spend anyway you want – or some you can negotiate with so that they will pay for your husband’s ticket upfront. Either way, there is a set amount of funding (whether reimbursement or paying for directly) that the company can offer you, so It’s just up to them how they want to disburse it.

Always remember, it’s a good idea to ask these kind of questions when you are shopping around for a travel nurse agency before you commit to an assignment.

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Question:

Travel Nursing has been a dream of mine for a long time..Im finally taking the plunge but really nervous about doing it alone! My bff was going to travel with me but backed out at the last minute..So how do you go about making travel buddies? Is it easy to make new friends? How do find other nurses out there looking for travel buddies? Im 26 years old and leaving my long term boyfriend behind and my friends/family at home to do this, but its scary to be alone in a new strange city..besides Im not a loner and dont really like doing thing by myself..

Response

First off, congratulations on taking the travel nursing plunge. Second, when it comes to finding travel nursing buddies always use a high degree of caution to make sure you are not associating yourself with someone you wish hadn't and to ensure your personal safety. With that out of the way, as you travel you are bound to meet more nurses who are either interested in traveling too or are already travel nurses. So you may have to be a little lonely at the beginning, but it will get better the longer you travel and more people you meet.

Also though, there are lots of sites that help facilitate the finding of travel nursing buddies (our site has this feature, but it is old and we are phasing it out). Some of the best places to go currently when you are just starting out are travel nursing forums and social networks. Check out:

The Delphi Forum for Traveling Professionals. To find it visit DelphiForums.com and search for Travel Nurses and Therapists Forum.

HealthcareTravelbook.com

PanTravelers.org < Back to top


Question

How do I get a job as a paid travel companion

Response

You marry a traveling nurse. You'll earn your keep.

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Question


My husband just started his two year nursing degree and has plans to become a travel nurse just as soon as he has his experience. We were also planning to coordinate the birth of our first child around the time that he takes his first assignment.

My question is obvious! ARE WE NUTS OR IS THIS POSSIBLE? We just figured that since we wouldn't have to worry about living expenses, that it would be a great time to have our first child! With my husband working, I was planning on being a stay at home mom so it would be less traumatic on the baby.

Do you know of any other travel nurses who have done this and how they managed to move a baby every 13 weeks to a new town and a new apartment?

I would really appreciate your advice and encouragement!

Thanks,
The Wombles

Response

The only way I would consider traveling with a toddler is if I had a consistent caregiver that traveled with me to provide care for my little one while I was at work. In this situation, I believe one could travel successfully with good nationwide health coverage and transitioning techniques used to make the kido feel more comfortable in their new surroundings. Before leaving I would research local hospitals and child resources.

Traveling can be disrupting, especially for those who didn’t make the choice to move in the first place, such as children. For most, moving also tends to be more difficult as friends play a more major role in their life i.e. the older they get. Besides the age factor, one must take into account the personality and temperament of your child. These characteristics are not going to change much throughout their lives. Some personalities and temperament are more inherently adaptable than others. You know your child.

In your situation, you will be a consistent caregiver. Now, may be the best time for you to travel while your kids aren't in school. Just make sure you have good healthcare coverage that starts your first day of your assignment. Some programs start 30 days after your assignment and some start on the first day. You may want to stay on your husbands current insurance at a COBRA plan. The travel companies will often reimburse you for insurance expenses up to a certain amount if you wish to carry your own insurance.

Also, it may be possible for your husband to extend his assignment at the end of 3 months if he likes it and the hospital continues to have a need for a traveler. This way, you wouldn't have to transition so often if you weren't ready.

Finally, you want to make sure to ask questions about the area they will be placing you in and research on the computer about the area. Also, see if they can give you an assignment where the housing is located within walking distance from the hospital. This way, your husband could walk to work and you could have use of the car during the day for errands etc.

The following are a few suggestions on transitioning a kid to a new place:

Create routines and keep them going as you travel

Make sure to ask yourself how your child deals with change before you consider traveling with them. It is recommended to try and keep your routines with your children while traveling. This will help them feel more secure, especially if they take longer to adapt to change.

Involve your child in the moving process

Also, involve your child in the process of moving as much as possible. Let them decide what they want to bring. Make sure to provide them with their own space in the new location and allow them assist in decorating it with you. It may take awhile before they have adjusted enough to want to go out and socialize. Give them time to acclimate. They will come around in time.

Do something fun

As soon as you arrive at a new location, find something fun for the entire family to get involved in. This helps everyone focus on the present and look forward to the future instead of what they left behind. This also lets them know that moving can be fun.

Arrive early

Try to arrive as early as possible to your assignment location. They will more than likely need extra attention in the beginning and you need time to find your nearest resources.

If you travel with sensitivity to their feelings and individuality, you will be teaching them many valuable life lessons. Traveling can be a great teacher. They can learn self reliance, how to blend into a new culture, how to face unknown situations without fear. After moving a few times without dieing, children get the idea that things change, but they will be ok. This is a valuable lesson we all need to learn over and over from time to time.

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Question

My husband and I are both nurses and currently on an assignment. We have 1 week off in our contract so we can go home. We were assured by our recruiter that the hospital would work with us in staggering our days off so we could work the first part of 1 week, take off our week in contract, and then stagger our days to the end of the next week so we would essentially be off 2 weeks. Now we're not sure if the hospital wiil do this and don't think they'll let us know in time to get a decent priced plane ticket home. Now what?

This is an unfortunate situation. I hope it ends up working out for you. Meanwhile, perhaps this is a good learning experience for the future. In the future, if you want time off during a contract, you must tell your recruiter that you need certain dates off as a stipulation of accepting the assignment. Then you make sure that it is written in the contract. Then, when you get to your assignment. You may want to also check with them and ask them if they are aware of the dates that you need off. Otherwise, if it is left to some unknown dates that you hope will work out then it isn't clear cut enough for the hospitals and they may often overlook the inconvenience of schedule changes. Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have heard of similiar situations as yours involving a couples who travel together.

The recruiter has to understand, from the beginning, what your stipualations are in order to accept the contract and then it must be written in. This way the communications are clear and the contract speaks for itself.

I know this doesn't help your current situation. Good luck and let us know how it all turns out. You can email me and let me know. We would all like to know if you end up getting to go anywhere with your husband or not.

Response


Well, here it is Sept. 7 and my schedule came out with everyday off that I asked for except one. My husband's has him working everyday that he asked off for. So essentially he only got what was guaranteed in our contract but he's still going to ask to have it changed. So far we have gone to San Francisco a couple of times while being off together. Very nice. We are definitely learning the hard way about contracts.
I guess you learn with every assignment. Thanks for the concern.

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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 have been with my current company for 2 assignments now. During my second assignment, I adopted a puppy. I let my company know ahead of time that I would be getting a dog, so i was put in Dog friendly housing. While on this assignment, I had to pay a $300 non-refundable fee because of my dog. My company took it out of my check in payments. For my next assignment, my company has just informed me that I have to pay a $600 refundable pet fee. They have offered me the option to take it out of my paychecks in small amounts. I feel like this is alot of money to pay for a 13 week assignment. I understand its refundable, but will they charge me for usually wear and tear, or only if the dog damages something.? Do all apartment companies charge this much? Are most refundable? Or are most a one time fee? How long does it usually take to be refunded the money? If I pay this $600, will I get it back in time to put a payment down for the next apartment complex? I know I have alot of questions, but this is the only site where I can find answers. Any input you have will be helpful. I appreciate all you do for travel nurses. Thanks so much for your timeI am sure if you have questions then many other travelers have similar questions about what is involved in traveling with a pet.

Response


I am sure if you have questions then many other travelers have similar questions about what is involved in traveling with a pet.

Apartment complexes are all different. They have different policies and ways of dealing with pets. However, in speaking with a few traveling pet owners, they say they often pay anywhere from $300-400 an assignment for a pet deposit. In some places, the deposit may be higher, such as California for instance. California's rates can be anywhere from $500 to $1000 to have a pet. Many complexes will take about half of the refundable deposits to do extra cleaning when you move out and then send you the rest. Refunds can take 30 days or more depending on how efficient they are.

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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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