Travel Nursing Advice Column - Questions and Answers about Housing

See questions and answers about travel nursing housing here, or ask your own.

Question

I've heard from other travelers that they got these enormous housing allowances. Are they exaggerating? Is there room to negotiate the housing stipend?

Response

In general, housing stipends are a pretty set piece of a pay package. One thing to keep in mind with housing allowances is that they are greatly affected by the cost of living in the city of the contract. For example, if the other travelers you spoke with were placed in New York, San Francisco, or another high cost of living city, this could be why the stipends they described were so generous.

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Question

I am looking at taking a travel nursing job and my recruiter says the pay is 34/hr but housing will be about 1200/month where I will be assigned and the 1200 will come out of my check before it get it. I currently make about 22/hr but I live at home free of charge. If I am to take this travel job I will not come out much better having to pay 1200 a month in rent, the extra 12 dollars an hour will basically go for my housing. My question is do most travel agencies really provide housing that does not come out of what you make and still pay good rates such as 34/hr or do they make this pay rate and provide housing that comes out of your check. This is very confusing to me. Thanks for your help.

Response

Compensation is one of the most important aspects to many travelers. Companies offer a wide variety of pay packages, with differences in hourly pay, stipends for things like housing and travel, benefits such as medical insurance and other items. It is important to be aware that all of this comes from one pie, so to speak. Agencies charge a rate to the hospital, and then pay the traveler from what they charge. So you will have to weigh the entire program to see if what you are getting is a good deal for you. As you found out in this location, housing is at $1200. That will vary, of course, depending on location, as will other aspects of your pay. You are right to look it all over and see what will be beneficial to you. If this one has you making about the same as staying at home, then your decision is based on what other elements of travel nursing are attractive to you (like the location, the hospital, new experiences, etc.), or look for another assignment that will pay you better.

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Question:

Is it normal for your company to take out the amount of your housing from your check? The web site says housing supplied. But does that just mean that they find it and take the money out of your check? From what my recruiter has said it is up to the hospital or clinic what kind of housing I get and weather I am charged or not. Is this normal?

Also I have a learning disability, I don't really need any accommodations but will sometimes transpose letters when hand writing, and sometimes even in the computer, as you can probably see in my spelling. Is this something that could be a problem with getting a travel job? And should I make sure and explain to my interviewer. It has never been a problem with another job I have had. I have 5 years clinic and 2.5yrs as a peds homecare/school nurse as a LPN. Thank you.

Response

First on the housing, that is kind of a complicated question. Most likely the money that is paying for your housing is not coming out of your check directly. But instead it is coming out of what the company bills the hospital for your services. This is normal for most companies. The money that a company makes from a travel nurse is allotted differently at every company, but ultimately that is where all benefits, pay, insurance etc. have to come from.

Some companies do offer a housing stipend where you get paid the money directly and it is up to you to find and set up your own housing. But if you are just staring out as a traveler this is probably not the best option.

As far as the hospital or clinic deciding what kind of housing you get and whether you are charged or not does not sound right. You may want to talk to different companies.

When it comes to working with a learning disability that is something you should discuss with your recruiter. There are quite a few tests you will have to take like the PBDS for instance that require writing as well as any electronic charting you may be required to do. So start with talking with your recruiter and see what they suggest. Just make sure your recruiter is looking at the whole of your qualifications so the quality of what kind of nurse you are shines through, regardless of any learning disability.

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Question:

Is it typical to not have your housing all secured when you go to an assignment? My company had me lined up for an apartment, I thought. When I got to my destination, I was put in a very unsavory motel, which I refused to stay in for safety reasons. I decided on another nearby motel, which seemed a little better and it has been fine. My company still doesn't know where to put me. I've been in the hotel for 4 days. I feel very disappointed but if this is usual, I will move on and get over it.

Response

I know in small towns itís very hard to find apartments that are willing to do a three month lease. If you find one they may not be the quality of housing that you want. Sometimes it is necessary to go to a hotel if there are no options for rentals in that town, but a good company would warn you of this before you even set out on your assignment. Nothing should be a surprise for you!!! I would talk to your recruiter and ask if they have plans to get you an apartment of if they plan on keeping you in a hotel. I would also go one step further and ask as to why your recruiter didnít discuss this with you before going on assignment.Question for you is did they alter your pay since you had to live in a hotel for the entire stay. I would expect a change in pay since the housing is not an apartment which you wanted. Back to top

Question


I am trying to find the best way to rent out a home that I have here in Las Vegas. It is a new house being built and for investment purpose only. Since I am a nurse that works with many travelers, I thought I would offer it to reputable people, (RN's) for many obvious reasons. I had heard horror stories of the traveler's housing problems and thought this would be a great idea for everyone involved. I read your Response to the question about the condo in HA, but am curious if you know of specific travel companies that house many of their nurses in Las Vegas, that would be good to start with? I'd appreciate any input you could provide. Thank you.

Response


Unfortunately, I don't know of any agencies that tend to specifically staff in Las Vegas. I invite any travelers that do know of an agency to email us and we will post this information. Otherwise, let me suggest a few ways to go about searching:

-You can advertise your housing for free in our classified section

-You can go to our "meet other travelers" section of our website and email travelers in the las vegas area and ask them who they traveled with or if they know any travelers in the area and what agencies they are with.

- Finally, you can call local hospitals human resource department, explain your situation, and see if they would be willing to tell you a few names of agencies they tend to use.

Hope this helps you a little in your search. Let us know what you find out. We would love to share this information with our readers. I am sure many travelers would love to go to Vegas.

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Question


I would like to start travel nursing in april/may 2005.. I am doing some research right now on the agency I would like to travel with. It is downright impossible to contact every agency to find out their availability of assingments.. but I will be traveling doing L&D/ post partum adn well baby nursery.. are there any companies that are 'known' for staffing these kind of nursing positions? So far the only conclusion I've come up with is the bigger the company, the more availability.. but I just didnt want to pass up a smaller company that specializes in these positions. Also.. will travel agencies negotiate on things like housing? I really like one large company with a good availability for what I do, but the housing is only free if it is shared, and I'd rather not pay for private housing. Do you think there is a good chance we can negotiate on private housing? How do I go about this?

Response


Sounds like you have a good grasp of what you want which is a good start. I don't know of any particular company that tends to specialize in that area. If anyone does, I envite them to email and share their knowledge.

You are right, a large company is probably a good start. However, many companies do provide private housing so don't feel like you have to go with a company who only has shared housing. Furthermore, don't feel like you are limited to one company. You can take an assignment with one company that has an assignment in your specialty and then take an assignment with another company that has an assignment. This way, everyone's assignment list is yours and you will be able to find work. There are well over 100 agencies out there.

Furthermore, housing can often be negotiated especially if you are willing to give up something else. Let's say you don't really need health insurance coverage for some reason. That would be the perfect opportunity to ask for private housing instead. Have them tell you all the benefits they offer and how much they offer for each of them and then see if there is a negotiation in there somewhere. Ask them how you might negotiate for private housing. Many of them will work with you as long as they stay within their alotted bugeted amount for benefits. If they don't seem willing to at least take a look at it with you. You may want to reconsider whether this is the type of company you want to work with. It would be a good test of their willingness to work with you in the future.

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Question


My husband and I, both RNs, are thinking about travel in a RV. What are the pros and cons of this? Thanks

Response


Traveling in an RV can be fun and financially rewarding. The RV serves as a comfortable transportation vehicles as well as a mobile house. You would save additional money living in an RV while collecting travel allowances and housing subsidies. When it was all said and done, traveling will have also paid off your RV which you can then sell or upgrade. You no longer have to pack and unpack or wonder what type of housing you will have when you arrive to an assignment. The down side is that you will be limited to RV park locations. From what I understand, this isn't much of a problem. You should be able to find one fairly close to the hospital. There are many RV parks throughout the United States.

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Question


Looking for info on Phelps Memorial Hospital in Sleepy Hollow New York. Especially housing. Anyone?

Response


I assume you are wanting information from other travelers such as what it is like to work there and what the housing is like. If this is the case, I would post this question in our membership forum for all to respond to. Also, if you go to the websites meet members section ....you can email nurses in New York. They may have heard what it is like. The meet members section was created for just this kind of reason. You can quickly gain and share information with one another.


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