Tuesday, June 17, 2008

HealthCareerWeb: Traveling Nurses - Choosing an Agency & Questions to Ask

One of my good friends from way back in elementary school recently took a job as a Traveling Nurse. She has worked in hospitals and doctors offices and really felt tied down. She's a huge traveler - I think she's been to just about every continent except maybe Africa and Austraila. Anyways she just started a job as a traveling nurse. In her position she found she could temporarily live in a new city for 6 months (or whatever the agency terms are) and see more of the United States, still work and experience a new place.

Her sister recently visited me and I've talked with her on the phone just about what it's like and how she's really been happy with the way things have turned out. Apparently she makes a pretty good salary and doesn't have to pay living expenses.

Upon doing some research on traveling nursing for this job blog, I found a great resource - a checklist of questions to ask a recruiter about your housing situation when trying to decide on a traveling nurse assignment.

Here are a few:
  • What kind of housing is being offered, private or shared?
  • If shared, can I request a nonsmoking roommate or a roommate that works the same shift as I do?
  • Where is the housing located and when can I move in?
  • Can I get a housing stipend if I live in a home I have purchased in my new assignment area, live out of town with friends or relatives, or rent a home on my own while on assignment?
  • If the travel agency offers a stipend to pay for utilities, when is it paid and is it taxed?

There are more so definitely read the full post.

Another great resource is Highway Hypodermics. It's a travel nursing blog that highlights every month another agency. This could be really helpful in trying to decide what agency is right for you. Some of the ones already highlighted were: MedStaff Oklahoma, Nursing Options, Nationwide Nurses, Intelistaff. You can go through their archives for more but those are just a few.

When selecting an agency don't be afraid to ask questions and find a company that is going to keep your goals and ambitions in mind when placing you in different assignments. One article had good advice and suggested asking for traveling nurses who have worked with the agency as a reference. You can call up this nurse who has already worked for the agency and get an idea of what working with them is really like.

GoTravelNursing suggests to ask some what-if questions to get an idea of what all is involved in your contract:

What If: you call in sick during your assignment, or What If: you had to leave for an emergency? Know in advance what the contract stipulates. You may owe some of your housing allotment back.

What If: the hospital takes you off the schedule due to a low census; will you be required to make up that time at the end of the contract? Now is the time to ask.

What If: you fall in love with your dream assignment and the facility wants to offer you full time employment?

What If: during your assignment you find a great opportunity with a different travel agency? Will you be prohibited from switching agencies? Know in advance what your contract will and won’t allow.

Hopefully if you're considering being a traveling nurse that this is helpful in helping you figure out what to do next. Of course if you're looking for a long term career, or not sure where to start, you can always search for nursing jobs anywhere in the U.S. on HealthCareerWeb.com as well as connect and network with other medical professionals.

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