So you’ve decided travel nursing is your next path or career move, or you’ve made the transition from traditional nursing to travel nursing. What’s next? There are a lot of components to consider when planning for your new life, applying to companies, or accepting a job offer. While a lot of the fun and excitement of this career path is the chance to try out new cities and locations and get to explore more of the world while developing your career, the less appealing part can definitely be considering and comprehending your new pay package at each assignment or stop. One of the major parts of a travel nursing position and job offer is the stipend. This means it should be one of your primary concerns when planning for your life logistics and when choosing an agency or job to accept.
What is this stipend? In the simplest terms, it’s an amount of money provided upfront as a stipend to cover your housing, meals, and incidentals costs while you’re on a travel assignment (technically several stipends covering different needs). As you can imagine, when traveling to new cities for new assignments, you typically won’t have a built-in place to live, or even an idea of the housing options in your new locale. This stipend is a major part of your pay package with each new agency and assignment, and it’s an important factor. Also important are the stipend offerings for food and other expenses you’ll encounter on an assignment, including moving costs. However, it becomes more confusing to understand because each agency handles the housing stipend differently.
Before exploring this stipend in more detail, it’s important to understand the concept of GSA Per Diem Rates. Essentially, the General Services Administration (GSA) has a variety of responsibilities, one of which is determining per diem rates for federal employees, the rates that cover official expenses during business travel and do so tax-free. As travel nursing is often entirely “business travel” these per diem concepts come into play often.
However, while the government powers that be refer to this sum as a per diem, the more accurate and typical terminology in the travel nursing field is a stipend, as that definition (a fixed sum paid as a salary or allowance) is a more accurate fit. Per diem implies “daily” and that’s not as much the case, as travel nursing stipends are typically paid weekly to monthly, depending on the agency and the purpose.
The GSA provides standard per diem lodging rates for most locations and major cities. This means you can look up the governmental rate for federal employees, per day of business travel. For instance, if the GSA rate for a city is $100 per day, you’d have to expect $3000 per month (to meet that daily marker), but that will never be the case. The GSA rates are always assigned as maximum amounts, so it’s not a requirement these markers even be hit for short-term federal employee business travel, let alone long-term nursing workers. These contracts, as opposed to a few days in a hotel, generally span about 13 weeks, and no less than 8. This means two plus months of lodging required for each travel nursing assignment. Travel healthcare workers can usually obtain affordable short-term apartments or great discounts at extended-stay hotels. When agencies assign stipend amounts, they have to believe that you’ll reasonably use the amount they’ve selected on monthly accommodations, and not substantially more or less. So agencies base their provided amounts on the general prices of short-term lodging in the city in question.
In many instances, you’ll be offered either a housing stipend or company-provided lodging. Often, choosing the stipend is the smart financial move. If you take the stipend and manage to find a place that costs less than the allotment, you could walk away with some extra spending money in your pocket each month. There are other, more complicated, possible scenarios, but this is the primary one you’ll encounter with many agencies. It’s also fair to consider how much work you want to put into finding a place to live, and your standards for lodging. If you only want to live in a nice apartment in a particular area, it may be a challenge to hunt down a short-term option within your desired parameters. It may also create undue stress during the moving process, or take some time. In this case, the company-offered housing may be the safest and easiest option. But, if you’re willing to put in some extra work or you don’t mind more of a budget option, you could easily end each month with plenty left in your stipend to use as you please.
Meals and Incidental Expenditures Stipend
Otherwise known as M&IE, this stipend is a completely separate entity of its own and covers food and other expenses incurred during work and business travel. It’s referred to by a few names, so it’s smart to confirm with a new agency how they refer to it in their pay package as you’re assessing options. As with lodging, the GSA has a daily M&IE rate established for cities around the country. You can look up those rates here to get a better idea. From there, it’s established on an agency by agency basis and is very dependent on the other components in the pay package. If an agency is offering a higher M&IE stipend, there’s a good chance they’re also giving you a lower base hourly pay. It’s got to come from somewhere. That’s why it’s crucial to compare and assess all components of any offered pay packages to see where the pros and cons lie and the sum total you’ll be earning and have available to spend on other expenses.
Helpful Tips to Keep in Mind
- If you’re offered a stipend amount and are wondering if it’s high or low for the area you’re assigned, there are online groups and message boards where you can easily reach out to others to see what they were offered in a similar area.
- According to one travel nurse, it’s smart to comparison shop. If you get an offer, compare it to other similar companies for similar locations. Agencies will usually try to match another agency’s stipend if you can prove that it’s higher. If they want to hire you, they also don’t want to lose you right away over a low stipend issue. They’ll want to start off on a good foot as much as you do.
- Travel nursing stipends and pay packages are like a pie: if the agency is offering more for one portion, they will usually be offering less on another, whether that be another stipend, benefits, or overall salary. They will make up for a smaller rate on one benefit by providing more for something else.
- Different states allow different stipends. Just because you got something with an agency at your last location doesn’t mean you can automatically expect the same on a new assignment in a different state.
- You’ll need to keep records to prove various expenses you’re using your stipend for. Keep records of your housing, mileage, food, and so on.
Remember to reach out to Stability to see if you have any questions regarding your stipend. We are here to answer any questions you may have so you can make the most out of your travel nursing experience.Read More
Perhaps, the biggest perk of being a travel nurse is the flexibility to choose your schedule. Travel nurses get to explore the world while fulfilling their career and passion. If you’re looking for your spring assignments, why not pair your destination with the right city to visit during this season. Check out these top-ranking cities to visit during spring, and whether you’re going on an assignment or as personal leisure, you’re bound to enjoy these cities at their fullest potential.
1. Manhattan, New York
Let’s start with New York City. During spring, you get a quieter time in the city, with fewer people overall. Not to mention, the weather is divine, not too hot or too cold, just between the 50s and low 70s. Walk around the bloomed city and embrace spring at its finest by taking a stroll down Central Park.
Don’t miss the orchid show at the New York Botanical Garden, when thousands of orchids from around the world transform the garden into a majestic tropical jungle. In the subject of flowers, stop by the Macy’s flower show and see close to a million flowers perfectly laid out around the store.
Enjoy the weather and take a short trip to Conney Island and explore New York from a different point of view. Finally, take advantage of the multiple spring festivals, and art shows happening around the city for a complete cultural experience.
2. Breckenridge, Colorado
Known as one of the most charming small towns to visit in Colorado, this ski-season favorite is also a must-visit in spring. Not only will lodging be at its cheapest, but you’ll also get to enjoy the beautiful weather as you explore this town.
Don’t miss the Breck spring Beer Festival for a unique artisanal experience. And enjoy some music with the Bud Light Concert Series, usually happening throughout spring.
If you want to live a more adventurous vacation, consider X-country (Nordic skiing), a type of skiing in which the toe of the boot is fixed to the binding in a manner that allows the heel to rise off the ski. Spring-time is the best time of the year to practice this style.
3. Sedona, Arizona
Get ready for a vacation that will blow your mind. Explore the openness and serenity of Arizona and get lost in its trails and canyons. With over more than 100 hiking trails, there always something exciting to try around here. Spring-time is peak season in Arizona thanks to its gorgeous weather, so make sure to plan your stay.
For baseball fans, Arizona is also home to Spring Training practices and games, making it the perfect city to visit during this time of the year.
Overall, you can choose from hiking, horseback riding, or just basking in the amazingness these natural mountains have to offer. Ask around and get an extensive list of all the national parks worth visiting in the area — none will disappoint.
Finally, take some time to relax! Sedona is home to celebrity-worthy spas and retreat hotels. Unplug from everything and enjoy a well-deserved vacation at one of their famous boutique spas.
4. Washington, D.C.
While Washington is a city you can visit year-round, spring is mainly a beautiful season to do so. First of all, the entire town is covered by blossoming cherry trees all over that give this ethereal and magical background to a somewhat cold-looking city. Not to mention, the weather is divine during this time of the year, usually in the high 50s and low 70s.
While you’re there, give yourself a few days to stop by and visit the dozens of historic landmarks. Honestly, it might seem that everywhere you look, you’re staring at a bit piece of history. From the White House to the Capitol and every other museum in between, there are countless opportunities for you to get in touch with your cultural side while visiting Washington.
Before you leave, make sure to stop by Georgetown. This small but crowded area is a must-see while in Washington. Experience a more youthful vibe to the city and bask in the beautiful colorful-painted doors that line up the streets. Stop by a few local bars, and don’t forget to enjoy some shopping at some of the local boutiques.
Remember to reach out to Stability to see if we can help you schedule your assignments during spring at one of these must-visit cities. Make the most out of your role as a travel nurse by exploring the world at the same time.Read More
After working a long shift, you’re going to want to put up your feet and relax in a comfortable atmosphere. Luckily, there are several ways you can find the perfect housing for yourself. When looking for housing, you should write out a list of must-have features, such as your desired distance from the facility you’re working at, amenities you need (laundry on-site, a dishwasher, etc.), how much space you want, and whatever else you consider to be necessary for your living space. After you curate a list, you can turn to these methods of searching to find housing that checks off all of your must-haves:
AirBnB is a great option for housing, especially for a shorter-term placement. The website is easy to navigate, allowing a user to select a city (worldwide!), designate price range, view photos of the unit, and more. Their search tool is extremely customizable. It includes options to narrow down specifics, such as property type, extra amenities like a full kitchen, wifi, parking, and more. You can also choose to rent a full unit, like an entire house, or just a solo room. Additionally, for travel nurses looking for even more adventure on top of their traveling, more recreational-oriented stays are available from bungalows to tiny houses.
Craigslist is one of the most common search engines to find housing. There are plenty of gems posted by users, including long term rentals, short term sublets, and singular rooms for rent. Craigslist is worldwide and you can narrow your search down by city. There is an interactive map which shows which neighborhood the listing appears, usually on the street that the unit is on, so you can get a broad overview of where the unit is in relation to other places in the city. This makes it easier to see how far your rental will be from the facility you’re working at or the distance from places you frequent. There is also a list view if you prefer to view your options in that format.
HotPads is geared towards those looking for a more straightforward rental. Although it’s mostly used to find apartments, more traditional homes are also available. On their website, there are a ton of unique, helpful tools, such as a commute time calculator. HotPads was created by three college students looking for housing themselves, so you know it’s focused on making things as easy for its users as possible.
Furnished Finder is a very common search tool for travel nurses and medical staffing companies. Furnished Finder is made specifically for traveling professionals, and excludes those who are looking to vacation. If you don’t want to manually search yourself, you can simply submit a housing request with your living space must-haves. Furnished Finder will alert property owners that fit in your criteria and directly connect you. As an added benefit, their Resources tab provides a significant amount of information, like how to stay safe and avoid scams while searching.
Overall tips and tricks to finding housing
- If you’re worried about moving costs, keep in mind that Stability Healthcare provides up to $600 in travel reimbursements for your assignment. Additionally, if you find your own housing, you may be eligible for a lodging subsidy.
- Stay safe and trust your gut. Most often, your instincts will be right. If a unit seems too good to be true, it’s best to look at other options. If you are able to check out the unit before moving in, view the unit with a friend or partner. Never meet with a stranger alone.
- Don’t forget about hotels! Some hotels offer discounts for those who are staying for an extended period of time. Most hotels have wifi, restaurants, a room-keeping service, etc. They also tend to be more flexible if something comes up and you have to cancel your stay.
- Check to see if the unit comes furnished or not. If you would prefer to skip the heavy lifting, see which units come fully furnished.
- If you are able to, check out the neighborhood before moving in. Does it seem safe? Is the street quiet? Is there night-life nearby that you’d like to join in on? Not only is your actual unit important, but the atmosphere it’s in is also extremely important. If you can’t physically go check out the neighborhood, check online to see feedback from those who have lived there or who are currently living there.
- Ask other travel nurses. The best way to get reliable information is from people who are currently working in your position. If you’re able to, ask them for advice or recommendations.
Stability Healthcare is an industry leader in travel nursing. If you’re looking for more resources, read more on our blog. You’ll find everything from Tips for Surviving the Night Shift to How to Navigate Health Insurance.Read More
If you have a never ending stream of long shifts and find yourself often begrudgingly picking up takeout on your meal breaks or ordering in overpriced delivery you barely want, meal prepping may be your new food savior. Yes, it’s extra work on your meal prep day, but do it right and you’ll only have to cook your work meals once for the entire week!
A few basic rules of thumb for any meal prep:
- Try to include a grain, vegetable, and protein in any meal you prep. That will ensure that the meal keeps you full for the rest of your shift.
- There are affordable meal prep containers at almost any store and online. These have convenient sections to keep foods separate and make sure they last a few days without getting soggy. For example, if you’re making the fajita meal prep below, having a separate section for the meat and veggies, one for tortillas or rice, and one for other toppings like salsa or cheese will keep everything nice and fresh.
- Not all leftovers are made equally! Think of meal preps like week-long leftovers. Consider what foods you think are less good as leftovers and which are great. That’s a good starting point.
- Keep any sauces or wet ingredients separate until it’s time to eat. For instance, dipping sauces, salad dressings, and other liquid additions should be in a separate section or container until meal time.
A classic meal prep that you’re not likely to get bored of halfway through the week, this one is prepped mainly on a sheet pan and is a piece of cake to put together. You’ll need:
- Chicken breasts
- Veggies to roast, mainly peppers and onions
- Olive oil
- Any other desired toppings, including avocado, cilantro, cheese, salsa, sour cream
Prep is simple: cut the chicken breasts into strips or chunks, cut the veggies, and then toss them all with oil and seasoning on a baking sheet. Then bake for 15-20 minutes. To assemble the meals, put cooked chicken and veggies in one container or section. Then separate tortillas and any other desired toppings. Things like avocado or cilantro are better when cut fresh, so that may be a quick item you add in the morning (or whenever) before heading to work. You can find the full recipe here!
Greek Couscous Salad
Here’s a great healthy and vegetarian option. A lot of vegetarian meals (falafels, salads, pasta salad, and so on) make great meal prep, since some meat doesn’t reheat great. This one is easy and super fresh. You’ll need:
- Pearled couscous (the bigger stuff!)
- Vegetables, including cucumbers, peppers, red onion, cherry tomatoes, olives, and artichokes
- Dressing ingredients, including red wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and dijon mustard
To prep, cook the couscous and chop the veggies (fairly small). Mix the dressing ingredients together and store in small containers or a jar; don’t add it right to the couscous until it’s time to eat or it’ll get soggy and lose texture. Combine the couscous, veggies, and feta in one container and bring the dressing separately. Get the full recipe here!
Roasted Sausage and Vegetable Bowls
A great, veggie-packed meal prep that requires only a sheet pan and a small bit of your time (and money). This sheet pan meal features a smoky dressing and can be served with rice or another grain of your choice (quinoa, couscous, and mashed potatoes would all work). You’ll need:
- Smoked sausage
- Veggies of your choice, including broccoli, red onion, and bell pepper
- Rice (or other grains)
- Dressing ingredients, including olive oil, red wine vinegar, mustard, sugar, and spices
To prep, slice the sausages and chop the vegetables, then roast them all on a sheet pan. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar, shake, and let sit. To assemble the containers, start with cooked rice, top with the roasted sausage and veggies, and some of the dressing. Save the rest of the dressing and the parsley garnish to add as you heat and eat. For the full recipe, head here.
If none of these meal preps are particularly inspiring, or you’re ready to try something new, consider these ideas:
- Breakfast bowls with potatoes, eggs, meat, and veggies
- Cold peanut noodle salad
- Orzo pasta salad (with cheese, hardboiled eggs, and veggies on the side)
- Quinoa and veggie salad
- Burrito bowls (any meat or beans)
- Turkey stir-fry
- Hummus and falafel bowls
- Roasted chicken and vegetables
- Wraps with side items
- Salsa chicken and rice (in the slow cooker)
- Stuffed peppers
- Overnight oats
The importance of having health insurance coverage is paramount for everyone – especially travel nurses. However, most travel nurses depend solely on their employers for health insurance coverage. Unlike traditional nurses, travel nurses often change from agency to agency, making keeping health insurance rather complicated.
The Basics of Travel Nurse Insurance
Most travel nurses believe they won’t be eligible for health care coverage because they travel all the time. Not to mention, due to the nature of their work, switching employers is a common practice. Besides, they’re often looked at as contract or temporary workers, rather than full-time employees. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Most travel nurses are eligible to receive health insurance coverage under their agency’s contracts. Not to mention, most of the time, these health insurance plans cover dental and vision as well.
Do Travel Nurses Get Health Insurance?
They do. However, it depends. The majority of nursing agencies do offer health insurance for travel nurses. But, most of the time, coverage is only available when you’re on assignment. Reading the start and end dates of your coverage before you sign any contract is crucial to ensure you understand the extent of your health insurance coverage under the agency’s specific plan.
Pros & Cons of Choosing the Agency’s Health Insurance Policy
There are always two sides to a travel nursing agency healthcare coverage offering. Just as they’re with any other company that offers health plan coverage for their employees.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of choosing the agency’s health insurance policy.
- The travel nursing agency makes the process of setting up your health insurance policy without you having to do all the work.
- Often, the agency’s health insurance plan is more affordable than finding private insurance on your own. Most of the time, agencies cover some, if not all, of the cost.
- Usually, the agency’s insurance plan offers better coverage than external solutions.
- Often, gaps in coverage are common. Not all agencies’ health insurances start right away.
- Most travel nursing agency insurances only cover you while you’re on assignment. Your coverage depends entirely on your employment.
- When working with multiple agencies, your health insurance deductible thresholds might change.
Pros & Cons of Choosing a Private Health Insurance Policy
Like any other employee, travel nurses have the option to decline coverage through the agency and seek their coverage through a private policy. Similarly to choosing the agency’s plan, there are some ups and downs of taking private insurance coverage.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of preferring a private health insurance policy as a travel nurse.
- There won’t be any gaps in coverage.
- It provides greater flexibility and personalization to meet your healthcare needs.
- It allows you to work with as many agencies as you want without worrying about deductibles.
- Private insurance policies are often more expensive. You’ll have to pay for the policy on its fullest.
- You’ll have to do the research and the enrolling process by yourself.
- Might not provide the same coverage or benefits as the agency’s insurance policy. Often, it will be less.
Travel Nurse Insurance Options
Once you’ve chosen between the agency’s health plan or private insurance, it’s time to analyze the different options available. Keep in mind that these will change based on the type of health insurance plans your agency offers.
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)
With this plan, you have access to a network of preferred healthcare providers chosen by the insurance company. Choose this type of plan if you’re expecting to see specialists often and if you plan to stay at the same location for quite some time.
- The network of providers is only local.
- In-Network providers are usually covered entirely.
- Out-of-network providers are still available at a higher co-pay rate.
PPO for Travel Workers
Similarly to the previous plan, but with a broader network of providers. Choose this type of policy if you know you’ll be moving across different states.
- The network of providers expands over several states.
- You’ll have to check the different providers in each state.
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
With this plan, you must choose a Primary Care Physician (PCP). To see any specialist, you’ll need a referral from your PCP. Choose this style of plans if you already have a PCP or primary healthcare provider.
- Referrals must be within your HMO network.
- You’ll have to pay for all the costs if you use an out-of-network provider.
- Medical emergencies may be covered whether providers are in-network or not.
Online PPO plans, HMO plans require a primary healthcare provider, which can only be local.
Point of Service (POS)
Consider this a hybrid plan, including some aspects of an HMO and some of the PPO policy. With this type of policy, you still need a Primary Care Physician, but your out-of-network providers are more affordable.
- Access to a bigger network than HMOs, but smaller than PPOs.
- Visits to out-of-network providers are partially covered.
- Often have high deductibles and premiums.
Maintaining Your Travel Nurse Insurance Policy
When it comes to choosing healthcare coverage as a travel nurse, there are many questions. What will it cover? Will my insurance stop working if I’m on vacation? What happens if I switch travel nursing agencies? Can I keep my insurance after my assignment is completed? These are all valid questions you should pose to the agency you’re considering before signing any agreement.
However, in most cases, whether you’re a travel nurse or a contract employee with benefits, know that leaving or changing jobs is a qualifying event for you to be open to purchase or seek health insurance again.
All of this is thanks to COBRA, The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. Under this federal health insurance program, eligible employees and their dependents can continue the benefits of existing health insurance coverage if they lose their job.
In almost all cases, whether you willingly or involuntarily leave a job, which means your benefits are terminated, you’re eligible for COBRA coverage. The best part? In the majority of the cases, you’ll be able to purchase the same health coverage plan at your employee’s group rate. Under COBRA, you can continue this type of coverage for up to 18 months, or over, if you qualify.
How to Apply for COBRA
If you have a qualifying event in your career, meaning you voluntarily left an agency or you’re terminated, you have time to file for COBRA coverage.
- Ask your employer to notify their plan administrators within 30 days of your departure.
- Wait up to 14 days to receive an election or qualifying notice from your plan administrator.
- You have up to 60 days to file all paperwork and send it back to the administrator.
- Then, you have 45 days to pay the initial premium.
Of course, all of this applies when you choose to accept the agency’s health insurance plan in the first place. If you decided to use private insurance instead, remember that you’re responsible for the payments, whether you’re employed or not.
What to Consider When Looking for the Right Travel Nurse Insurance Plan
Choosing the right travel nurse insurance plan is a personal decision. You have to consider your current health needs, the type of medications and prescriptions you require, your family-planning schedule, and so forth.
Here are some things to consider when choosing the right one.
- When does coverage starts? Some travel nursing agencies offer coverage from day one, while others have a more extended waiting period.
- What are the premiums and copays? Make sure you’re able to negotiate or find the lowest premiums and co-pay options possible.
- Are dental and visual coverage included? Having a more comprehensive plan will be more beneficial and cheaper in the long run.
- What about prescription medication coverage? If you need regular prescriptions, ask about the out-of-pocket cost for prescriptions under the various plans they offer.
- Can you get coverage between jobs? Even if you don’t switch agencies, ask about what happens when you’re on vacation or not on an assignment. Some travel nursing agencies will extend your coverage during your time off.
Want to Learn More about Travel Nurse Insurance?
Stability Healthcare is an industry leader in travel nursing. Our outstanding benefits include day-1 premium insurance, paid-time-off, and competitive pay. Visit our benefits page to learn more about our packages. If you still have questions, contact our representatives. They are always available to help you start a fascinating career in the travel nursing field.Read More
The night shift…someone has to do it, but that doesn’t mean it’s anyone’s first choice of schedule. Whether you’re stuck with your first night shifts and aren’t sure how you’re going to make it through or you’re a veteran night-shifter looking for some new ways to stay alert and survive the night, here are some tried and true tips from nurses who’ve been in your shoes.
Eat and drink smart to stay awake
Besides relying on your caffeinated drink of choice, drink a ton of water so there’s no chance of dehydration making you more tired than you need to be. Coffee and other caffeinated drinks are definitely essential, but also be careful to use them properly so you don’t end up fading when they wear off. If you’re getting tired, chew gum or eat licorice; the intense flavors are great for a boost of focus and energy, plus the act of chewing itself keeps your body a bit more awake. And plan your “dinner” time for around 1 a.m., or whenever you might start really dragging during the shift. Pick snacks that give a good healthy energy boost, things with plenty of protein are good picks. The “grazing method” of small snacks throughout the shift can be another good way to continuously get a bit more energy.
Even if you’re on a slow shift or are working on desk work, get up and move often. Walk around the building or your station. If you need to wake up even more, do lunges or other simple exercises up and down the hallway or at your workstation.
Make sure you’ll make it home safely
Before getting in a car to drive home (if you are driving yourself), be sure that you’re completely awake and safe to make it all the way back. If you have any doubt, there’s no harm in taking a fifteen-minute nap in your car to recharge enough to get home safely. If you think you’re safe to drive but still want to be sure to stay alert, there are plenty of classic ways to do so–blast music, keep the windows down, and keep chewing gum or eating licorice.
Find ways to keep your mind active on the job
Typically night shifts are the busier or more demanding times to work, but if you’re on a slow shift or location, finding good ways to keep your mind busy or fun ways to fill breaks is a good idea. Obviously talking to other coworkers on the same shift is the easiest and best way to stay up and get some more enjoyment out of work. But if you want to fill some time in other ways, read for a bit, catch up on work-related news or projects, or listen to music quietly at your station even while working (if you can).
Find a smart sleep cycle
Of course, when working nights sleeping during the day is not only helpful but necessary. If you find it hard to get enough sleep during daytime hours, invest in blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out the light (which can be hard to adjust to). Be sure to find time during the day when you’ll be able to have a quiet house or bedroom to get enough sleep to survive the next night. And if you can, be smart about grouping shifts–try to work 2-3 night shifts in a row, then sleep as much as possible in between them and flip your sleep schedule on your days off.
Once you’ve locked in your first travel nursing assignment and you’ve sorted out all of the details … it’s officially packing time! At first, this may seem like a daunting task that you’ll never be able to accomplish, but if you take it step by step you’ll have everything you need to hit the ground running.
To get started, we’ve broken up the packing list into 5 categories: must-haves, clothing, toiletries, home goods, and extras.
These are the important things that you absolutely should not be without. While this may seem like common sense, it’s important to have these on your list so you don’t forget.
- Driver’s license / Passport
- Insurance cards
- Social security card
- Emergency contact list
This is where it can get tricky with overpacking, so let’s start with the basics.
- Scrubs (or other uniform required by your facility)
- Long Sleeve Shirts
- A pair or two of fun shoes – sandals, heels, booties
- One dressy outfit
- Weather dependant: raincoat, winter coat, etc.
Depending on your personal routine or plans you have for your free time, you might want to add in work out clothes, hiking boots, swimwear, or any other activity-specific clothing.
Cutting back on the toiletries that you pack is a great way to save space when you are packing. Shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothpaste, etc. are all things that can easily be purchased when you arrive at your final destination. You will want to bring along your make-up bag and any specialty items that you may not be able to find easily elsewhere.
Before you get started on this section of your packing list, now is a good time to check with your housing situation to find out what they will be providing. Below is a general guide of things that you’ll need to bring if they don’t already have them.
- Sheets, comforter/duvet, blankets
- Minimal dishes and utensils
- Pot and pan
- Tea kettle/ Coffee maker
- Laundry basket
While you might be able to survive without these things, they sure are great to have. Remember that you’ll be having a totally new experience and making some incredible memories!
- Laptop + charger
- A journal
- Any special items to make you feel at home
Packing a personal relic or two will make your new place feel more like home. Whether that be a special blanket or your favorite coffee mug, don’t feel silly for bringing it along – it will bring great comfort when you’re adjusting to a new place.Read More
Licensure by endorsement, sounds pretty straightforward right? Well, it is the term used when someone has an RN license in one jurisdiction and wants to work in another. Roughly half of U.S. states associate with the nurse licensure compact, which is basically an agreement which enables an RN to be mobile in several states. Finding accurate, up-to-date information regarding this subject can be tedious and frustrating. So we’ve put together pertinent information on how to obtain licensing.
In certain situations, a licensed RN doesn’t need to obtain additional requirements. It all depends on your home state licensing agreements. Some states offer a multi-state license to nurses. It’s best to check with your home state licensing rules for clarity.
- The first step within the initiation process is to complete your licensing exam. Registered nurses must take this exam called the NCLEX-RN, short for National Council Licensure Examination. This test determines if a candidate is prepared for entry-level nursing practice. The exam is comprised of four main categories and eight subcategories. Questions are formatted predominantly in a four-question multiple choice style. The test can consist of up to 265 questions and you will have a maximum of six hours to complete. Optional breaks are allowed at intervals.
The four major test categories:
- Safe And Effective Care Environment
- Health Promotion and Maintenance
- Psychosocial Integrity
- Physiological Integrity
The NCLEX-RN exam is a pass or fail type of assessment. Conclusions of your test result will be determined by the administrator. Keep in mind, within 2-4 weeks, you will be notified by your State Board of Nursing. As with any test, go into it with confidence, but if you do fail, it’s not the end of your world. Many applicants don’t pass on their first try. You’ll receive a diagnostic report detailing what you need correction in. You’ll be permitted to retake the test after 45 days. If necessary, the second time will be a breeze.
- The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC, for short), which was created by the NCSBN (Nurse Council of State Boards of Nursing) to give nurses the ability to obtain multistate licensing. This compact license allows nurses to provide health care across multistate jurisdictions. They’re able to practice in one state, as well as another and no have to pay additional licensing fees.
- Currently, there are roughly 25 states that participate in NLC.
- Eligibility requires an RN to not have any disciplinary actions taken against them.
- Their primary residence must be one of the participating states.
- Of course, they must be able to meet the educational requirements from their compact state.
- Keep current on licensing fees from all their jurisdictions. Certain states are particular when it comes to up-to-date licensing. It’s best to do an annual check on updates for each state.
- There are some states that offer temporary licenses, they’re often referred to as “walkthrough states”. Some states offer temporary licensure by endorsement for people who are relocating to another state, so they can continue employment. They are temporarily available for 30 days and up to 6 months.
- This is used to fill up positions in another area pretty quickly. These positions get filled up pretty fast since they’re in high demand. Since these are temporary licenses, nurses who are gonna stay longer than a six month period should apply for a permanent license in that particular state. If there are multiple states where you practice, it’s smart to check with a recruiter beforehand.
- They are a few sites that have assignments available for traveling nurses.
Fees and Requirements
- Obtaining licensing for compact states isn’t a difficult task to endure, it just takes some necessary steps. Of course, one of them is fees. The licensing fees range from $100-$400, depending on that particular state.
- If you want a permanent license in various states, then you’ll just have to pay the appropriate fees for each state.
- A criminal background and fingerprinting check is required.
- Continuing education is required for each state you participate in.
- Your proof of identity is required as well. This can be verified through your state driver’s license, passport, and your social security card.
- In some states, references are required as verification of work history.
Hope this article contained enough pertinent and relevant information to steer you in the right direction towards obtaining your compact license. Having your compact license as a nurse can make your life a lot easier. Most recruiters prefer nurses with their compact license because they are verified and have more credibility. This expedites the hiring process, making their job easier and gives you more opportunities. As long as you have a detailed plan and execution, there’s nothing in your way. I’ve found some great nursing opportunities from sites like this. There are a few others but it’s best to go with credible services like StabilityRead More
“I was checking the job board for Stability! I really like the transparency, I can see if it’s something I’m interested with the pay package. Super helpful!”
“The recruiter free jobs platform is great. I have control on my job search now and it’s comforting knowing the weekly rates are listed.”
Stability Healthcare’s recruiter-free job search allows you to have the freedom to view jobs and rates of your choice. Our unique platform brings technology and job placements together in an efficient and easy way, giving YOU the control and access to your career goals. As a travel nurse you are always adapting to new environments and Stability Healthcare creates the ability to have control of it all.
Tablets, smartphones, electronic medical records and other new technologies have permeated many nurses’ professional and personal lives. Without a doubt, the introduction of new technologies have brought considerable changes to a nurse’s day-to-day life, and it’s also changing the way job placements are handled. For example, charts are now easier to read and lab results can be available in real time, minimizing potential errors.
“Everything in our lives is made simple by technology; finding a travel nurse job should be no different.”
How Does Technology Help The Job Process?
- Easy Research- Stability’s recruiter-free search means you can view the jobs you want at the rates that you want. You’re given the opportunity to explore for new information that may not have been available before.
- Better Communication- stay connected with Stability Healthcare at your fingertips. Technology makes communicating with our team and your future placement more efficient!
- Instant Online Rates- two words: pay transparency. Who doesn’t love that?
- Faster Interviews- search for your job online, enter information on your profile, and select your ideal job, city and pay. These are all things that make your interview process quicker.
- Everything In One Place- have all your questions answered by visiting our FAQ page.
If you’re looking for a travel nurse agency, new housing or a new city for a new adventure, look no further than Stability. Technology doesn’t make or break a nurse, but it certainly helps put you in control.
While we can all acknowledge the advantages of using technology, it can sometimes be difficult to navigate. Stability has made it simple and easy. You’ll have more time for yourself as well as your family or current job. This is what we all live for, right? You’re using technology everyday, so why not use it while comparing your next nursing placement?
As a travel nurse you are used to adapting to new environments, cities and processes. Technology is the same way. It’s always progressing and evolving. From finding friends to finding a new food spot or hiking place- there’s an app for everything these days. Let technology be useful in your professional life not just your personal life.
We think travel nurses are superheroes–they can do it all! From administering medical care to educating family members about proper patient care, they get through whatever challenge might present itself next. Thinking of becoming a travel nurse? Want to know how to be better in your profession? Check out our list on the qualities every travel nurse should have.
Open to new changes
Travel nurses are used to a constantly changing environment. Whether it’s the changing atmosphere of patients in a medical office, or falling asleep to the sounds of a new town or city, a good travel nurse is excited for whatever change is around the bend.
With new changes always presenting themselves, good travel nurses are constantly having to adapt. Everything from policies and procedures, to supervisor and coworker names shift from facility to facility. Good travel nurses can easily adapt to such changes on new assignments.
Because things often change on the job, it’s crucial to be well organized. Good travel nurses are exceptionally organized and therefore can make adjustments or changes with little transition time. Organization is what makes a good travel nurse so stellar.
As a good travel nurse, you’re required to be a strong communicator. You’ll need to communicate with patients, fellow nurses, doctors, and other facility staff. Having great communication skills will allow you to communicate seamlessly with a variety of people on the job.
Love of adventure
Good travel nurses seek new adventures. They love to explore new places and seek out new activities, even when not on the job. They’re always on the hunt to try a new regional food dish or cross off a new item off their bucket list.
Passion for nursing and caregiving
At the end of the day, nurses are drawn to their profession out of a desire to help others. Good travel nurses want to make a positive impact on humanity in a truly personal way. Their desire to care for others is what gets out of bed each and every morning.
Think you have what it takes to be a good travel nurse? Check out our current job postings and reach out to your trusted Stability recruiter for more information!Read More