A Travel Nurse’s Guide To Crisis Nursing Jobs

Table of Contents

If you’re a nurse who enjoys traveling, thrives in high-energy and high-demand environments, isn’t tied to one place for long periods of time, and you’ve considered becoming a crisis travel nurse but want to learn more about what they do and how they work, this guide will answer all of your questions and explain the following:

  • What a travel nurse in a crisis does.
  • How much do they earn?
  • The advantages of working as a crisis travel nurse.
  • And a lot more.

Everything You Need To Know About Crisis Assignments

Q. What Are Crisis Nursing Assignments?

In reaction to a traumatic or significant incident with an unforeseen need for patient care, crisis response nurse positions are frequently short-term contracts (3-13 weeks) or project-based assignments.

Q. Are Crisis Assignments Different From Regular Travel Nursing Jobs?

Being a regular travel nurse and being a crisis travel nurse are two different things. Crisis travel nurse assignments occur without warning, usually as a result of an unforeseen catastrophe such as a natural disaster or pandemic.

 Also, it involves:
  • High-stress, fast-paced situations.
  • Depending on the nature of the crisis, shorter or longer-term missions may be required.

As a result, the differences between a routine travel nursing job and a crisis nurse assignment will exist because:

  • A crisis travel nursing position is unlikely to have a typical contract period.
  • Crisis travel nurses usually earn more.
  • And because the MICU and ICU are the most common places where crisis travel nurses are deployed.

Contract Lengths Are Different

Contract lengths for regular travel nurses might range from four weeks to a year. They’re usually around 13 weeks long. If you like the hospital and location where you’re working as a travel nurse, you can typically request a contract extension. Contracts for crisis travel nurse assignments can vary depending on the demand of the circumstances at the hospital to which you are sent.

 They Pay More Than Regular Assignments

Because of the job’s volatility and the high need for crisis travel nurses at unknown and unforeseen times, a crisis travel nurse typically earns 10-100% more than a standard travel nurse. Travel nurses, likewise, can earn more than regular staff nurses because they are filling a gap where a nurse is needed more urgently. They have the ability to negotiate their pay and get stipends for housing, meals, and miscellaneous expenses.

 They Are Usually For the ICU or MICU Floor

Because a crisis travel nurse is required in an unanticipated tragedy or widespread disease, they are frequently assigned to floors such as the MICU (Medical Intensive Care Unit) or ICU (Intensive Care Unit). Patients with infections or illnesses of the lungs, kidneys, or liver are treated in the MICU, as well as complications of the gastrointestinal tract; or overdose. Patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) frequently have life-threatening illnesses or injuries that necessitate: 24-hour care support for life; and medication that is closely monitored.

Type of Crisis Assignments

Different words will be used, such as crisis assignment or crisis rates. They’re all about immediate requirements. When a hospital experiences a census spike, an EMR upgrade, or a natural disaster, these assignments may be seen. A current example of this is the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are the types of crisis assignments:

What You Should Know About Crisis Assignments

Things To Consider Before Accepting A Crisis Nursing Assignment

Communication and support are more important than anything else. The safety of any agency’s nurses is its primary responsibility. Whether you’re a first-timer or an experienced nurse, it’s critical to inquire about your agency’s support for its nurses. Here are five things to take into account before accepting a crisis travel nursing position.

Physical Health

Your agency should have genuine RNs on staff who are dedicated to protecting your physical health, fighting for you within your institution, and listening to you if you need to speak with another nurse.

Financial State

With many crisis traveler nurses experiencing call-offs as a result of a decrease in hospital census, it’s critical to think about your income. Inquire about weekly pay, low-census protection programs, and payroll team accessibility before accepting the job.

Psychological Impact

The most important thing is to keep you safe. Look for a company that follows through on its promises. Is there a day-one insurance policy that protects you from the minute you walk into the unit, or will you have to wait? Inquire about mental and emotional health benefits, such as an Employee Assistance Program.


Your recruiter is your best ally for getting you working on the floor as soon as it is feasible. A reputable agency will have the resources, technology, and industry relationships necessary to offer you valuable information. To demonstrate how much they care (and how hard they work) for their nurses, inquire about how they supported them during cancellations and similar matters.

Tips For Crisis Nursing Jobs

Review Your Contract

Examine your wage rate, overtime rate, and housing stipend in detail. These contracts will last longer than 36 hours. They will be at least 48 hours long, with some working up to 60 hours every week. Also, remember to ask for your take-home pay after taxes, regardless of your filing status. This is must-know information, not total compensation, but net pay. If you have trouble leaving the city, make sure your housing stipend is sufficient to cover you during and after the assignment. Finally, find out what your company’s policy is in case you’re exposed and need to be confined. Will you have to work without compensation for the next two weeks? Will they cover your medical fees if you require treatment? Always double-check that you’re protected.

Secure Your Housing

Many people are unwilling to rent to health care employees, making this challenging. If you’re returning to a city you’ve previously visited, make contact with previous landlords. If you have the opportunity, connect with family or friends in the region. If you’re visiting a new place, it is recommended to stay in a hotel or stay near the institution or an extended period of time.

Location Matters

Determine whether you will fly or drive to the contract. Consider how much you’ll need to carry if you’re flying. Prepare for an extra two to three weeks in case the city imposes travel restrictions, and you must extend your stay.

Review Your Hospital’s PPE Guidelines

In terms of safeguards and personal protective equipment (PPE), the facility’s guidelines may differ from where you previously worked. Stay cooperative, but above all, protect yourself. Trust your instincts and what you believe you need to be protected from. Make sure you get enough rest and maintain your immunity by staying home and staying healthy on days off.

Pack For Longer Than What Your Assignment Is

Essentials. Remember that you have no notion of what kind of condition the city is in. They might not have what you’re looking for. You should pack everything. Have everything you’ll need to last the duration of your contract and at least two weeks after it ends. Simply be ready.

If The Pay Looks Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is

A crisis travel nurse is compensated better than a typical staff or travel nurse. There is a bigger profit where there is a larger risk. However, be skeptical of contracts that offer absurdly high income. Contracts with extraordinarily high remuneration are frequently cut or shortened due to financial constraints. While the high income of crisis travel nurse employment is a big benefit, consider contracts with appropriate remuneration to avoid losing the contract entirely.

Common Situations When Crisis Nursing Jobs Are Offered

Travel nurses are men and women who are used to dealing with change and can adjust to a variety of conditions. Temporary and generally short-term crisis pay employment is common. A crisis nurse contract is normally 2-6 weeks long, but it can be extended if necessary. Next are the most common situations in which crisis nursing jobs are needed:


It’s “all hands on deck” during a pandemic (such as COVID-19). For anyone working in the healthcare industry, pandemics can be a frightening and unpredictable period. For travel nurses, it means putting everything on hold in order to confront what others are avoiding. However, with higher risk comes increased remuneration in times of crisis. It can also be highly profitable for a travel nurse.

Seasonal Surges

Even when there isn’t a pandemic, there are seasons of the year when travel nurses are in more demand. Spring break, summer vacation, and winter break are when many adolescents celebrate the fact that they are no longer in school. Family trips and large family reunions are especially popular around this season. In the winter, snowbirds migrate from colder climates to the warmth of Florida or Arizona. Many tourists are drawn to vacation areas because of their relaxation and entertainment. However, this can result in overworked and understaffed local hospitals. This is where travel nurses (as well as crisis pay) come in handy. In addition, the seashore isn’t such a horrible location for a project.

Disaster Response

In most cases, a travel nurse responding to a crisis will have even less time to prepare than if they were reacting to a pandemic. The following are examples of disasters in which crisis travel nurses might work:

  • Mass shootings.
  • Attacks by terrorists.
  • Bombings.

Hospitals become focal points after any of these. For example, nurses and doctors treated 144 people at multiple hospitals after the Boston Marathon bombing. Natural calamities, such as earthquakes, are potentially even more deadly than killings or bombings. Other scenarios involve:

  • Mudslides
  • Wildfire\sTornadoes

Hundreds to thousands of people are killed as a result of these attacks, so when calamity strikes, travel nurses are called in because they are highly trained, motivated, and ready to help.

Regional Nurse Shortages

Even if there is no epidemic or natural disaster, there may be a substantial shortage of staff nurses in some locations (particularly rural areas), a situation known as a regional crisis. The nursing shortage has spread across the United States, with rural areas faring worse than their metropolitan counterparts. Travel nurses can assist fill in the gaps if this becomes a crisis.

What Do Crisis Travel Nurses Do?

A career as a crisis travel nurse is extremely fulfilling, and you may easily become one. A crisis travel nursing assignment occurs when a travel nurse accepts a contract to travel to an area that a crisis has hit. A travel nurse operating in a crisis situation should be able to:

  • Drop everything and go.
  • Willing and able to assist in any manner they can.
  • Support their colleagues.

Why Are Travel Nurses In High Demand?

When a large medical event occurs, such as an overflow of hospitalizations due to a natural catastrophe or a pandemic such as COVID-19, crisis travel nurses will most likely be hired in hospitals around the affected area.

What Are The Types Of Travel Nurses?

Crisis Nurse

crisis nurse usually works for a few weeks on a contract and stays at the same hospital for the duration. These nurses go to a catastrophe site to assist those who have been affected by it. Nurses that work in crisis situations are frequently exposed to high-risk situations and may require specialized training, such as ICU nursing.

Rapid Response Nurse

After accepting a contract, a rapid response nurse might start working as soon as two days later. The contracts are open-ended since nurses must remain on site until their services are no longer required. These nurses aren’t always called in to aid with disasters; they could be called in to assist with a software update or a surge in non-emergency patients.

How Long Are The Assignments For Travel Nurses?

They’re usually around 13 weeks long. If you like the hospital and location where you’re working as a travel nurse, you can typically request a contract extension. Contracts for crisis travel nurse assignments can vary depending on the demand of the circumstances at the hospital to which you are sent.

Crisis Travel Nurse Salary

What Is Crisis Pay?

What is Crisis pay for travel nurses? In general, workers are given extra pay when they are required to work longer hours, usually owing to a staffing shortage or if they are required to work in hazardous conditions. Workers who society cannot live without are most typically granted crisis pay, which is the case of crisis travel nurses. These vital employees can be:

  • Nurses
  • Doctors
  • Responders to an emergency

Differences Between Travel Nurse Pay And Staff Nurse Pay

According to PayScale’s real-time statistics, travel nurses earn $33.84 per hour on average— compared to $29.33 per hour— for all registered nurses, which is a 15% difference. According to Indeed, travel nurses earn almost 20% more than all registered nurses (RNs).

What Impacts Your Pay As A Crisis Travel Nurse?


In addition to traveling throughout the country, a travel nursing employment allows you to work in a variety of departments and specializations. This is something you should mention with your travel nursing agency so that they can keep an eye out for employment that you are interested in. Some specialties require advanced training or education, while others allow you to get right in. Location is essential as it should be a place where you get benefits such as housing stipends and other commodities, as well as your crisis pay. Gather as much info as you can before taking on an assignment.

Type Of Disaster

While working during a disaster, agencies may work with hospitals directly or respond to specific calamities. To assist crisis nurses in obtaining new positions, most agencies provide job listings on their websites. An agency will assist crisis nurses with the proper documentation and salary according to the type of disaster. In most cases, it will also aid them in finding accommodation. It may also assist crisis nurses in obtaining insurance and negotiating contracts with facilities. If you’re not getting any of this, then you should reconsider taking the job.


Crisis nurses are well compensated due to the high demands, stress, and speedy turnaround. Extra money ranging from $20 to $50 per hour, overtime pay, and $100 to $200 for extra or riskier shifts are among their benefits.

Type Of Contract

Rapid reaction assignments necessitate travel nurses’ flexibility and ability to adjust to new situations quickly. In exchange, they get a greater base salary, bonuses, and a larger housing stipend because finding lodgings on short notice is more difficult. On top of that, nurses may be paid shift bonuses and stipends for travel and food. Make sure that the contract fulfills all your basic needs and more.

Working Overtime

According to Kaiser Health News, crisis nurses in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, earned more than $6,200 a week in April 2020; more than $8,000 in Fargo, North Dakota; and up to $10,000 in other locations. These wages are intended to guarantee that nurses are accessible when they are the most required, but employers must also ensure that nurses can do these tasks safely while maintaining their own health. You should be getting a minimum of $20 or $50 overtime.

How To Find Crisis Nursing Jobs?

When calamity hits, crisis travel nurses are in high demand. You don’t need any additional credentials to operate as a crisis travel nurse if you have a nursing license. Stability Healthcare can assist you in finding a crisis travel nurse employment that meets your requirements. Your recruiter may offer advice and insight into potential crisis travel nursing assignments and locations, as well as help you find a crisis nurse job that meets your requirements. Apply at Stability Healthcare today!

Benefits Of Using A Good Travel Nursing Agency

More Regularity Finding Jobs

Working with a travel nursing agency has several advantages, the most important is that they screen employment depending on your requirements. You tell them your availability, pay requirements, experience, and any other pertinent information, and they’ll match you with hospitals and clinics that fulfill your demands. In contrast to traditional employment, where you must organize your life around your work, travel nursing in 2021 allows you to schedule your work around your life.

Higher Pay And Housing Options

Because of the demand for vital personnel amid unsafe situations and unanticipated incidents, a crisis travel nurse job pays more than a regular staff or travel staff nursing job. A crisis travel nurse can earn anywhere from ten to one hundred percent more than a standard staff travel nurse. They’ll also get:

  • Allowance for food
  • Allowance for living expenses
  • Allowance for incidentals
  • Extra shifts get a bonus.

If a hospital is short-staffed, it may offer additional incentives such as shift incentives in addition to a higher pay rate.

Transparency And Accountability During Assignments

You have travel agencies on your side. You’ll have a personal recruiter that will not only find you travel nursing jobs and contracts but will also assist you in your professional development. Agencies are dedicated to assisting you in excelling in any position you accept, from career and resume counseling to interview aid and more. Transparency and accountability during assignments are a must in the crisis travel nursing environment and a great benefit.

More And Better Job Opportunities

When you work with a travel nursing agency, you may take advantage of this even more because they have access to the areas and hospitals that are in desperate need of nurses. Even if your city or state has enough nurses, another city or state may not. Travel nurse agencies assist you in going where the biggest need exists, which means they place you where there is always a seller’s market and thus many job prospects. When you’re willing to work as a crisis travel nurse, you’ll never have to worry about not landing the next job.

Plentiful Growth Opportunities

From a purely financial standpoint, crisis travel nurses earn more money when higher-level travel nurse opportunities are available. On a personal level, however, you’ll build bonds with the recruiter and the rest of the staff at your travel nursing agency. This allows nurses to advance in their professions and pursue exciting new opportunities. Agencies concentrate on how they can assist you in any matter, and growth opportunities are no exception.

Conclusion: Should You Become A Travel Nurse?

What is a “negative” for one person may be a “positive” for another. Turning negatives into positives is an important part of following a career goal. Many nurses find it tremendously fulfilling to deliver healthcare in all kinds of situations and surroundings. Give crisis travel nursing a try if it appeals to you and your philosophy. You will gain useful experience, meet new people, see the sites, and learn a lot about yourself in the process.



A crisis contract for travel nurses, also known as a rapid response contract, is for assignments that will begin quickly, sometimes within 48 hours. The duration of these assignments is “to be determined;” however, they are usually shorter than usual. Due to a sudden spike in disease or patients, or internal concerns such as a software upgrade rolling out sooner than intended, crisis nurses are dispatched for immediate reaction.

Nurses who have all of the necessary paperwork and documentation can begin a quick-start travel nursing assignment. The following are some essential goods to have on hand:

  • Immunization records and other pertinent medical information.
  • Copies of nursing licenses and certifications issued by the state.
  • Documents for travel (IDs, insurance cards, etc.)
  • Background check and drug test completed (fast-tracked with the AMN Passport app).

After the pandemic, nurse license regulations have altered dramatically, and many states have accelerated procedures in response to emergency orders. However, those adjustments may not be permanent. A number of states are also members of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which can help streamline licensure in compact jurisdictions. To learn more about state-specific license requirements, contact the appropriate board of nursing or speak with a Stability Healthcare placement consultant.

It’s critical to be knowledgeable about the hiring facility—the types of jobs that may be assigned and the tasks that must be completed. Crisis travel nurses should feel confident in their ability to perform activities that are within their area of practice. Furthermore, they should have on-site —or supplied by the employing agency— access to the resources required for the project.

A travel nurse interview is unique in that it is almost always conducted over the phone. For first-time nurse travelers, the management interview can be nerve-wracking, but they’re usually less formal and less stressful than a staff interview. Your job is to fill a staffing gap, so if the nurse-to-patient ratio is too high for you or you don’t feel comfortable floating where the manager needs you to, you may be open about it and agree to sign or decline the contract.