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.
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
The field of travel nursing is fascinating for many. However, when it comes to relationships, things can get a bit challenging. Travel nursing involves many months away from home, different working hours, and continually moving from one city to another. These are things that can put pressure on couples. If you’re determined to make travel nursing as a couple work for the both of you, keep reading.
When You’re a Travel Nursing Couple
In an ideal situation, you both are travel nurses, which means you both understand the perks link to the career, as well as the downsides. When you’re both travel nurses, it’s easier to navigate the system to make it work.
While challenging, you could try to find assignments that help you be closer together. In this case, it’s best to work with the same travel nursing agency, as they’ll be able to work with both of you in finding the right type of assignments.
However, you also want to be flexible about the arrangements. In a perfect world, you’ll both have the same shift. But, in most cases, you’ll have to be a bit more flexible on shift hours if you want to have a higher chance of finding the same hospital or city.
Finally, be open about your plan with the agency. Let them know that you’re interested in finding an opportunity alongside your partner. If you’re both excellent nurses, it will be to their advantage to hire you both. As always, be flexible about the options. Just finding a job in the same city should be enough to help you make it work.
Arranging the Housing
One of the perks of being a traveling nurse couple is that you get to save on housing. There are many options to choose from. Some travel nursing agencies, have housing options, and are more than happy to assist you in finding a home for your assignments.
One of you can accept the housing offered by the agency while the other accepts stipend housing. This is an excellent option if you share your income. If you don’t choose the house by the agency, you can still find a tax-free housing stipend and split the cost of the rent.
Again, if you’re working with the right agency and the right recruiter, arranging housing as a traveling nurse couple won’t be an issue.
When Only One of You Is a Travel Nurse
In the case that only one of your works as a travel nurse, things can get a bit more challenging. As you probably already know, travel nurses have very flexible schedules and living arrangements. Fitting a couple-situation into this scenario requires a compromise on both ends of the relationship to make it work.
Someone Has to Compromise
Thankfully, travel nurses have a fantastic salary, health benefits, and other perks through their employment. One could say it’s enough for the other partner to leave their job and choose to travel with their partner on their assignment. In this case, someone has to make a compromise and decide if that’s what they want to do.
The partner without the job can become the travel assistant of the relationship. While so many agencies work with travel nurses to make their assignments as smooth as possible, it’s nice to have someone you trust help with all the travel arrangements. They can be the travel support person, who takes control of some of the logistics involved with moving to a new city, working at a new place, and so on. Plus, this will also give them a sense of purpose in your assignments.
Look for Alternative Options
Thanks to the new gig-based economy, non-travel nurse partners can also be productive and generate income. With ride-sharing apps, delivery services, and other gig-based jobs available, they don’t have to rely on a specific employer location to have a job.
Talk with your partner and see if they’d be interested in taking on some of these jobs while you’re on assignment. Hopefully, your salary as a travel nurse covers both of your expenses, so whatever your partner gets through their gigs is an additional income you both could use.
While challenging, traveling nurse couples can still live a normal lifestyle and enjoy their relationship without compromising their career. Working with a trustworthy and flexible agency is the key to making it work. If you still have questions about becoming a travel nurse as a couple, contact our representatives. They are always available to help answer any of your questions.Read More
Whether you’ve been working as a travel nurse for years or you are just entertaining the idea, travel nursing blogs will have everything that you need. These blogs give you a peek into the life of a traveling nurse through various topics and stories. Below you’ll find a list of some of the best blogs, packed with helpful advice and information. With these resources, you’ll have answers to questions that you didn’t even know you had.
When you go searching for information you are sure to come across The Gypsy Nurse. According to their site, it’s “the #1 most-recognizable brand in travel nursing today.” The website is easy to navigate because it is broken down into simple categories: a job board, resources, articles, reviews, events, and a community page. After signing up, you can access any of these pages. The articles tab is one of the most helpful. The page is updated often, and the articles range from “5 Things To Consider Before Quitting A Difficult Assignment” to “Travel Nurse Pets On Assignment.” Besides the blog posts being detailed, they’re also very personal. A majority of them use real photos and real life stories, providing an in-depth, realistic look into the lives of a travel nurse.
The traveling nurse is run by a travel nurse and is filled with plenty of stories, photos, and tips on how to give back while you’re a travel nurse. K Chandler Rosemont, the primary author, gives specific examples of philanthropy on the road, like being able to provide a Kenyan hospital with new scrubs. She has traveled to two countries – India and Kenya. On top of this, Rosemont also runs an Instagram that has amassed quite a following. Just by looking at her aesthetically pleasing photos, you’ll want to hop on your next assignment!
American Traveler’s travel nurse blog is a bit more on the traditional, information side. However, just because it may not be the most aesthetically-pleasing, doesn’t mean it’s not helpful! This particular blog posts extremely relevant information – like how the Coronavirus is affecting traveling nurses or what shoes are most comfortable during your shift.The blog has been active since 2015, so it has plenty of content to browse through.
A huge plus to Travel Nursing Blogs is the ability to “ask a travel nurse!” On this specific page, you can ask any question you may have. Questions are answered by David Morrison, who has two-decades-plus of travel experience. In addition to answering questions on the blog, Morrison actually wrote the Travel Nurse’s Bible, a book that acts as a detailed guide for a traveling nurse.
On the other hand, if you have questions specific to housing, you can submit a question to Jill Budler, who is the current Director of Housing at Medical Solutions.
If you’re hungry for adventure, this is the blog for you. Off The Clock Nurse focuses a bit more on the travel side of things. Each post outlines a different adventure that the author was able to take while travel nursing, like visiting Oregon’s Tulip Festival. Browsing through the blog gives a great idea of some of the activities and trips you can plan while traveling. Each post describes the respective trip, with plenty of photos. Use it to help plan your own trips, find out the best restaurants to eat at, and read about some of the highlights of being a traveling nurse.
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Why do you want to/did you become a Travel Nurse? There are many reasons, but I think it's important to figure out your reason in order to get the most out of this career. . . For me, I wanted to pay off debt and I knew I wanted to move, but I wasn't sure where. Travel Nursing opened up both of those avenues for me. It also helped me in other ways… Making me more confident in myself and my career, and bringing to light things like solo international travel (for fun, I didn't work internationally) . . If you could pick one think most important to you about being a Travel Nurse, what would it be? Money, Vacation time, Expanding Your Nurse Knowledge from other facilities, Road Trips, Resume Building, Assignment Location? . . . . . #doglife #nursesrock #nurseproblems #nurselife #nursingschool #nursesofinstagram #nursehumor #dogsofinstagram #registerednurse #nursingstudent #nurse #nursesunite #nightnurse #scrublife #nursingschoolproblems #travelnurse #nursinglife #rei #nurseonduty #nursesbelike #medicalschool #NursesWeek #travelrn #travelnurselife #murses #lifeofanurse #medschool #instanursing #icu #murselife
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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.
One of the most appealing aspects of traveling nursing is the ability to explore. Kansas City is a quaint, mid-sized city in the Midwest, with plenty of fun activities for your day off. If you find yourself in Kansas City for your position, here are some of the best activities, restaurants, and sights the city has to offer.
Brunch at Morning Day Café
Morning Day Café has quickly become a Kansas City-staple. Not only is its home in a unique setting – specifically a tricked out shipping container in the Iron District – but the restaurants’ food is colorful too! Besides a selection of breakfast classics like house-made muffins and pancakes, Morning Day Café has a variety of filling brunch and lunch entrées, like their rosemary biscuits with bacon gravy or their walnut pesto penne. If you’re thirsty, take advantage of their cocktail selection. Morning Day Café is suitable for meat-eaters, omnivores, and vegetarians alike.
Pick up fresh flowers at the Kansas City Farmers Market
Kansas City has one of the best farmers markets in the country. Not only is the city smackdab in the middle of farmer territory, resulting in tons of fresh produce, but it also hosts a variety of self-made artists, bakers, and gardeners. Every Saturday, hundreds of people meet at the City Market to open their own booths and to see what others are selling. Spruce up your housing by picking up some fresh flowers from one of the vendors, and grab some fresh-made goods to stock your pantry while you’re at it.
Sit down for a cup of coffee at Oddly Correct
Oddly Correct isn’t only the perfect coffee shop to get some caffeine before starting your morning shift, but it’s also a great place to relax on a day off! There are plenty of tables for you to sit at, and outlets in case you need to give your phone a quick charge. Their black coffee is fantastic, but if you want something a little sweet, taste one of their specialty lattes, like their bourbon vanilla latte or berry-infused mocha. Oddly Correct is a prime spot for their prime coffee drinks and pastries, but another benefit is that you’re supporting locals, and the earth, too. Oddly Correct has been recognized for providing their employees with higher-than-average pay, and the shop has recently started using glass instead of paper cups, making it more sustainable.
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Time for coffee. Fun fact: @kylewheelock won us over by embedding the lyrics of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” into his letter of introduction. His love of 80s hits is matched only by his commitment to your coffee experience, and he’s pouring for you all day today.
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Cheer on the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium
Football fan? Arrowhead Stadium is a hot-spot. Known for being one of the loudest stadiums in the country, Kansas City Chiefs fans take it to the next level. The team recently won the Superbowl (their first time in decades), and with young stars like Patrick Mahomes, they’re surely on the trajectory to continue being an excellent team. One of the best ways to fully get a feel of the Chiefs atmosphere is to rally up fellow traveling nurses and tailgate before the game.
Eat some BBQ at Jack Stack
Save some room for BBQ at Jack Stack. Jack Stack is a local Kansas City chain and known for their tender and flavorful meats. Bring this place up to anyone in the KC-area, and they’re sure to claim the fame as some of the best BBQ in the Midwest.
Take in the sights at Nelson-Atkins Museum
Nelson-Atkins Museum boasts more than 35,000 pieces of art, all meticulously taken care of. And, it’s all FREE for you to see! Besides its jaw-dropping collections, the museum has a sprawling campus, decorated with quirky sculptures (namely the Shuttlecock sculpture). Fun to go by yourself or in a group with other nurses, the Nelson-Atkins Museum can entertain you for a whole day. If you don’t want to commit to an all-day outing, check out whichever special exhibition they’re currently running.
Does Kansas city sound like a place you’d like to explore? See available positions at Stability Healthcare and get a start on your next adventure!Read More
There are several factors to keep in mind when exploring which travel nursing agency to choose. Although there are hundreds to choose from, certain criteria should be met to parse through which companies are right for you, and which will help you succeed as a traveling nurse.
Stability Healthcare is one of the prime travel nursing agencies in California, and is quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing throughout the United States. Not only is the agency reliable, but it’s also flexible. You can work with Stability Healthcare to design the best travel nursing experience for you.
Look below to see which factors you should keep in mind when selecting a travel nursing agency:
Is their website detailed and user-friendly?
One of the best aspects of being a traveling nurse is the right to choose where you go, where you live, and how long you travel. The traveling nursing agency’s website should be detailed and user-friendly, making it easier for you to reach those decisions, and to better help you have a great travel nursing experience. It’s helpful when the website is concise, but still offers in-depth information, and is organized in a way that’s easy to digest. A FAQ gives a great oversight of a company and directs you to specific pages that are more thorough, depending on what information you’re looking for.
A job page is also helpful. This gives every option broken down simply, allowing you to see the location, weekly salary, position specialty, and a review for each position. Creating a profile should only take a few minutes. Technology doesn’t make or break a nurse, but it certainly helps put you in control.
Does the agency work in your preferred location(s)?
Location is a critical decision for traveling nurses. If you’re working somewhere, you should like the city too! Stability Healthcare works with facilities nationwide and encourages you to apply for positions wherever you’d like, as long as you have an active license in the state. Additionally, you can choose to work in a variety of hospital settings, ranging from prestigious teaching institutions to small, rural facilities.
Another huge plus is that traveling nursing isn’t prohibited to just yourself. The agency you choose should offer the option to travel with other – family, pets, or another nurse to your desired location. Your travel nursing experience is in your hands, and Stability Healthcare is here to guide you along the way.
Does the agency aid in housing and are there traveling reimbursements?
Not only do you want to work in your preferred location, but you want to make sure you have a reliable roof over your head too! Housing varies depending on location, AirBnB, Craigslist, VRBO, Furnished Finder and Travelers Haven are all fantastic options to find safe, affordable housing. The agency should also provide details for rentals across the country, allowing you to more easily transition into your new position.
On the other hand, if you want to be more hands-on in finding housing, a nurse can also choose to find a place on their own accord. If they do, they are eligible for a lodging subsidy to help reimburse the costs. More information on this can be found in the GSA (General Services Administration) guidelines.
Stability Healthcare reimburses traveling expenses up to $600 for each assignment, relieving some of the financial pressure of moving.
What is the expected income and will you be insured?
Net pay depends on the agency, and you want to make sure you’re getting a package that fits all of your needs. Stability Healthcare we pay every Friday through direct deposit, so no need to make a trip to the bank! If you’re looking for a more specific breakdown on salaries, the salary page maps out the expected salary by position and by location.
Stability Healthcare offers several different packages, plus many other incentives. Starting on your first day, you will be insured by UnitedHealthcare, one of the country’s most reliable and largest healthcare providers. There are four different packages to choose from, so you can tailor to your specific experience.
Additionally, one of the most popular incentives that Stability Healthcare offers is the Extra Hours Bonus. Nurses who work extra hours are rewarded with pay above the average bonus rates. Some other incentives include paid time off (Stability Healthcare is one of the few agencies that offer this), resources to get free CEUs, and a 401(K) retirement plan (once you hit one year of employment).
Consider the need for travel nurses and the agency’s standards
One thing to keep in mind is the demand for travel nurses in the future. If you’re worried about job availability, fear not! According to statistics, the national need for travel nurses will have increased by 29% by 2020.
Stability Healthcare lays out clear standards for a successful traveling nurse. This is significant because it shows that the agency is transparent with their expectations, and illustrates how they’re motivated to make sure that their traveling nurses are eager to succeed. Some of these include, but are not limited to:
- Experience – Stability Healthcare suggests at least 18 months of experience beforehand to ensure a smooth transition into a traveling nurse position
- 1 year of acute care
- A valid license and proof to work in the US
Do you trust the agency?
Besides being able to choose where you live, your housing, and what your position is, another aspect to think of is trust between you and your recruiter. The great thing about Stability Healthcare is that it is recruiter free when you’re initially looking at positions. Instead of all of the back and forth, your recruiter can submit to the jobs that you choose. This is just another factor in the agency’s trust and flexibility. You truly are the only person making your decisions, with the aid of Stability Healthcare staff when you have questions. Stability Healthcare also has a myriad of testimonials praising the agency, which can be found on the reviews page.