Fnurse storyor those contemplating the travel nurse field: The best way to learn about the travel nursing field is from those who are actually in the travel nursing trenches.

The following are the travel nursing stories that have been sent to me by other traveling nurses.

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Tasha from North Carolina

Tasha is a cardiac step-down and telemetry nurse who places importance on money and a great recruiter over benefits and location.  She takes the one bedroom housing that is supplied to her by Nurse Choice.  During her almost 2 years of traveling, Phoenix, Arizona, has been her favorite assignment with Dover, Delaware, being her least favorite.

She took an assignment back in her home state of Delaware so that the transition would be a little more smooth, being that she was in a familiar place trying something new. The hospital, Beebe Medical Center, was very traveler friendly and the orientation was excellent so her first experience wasn’t too hectic. The staff was very welcoming and friendly, probably helped that the hospital is near the beach. Many of the other nurses on her floor were travelers also and a handful were repeat travelers to that facility. She chose to begin my travel experience with American Mobile Healthcare, which is a pretty good company but she never really felt a connection with my Recruiter and she probably talked to her assistant more than I spoke with her.

She would like to emphasize that new travelers should do her research before signing with any company or facility and to make sure to find a recruiter that you mesh with and that is out for your best interest.

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Tricia from New York

Tricia is a CVICU nurse that has been traveling for under a year.  She places priorities on location and money over benefits and a great recruiter.  She has been with Cross Country Trav Corp and has no intention of switching.  Her favorite city has been Baltimore, MD.

Her first travel assignment was in New York at New York Presbyterian-Columbia.  It was an absolutely great hospital.  For Tricia, leaving was very hard related to the fact that it was very traveler friendly.  She worked in the PACU with a  great staff and she absolutely loved it.

She would like to remind first time travelers to do their research on the companies that they plan to sign up with and the hospital that you want to work at and READ YOUR CONTRACT.  If it is not what was agreed on, DO NOT SIGN IT!  And most importantly, enjoy the world of travel nursing.

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Eva from Tennessee

Eva is an emergency room nurse whom places her priorities as money and benefits secondary to location and a great recruiter.  She has been traveling for one year and takes the one bedroom paid for apartment.  Although she previously traveled with InteliStaf, she is currently with InteliStaf.  Her favorite hospital was in Hartford, Connecticut, with her least favorite being Sacramento, California.  Although she loved the town of Sacramento, she wasn’t too found of the hospital.

Her first travel assignment was an awesome experience in New Britain, CT.  She had to move after two weeks to a better location, but that was okay.  New Britain General Hospital (now the hospital of Central Connecticut) was extremely traveler friendly.  The staff and the doctors were wonderful, friendly, and warm.  Her second assignment was at Mercy General in Sacramento, CA, and it was her first non-traveler friendly hospital.  There was four to six doctors that she worked with that were very nasty to all nurses.

She would like to tell all first time travelers to gather a notebook together with sections.  Keep all your license’, shot records, TB, resume, etc…  you will need it a lot!  It makes it very handy to be organized.

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Sigurid from Nebraska

Sirgurid is a step-down, telemetry, and med/surg nurse that has been traveling for under a year.  She takes the one bedroom paid for apartment and places location as top priority.  She is currently with Trustaff.

Unfortunately her first travel assignment was, “Nightmare At Valley View.”  They had just received their JCAHO certification, but she isn’t sure just how they got it.  The med/surg/telemetry unit was a disaster being understaffed, unorgranized, with a very high acuity.  To top it all off, the nursing staff were very unfriendly, not helpful, and travel nurses were treated with absolutely no respect.  What even made it worse was the fact that when there was a discrepancy on the Kronas, her recruiter and travel company didn’t back her up even with the signed time sheets for all the overtime.  She was then terminated by the hospital for speaking to HR about her frustrations.  The travel company used her last pay check to cover the last two weeks of the housing contract and left her with no money, and then they found her a new job within a week which did not require her to move, which did help out things.

Things she would like to tell a first time traveler include:

  1. Get it in writing and do not believe your agency will back you up when it comes to an issue that might mean the hospital will terminate their contract with agency…not just you. 0 So make sure you have everything done and are ready to go with several companies before you take your first assignment, meaning physical, immunizations, respirator fit testing, and all the application and skill testing done so you can be ready to go with any of your chosen companies at a moments notice.
  2. Research the web sites by travel nurses for travel nurses, such as this www.highwayhypodermics.com, ultimatenurse.com, nurseforum.com, Delphi etc. It pays to heed the advice of seasoned travelers who can tell you what companies are good, what hospitals to stay away from.
  3. Have realistic expectations. Know that if the pay and bonuses are high there are more than likely issues for travelers and staff alike and that staff may have attitude toward travel nurses in general so stick with your fellow travel nurses, bond, share, complain to one another, but do not voice your opinion in front of staff as they will tattle on you to management and among themselves which can make your life a living hell there.
  4. Make sure that you have in writing that the facility must call you to discuss schedule changes and that you have the right to refuse changes. A traveler must be flexible, but one does not have to be inconvenienced by changes made by management without permission. Such changes mean you have no life, you cannot make plans to explore, and you might end up with a long stretch of shifts without a day off. Get in writing how many shifts you will work in a row (two on, two off, etc.) For example I do not like working 4 nights in row with a 48 hours guaranteed contract. It is too fast paced and my body does not do well with 4 twelve’s in a row. Know your limits and stick to them.
  5. Make sure you know just what your companies policy is on contracts cancelled early or without just cause…Save at least $1000 dollars just in case for relocation expenses to cover any expenses not covered by your company…in my case, I still had six shifts to work or two weeks before my contract was up…so the company used my paycheck to pay the last two weeks of my housing and the cat deposit which was supposed to be taken out over the 8 weeks of the contract but had not been so I lost the entire paycheck which I had already written checks for bills and mailed…overdrafts cost her more money.
  6. Find out what the state you are working in allows for per diem on the tax advantage system and make you company do it right.
  7. Utilize the Tax Advantage System if you reside in another state as your primary resident. Learn about it. Ask a seasoned traveler how it works if your recruiter does not explain it well…and sometimes they encourage it when it saves them money but is not to your advantage. So always check out what is best for your situation…not theirs.
  8. Things you will definitely need to bring… digital camera, lap top computer, make sure local phone is in your contract unless you have cell plan that does not have roaming charges. Always ask about what is included in furnished apt. i.e. dishes plates, etc. In my case I elected to take my pots and pans, dishes, and silverware, coffee pot, and cooking utensils, a cookie sheet etc. as it saved her $160 a month on my housing. What size bed and if linens are included. It all depends on if you drive to your assignment or fly. If flying make sure your travel company has a rental care waiting for you when you arrive and understand what it will cost you to drive it.
  9. My two requests: A washer/dryer in the apt unit and high speed internet. I am willing to pay a little more to not have to go to a laundry mat or a community apt. laundry facility. Basic cable should be included, utilities, and local phone when possible. In some remote areas you may have to use Wi-Fi for internet. So check out what is available and in some areas cell phones drop call no cell towers.
  10. Remember the agency you work for is out to make money too, so if it is not in writing they may reneg on admitting they ever said it or promised it to you.

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Jennifer from Maryland

Jennifer is a NICU nurse with almost two years of experience who places her priorities on money and a great recruiter.  Although she was once with American Mobile, she currently travels with On Assignment.  Her favorite places have been Palm Springs, CA, and Long Beach, CA, with her least favorite being Santa Barbara, CA.

Her first assignment was horrendous! The housing was far from the facility and traffic was even worse! She was tired by the time she got to work.  That assignment lasted only two weeks.  That’s it…  she couldn’t take it any longer.  That was her very first travel assignment almost 10 years ago. Since then she’s learned the ropes-still learning!

She would like to remind that first time traveler to get everything IN WRITING!!  Be sure to do the interview with the facility so that you can have all of your questions answered.  Absolutely do not take the assignment if you have any doubts!

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David from Minnesota

David is a Critical/Intensive Care nurse that has been traveling for almost two years.  He places his priorities on a great salary and recruiter.  He is fine with a suite from Medical Express.  His favorite city has been Denver, CO, with his least favorite being New Bedford, MA.

His fist assignment ended up with him in a very unsafe city and a hospital with very poor management and poor patient care. His first introduction to the city involved a car of gang-bangers holding a knife out their car window, and him unsure how to get out of my contract. Thank goodness that the city was surrounded by great things to visit.

David would like to remind travelers to be very well prepared as a nurse first and foremost!

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Cynthia from Pennsylvania

Cynthia is an ER nurse who has been traveling for under a year.  Most important to her travels are a great recruiter and location followed by salary and benefits.  She prefers a two bedroom apartment.  She is not currently traveling related to her first travel experience.  She doesn’t have a favorite hospital, but did not do well in Baltimore, MD, or Reading, PA.

After her first travel assignment, she came up with her own not so short questionnaire.  Her first experience cost her time, gasoline, mileage on her car, and worst of all, her own self-worth as an RN. She was a small hospital ER nurse (5 bed ER in a 25 bed hospital), and her first assignments were in two metropolitan ERs and one was even a trauma center!  She was cancelled by the two hospitals and put on a year probation, with the requirement of two references in order to get back with the same agency. The agency paid well, but the nurse had to be able to function “competently” on the first day…For the future reference, from now on, she figures that she has to walk on water and turn water it into wine, or she will not, repeat, will not travel again. She would sooner starve on the unemployment line, than have a horrible experience like this again.

What did she learn from her first experience?  Beware of those bearing too good to be true promises and verify EVERYTING.  She also suggests making a very large list of questions to be answered by recruiters.

**Note From Epstein:  I included this for one very important reason.  I’m not sure how much experience Cynthia had as a nurse, but it is so important to be confident with your skills and to have at least one year of med/surg, rehab, psych experience if that is your specialty of TWO years of the more critical care fields, including ICU, PICU, ER, OB/GYN, and  OR.  As a traveling nurse, you are expected to hit the floor running and know what you are doing.  Cynthia I’m sure is a great nurse who just got in a little over her head and couldn’t tread water fast enough without a support system.  I’m sure that she would have done fine in a small ER like she was from, but the mistake that she and the company she worked for made was putting her in too deep of water for her first assignment.  YOU have to be realistic about how much you really can handle as a nurse and don’t let the recruiters SELL you to the highest bidder and biggest hospital because that is what they have available.  There are plenty of other agencies who have a lot of other assignments available.

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David from Texas      

David is an ER and ICU nurse who places salary, location, and a great recruiter has his priorities.  He prefers to travel in his RV and take the housing stipend.  He has been traveling for six years.  He has traveled with several companies and really isn’t loyal to any one.  He favorite cities having included Reno, NV, Redding, CA, Long Beach, CA, Paris, TX, and Lancaster, CA, with his least favorite being Oakland, CA, and Rutland, VT.

His first travel job was in Providence,RI, in 2001. It’s a good thing that he is not scared off that easily. He was sent there on a four week assignment and essentially felt as though he was dumped out to fend for myself. He had a recruiter that never returned calls and he was a good ole southern boy cast into a world of people.  He had no idea what they were like. But, due to his will to make it in the travel world and his expertise of the job, he hung in there and made the best out of a bad situation. David made loads of new friends, and saw some of the most beautiful places he had no idea existed. Only for meeting new friends and seeing great places kept him hoping to fine tune this travel business. Today, now six years later, he knows that taking the plunge to start traveling was the best nursing career move he ever made.

What would he tell a first timer?  “Yes, I know that the security that you feel you have in that everyday job as a staff member! Been there done that. The fear that enters your mind with the thought of the unsure or the unknown. But, once you get the nerve and get past that to set forth the spirit to venture into the world and get your feet wet on new experiences, you will see nursing in a whole new light. wherever I go, it’s the travelers that are smiling. Not just because of the money, but more for the freedom they have over the regular staff nurse that is bound to that administration, or that mandatory meeting, or that mandatory overtime, or that short staffed unit. Wherever I go, I am usually able to relay my stories to some of the staff nurses, and sometimes I get calls from them that they have taken up the road also.”

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Connie from Mississippi

Connie s a MS, PACU, Endo. Nurse who places her priorities on a great salary and benefits.  She takes the housing stipend and travels in her RV.  She has been travelin under a a year with Travel Nurse Solutions.

She absolutely loved her first travel assignment and meeting new people and learning different ways to do things.  Change is always good!  That is why she believes that travelers should never re-sign with a hospital.  Do your thirteen weeks and move on.  It is a great way to improve your resume.  Do not let employees (staff) hurt your feelings about being a traveler.  Remember, they would probably love to be able to do the same.  She encourages those to take the plunge one day.  Just keep in the front of your mind, no matter how  bad things go, that contracts only last thirteen weeks!

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Lauren from Texas

Lauren is an ER nurse whose number one priority in a travel company is benefits.  She takes the standard one bedroom housing that Cross Country Trav. Corp provides.  She has been with American Mobile, but wouldn’t go back.  Her favorite assignment was Hartford Children’s Hospital, with her least favorite being anything in Texas.

Her first travel experience at Cambridge, Massachusetts was horrible.  There were not enough nurses, and they really were rude.  She felt like her license was in jeopardy several times.  The hospital was old, like a cave, dirty, and dark.

She would like to remind newbies not to get involved with the staff and management issues.  Trust no one until you are sure.  Do you work, keep your head down and smile!  Fake it until you make it!

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Veronica from Arkansas

Veronica is an ICU nurse who places location and a great recruiter as important to her.  She takes the two bedroom housing and doesn’t mind paying some for the extra room.  She has been traveling for over ten years and is currently with PPR (Professional Placement Resources).  She previously worked with RN Network and Medstaff, which she will not return to.  Although her experience with the hospital was not very pleasant at the Univ. of Calif. San Francisco (UCSF), she loved being in the city of San Francisco.  She also prefers not to travel to the southern part of the United States.

Her first assignment was with RN Network, in which she feels like they did a “bait and switch” on her.  She had turned down Walnut Creek, CA, and left for an “assignment” in San Francisco.  She packed, rented out her house, and hit the road.  Upon arrival they stated, “Oops, we got the wrong hospital!”  She feels like they were going to leave her stranded in California unless she took the Walnut Creek job, which she did agree to take.  When she finally got the UCSF through Med Staff, they mailed her checks thousands of mile away to her home instead of where she was, causing severe financial problems, and then they left her “homeless” when UCSF cancelled the contract related to a lack of funds and a rash of funds and a rash of hiring new grads.  She was told by Med Staff that she had twenty-four hours to get out, or they would hold her paycheck.

What would she tell a first timer?  “Never travel with RN Network or Med Staff.  Sign up with 2 agencies and be ready to go with both, if something happens.  The other can pick you up and even assume the apartment you are in!!  Remember, high rates of pay, or big bonuses are because the hospital is bad and cannot attract nurses.  Good hospitals don’t have to pay as much and will take time to get into.  This is why UCSF has dozens of openings and St. Francis has only one or two in any given time!!”

 **Note From Epstein:  I have not talked to Veronica, but is just a reminder to READ YOUR CONTRACT.  Make sure that you know where you are going and whom your contract is with.  Contracts are contracts, and if the agency put in the wrong hospital, then they would still need to pay for your travel expenses to the assignment, and pay for that contract until they could find something agreeable to you.  I would then seriously consider whether or not you want to continue to travel with that company.  To me, it would depend if it’s a one time thing or something that has happened to you before.

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Ritchie The Nomad

Ritchie is an ER nurse who places his priorities on salary and a great recruiter.  He classifies himself as a “Mountain West Nomad” as he travels around in his RV.  He doesn’t have a company that he really prefers, but knows that he will never return to American Mobile.  His favorite assignment was in Stanford, CA, with his least favorite in Reno, NV.

His first assignment was for a great small hometown agency with great pay and excellent housing in a little ole cow town in Wyoming.  He would like to remind new travelers that even experienced travelers get shafted by recruiters who are so sweet and can lie and smile and stab and get you to let your guard down.  “This is a business arrangement.  The recruiter and facility is NOT your friend, even though it may seem that away.  (dang, I should have learned that myself),” he states.  He was recently drowning when a recruiter was smiling as she threw a him a concrete life ring.

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Colleen from New York

Colleen is a med-surg nurse who has been traveling for under a year with O’Grady Peyton.  Her priorities include salary and location.  Her favorite place has been Baltimore, MD.

She has learned a lot about herself as a nurse that she didn’t see before she started traveling.  She learned to be flexible, assertive, independent, and her assessment skills improved.  She knew that she was a good nurse, but being a traveler is different and you learn that you are stronger than you may have originally thought.  She states, “Don’t be scared, just go for it!”

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Sue from Connecticut

Sue is a med/surg nurse who places her priorities on location and salary.  She takes the one bedroom housing paid for by Med Staff.  Her favorite place has been San Francisco, CA, with Alta Bates, CA, and Bakersfield, CA, being her least favorite.

Her first assignment was crazy and overwhelming! She and her friend were so excited to have their first assignment at Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC. Then they had nine to twelve cancer patients who were very sick.   To make things worse, there were no respiratory therapists and the IV pumps were only for the patients receiving chemotherapy.  The unit had close to 40 rooms, but only one med room. She had to run back and forth constantly, and to make things worse, the unit had only one Glucometer. Charge nurse could not stand them and made them feel stupid. Being travelers, they would always get the admissions. It was all paper charting and tons of it. The nursing assistants were lifesavers.  It was great that she traveled with her friend.  They almost had the exact same schedule on the same unit and were there to help each other when they could.  When times got bad, they were always there for each other.

What would she tell a first timer?  “Do not complain about floating. Be flexible and act like you don’t care. Managers and other staff members do not like complainers. Be prepared to float… it comes with traveling. Sometimes floating is a relief if you work on a crazy unit. Hospitals know they cannot float you to an area that you have no experience… your assignment must be modified in this case. Ask a million questions during the hospital interview and write everything down. Don’t feel that you have to accept an offer just because you interviewed; don’t let your recruiter pressure you. Don’t trust the company or your recruiter.  The company wants to make money as well as your recruiter.  In most cases, your recruiter is a salesperson, not your friend. Beware of hospitals that offer high pay rates… there is a reason. Listen to other travelers.  If they have had a horrible experience, most likely you will too. Many staff nurses do not like travelers.  They are jealous.  Just ignore them and don’t let their attitude bother you. Try to get on the good side of the unit manager.  It will pay off (great reference, great schedule). Follow all unit/hospital procedures and look them up if you are not sure.  Do not follow your old hospital’s policies/procedures… this can get you in trouble. Explore the city/town you are in & have fun!”

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Cheryl from Kansas

Cherl is a labor and delivery nurse who places priorities on a great location and salary.  She has been traveling with Aureus Medical for almost five years.  Her favorite city has been Cortez, CO, with her least favorite being Springfield, MO.

Her first assignment was a little rough in that she didn’t get much orientation and she worked by herself at nights.  Thank goodness the physicians were friendly, and helped her find things.  The staff was friendly and supportive, but the drive back to KS was a killer.  She would like to remind nurses to specify what you want as far as job limitation on your contract.  Everything must be in writing.

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Kathy from Wisconsin

Kathy is a neuro/med/surg nurse who places her priorities on benefits and location.  She takes the one bedroom paid for housing provided by Emerald Heath Services.  She didn’t have quite as good of luck with RTG Medical and Bestaff.  Her favorite hospital has been San Rafael, CA, with Chico, CA, being her least favorite.

Her first travel assignment was rough in that she felt like her recruiter lied to her, left her stranded three hours from home, in a hospital that was worst than she has ever been in.  She would like to remind all new nurses to get everything in writing and even then the travel company can still lie to you. Beststaff’s contract stipulated an eighth week contract of twelve hour nights. When I arrived at Novato I was working days, Pms, Nocs and eight and twelve hour rotating shifts. Then I found out that Beststaff had typed the wrong ending date on the contract with the hospital so I was left without work for two weeks. Beststaff pretended to be a small southern company that had Christian values but to her they were they just the opposite. They lied about everything including the apartment which was a dive and they wouldn’t do anything about it when I brought that to their attention.  The doors didn’t lock, the balcony was rotting wood, the carpet and flooring had sharp tacks sticking up and you couldn’t go barefoot, etc.

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Michelle from Nevada

Michelle is a NICU nurse who counts salary and a great recruiter has her top picks.  She takes the two bedroom housing from Aureus Medical.  Her favorite city has been Las Vegas.

Her first assignment was in Seattle, WA, at Evergreen Hospital with HRN. First of all, she had a great recruiter, Summer, who is regrettably no longer with them.  She was very on the ball, helped her figure out the ropes, and got her the greatest little apartment in a fabulous neighborhood.  She went to work with the night crew, had awesome coworkers and stayed on for a total of six months. Great first time experience. I am so glad it wasn’t a horror story like some nurse’s!

She would like to remind first timer not to ever go into a facility and tell the staff repeatedly, “Well, back at (blank facility), we did it this way.” Staff hates to hear that, even if it is true. It just grates on the nerves. She had a traveler at her old hospital once who always said with her thick Bronx accent, “Well, back in New York…” -you fill in the blank. Everything was done differently there, apparently. If you have to absolutely add your two-cents about how something could be done better, just don’t preface your comment, “Well, back in (blank)…” and try not to do it too terribly often, because it will still carry the same effect. Remember, you are not out there to change the world! Just enjoy that you get to be so lucky to see how things are done differently everywhere and relish the fact that we get paid a good sum of money to travel around and experience the differences in American (and sometimes foreign) culture(s).

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Dorothy from Kentucky

Dorothy is an emergency and critical care nurse who places her priorities on benefits and location.  She has been traveling for over two years and takes the housing stipend and her RV with her on assignments.  She was previously with American Mobile and now travels with Trustaf.  Her favorite city has been Lexington, KY.

She had been a nurse for 12 years at the time of her first assignment, so she was fairly comfortable with it.  She have enjoyed the nursing staffs everywhere that she have been, and have made friends that she continue to keep in contact with from every assignment.

She would like to remind a first time traveler to be careful!  Your assignment is only as good as your recruiter.  Get it in writing and stick to your guns.  Adapt to your surroundings, work hard, be a team player, and you will fit in anywhere you go.

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Kristi from Texas

Kristi is a surgical nurse who travels for the great salary, benefits and location.  She takes the housing stipend and finds her own housing.  She has been traveling for over a year and is currently with Talemed.  Her favorite city has been Reno, NV.

Her first experience was very nice. However, in the middle of her extended contract her original company merged with National Healthcare and everything went to pot! She got a hold of a horrible recruiter. She had had an excellent recruiter with TVL. Needless to say, next assignment I switched companies.

She would like to remind newbies to ALWAYS GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING. Companies will promise you the moon to get you. Ask the company you are going to work for to have a nurse who already works for them contact you. This way you can ask them personally about their experience. Have a list of questions written down before you start contacting companies.  “I have been an OR nurse for 15 yrs and have had good experiences everywhere I have been. I plan to continue traveling. It is a wonderful way to see the country. I have made so many new friends.”

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Kristin from Lousiana

Kristin is a critical care nurse who places location and a great recruiter her top priorities.  She takes the stipend and spends it on an RV space.  In her almost five years of traveling, her favorite city has been Oklahoma City, with Naples, FL, and Los Angeles, CA, being her least favorite.

She and her husband are both RNs and travel together.  Their first assignment was at Emory in Atlanta, GA. It was OK. A little reverse racism going on there, but they just minded their own business.

She would like to remind first timers to be very wary of any promises made over the phone. “My recruiter is great and does an excellent job of keeping us out of not traveler friendly areas. The nurse manager of the ICUs at Naples Community completely lied about floating (how often and where). I extended only b/c I drove all the way from LA spent all my savings for the trip so I was stuck. I was floated MANY times to med/surg floors which is very difficult for an ICU RN…read TOO many pts. And when you where floated out you received no help, always took the crazy pts, admits etc. Bottom line…talk to other travelers to get the down low.”

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Rhonda from Florida

Rhonda is a telemetry and step-down nurse that travels for the great salary and different locations.  She takes the housing stipend and finds her own.  She has been traveling for over two years with Fastaff.  Her favorite city has been Reno, NV, with Bakersfield, CA, being her least favorite.

Her first assignemtn was a three week strike and she absolutely loved it.  She did a four week travel assignment next and was hooked.  She loves her job as a nurse!

She would like to remind the first timer to ask a lot of questions and get everything in writing!! Travel with a buddy the first time. Be flexible at the hospital, smile & work hard… it always pays off!! Enjoy, you will meet so many new friends!!!

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Tina from Illinois

Tina is an intensive care and emergency room nurse who places her priorities on a great recruiter and location.  She takes the one bedroom housing supplied by Travel Nurse Solutions.  In her almost five years of traveling, her worst experience was with On Assignment.  Her favorite hospital was in Seattle, WA, with her least favorite being in Providence, RI.

Her first assignment was a disaster…. the countryside was great, nurses, were standoffish, stuck up, snooty, management was disorganized, didn’t get paid for three weeks, if they make a mistake on your check, they pull the entire deposit out of your bank, don’t pay any bounced check fees and leave you on your own.

She would like to remind first timers to stay out of the politics, most of us travel because we don’t like the games, so remember that. Keep quiet for a few weeks, watch things, listen and learn who to go to for protocols etc.  Not everyone likes travelers.

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Bobbye from Mississippi

Bobbye is a telemetry nurse that places her priorities on salary and location.  She takes the one bedroom housing paid for by Trinity Healthcare.  Her favorite city has been Mesa, AZ.

Her first traveling experience was at Banner Baywood hospital in Mesa, Az. The first thirteen weeks was like a honeymoon. She asked for single housing for her and her husband and they put her up in a three bedroom townhome on a beautiful golf course! The townhome was gorgeous and fully equipped! As far as the hospital goes, they had a nurse patient ratio of 1:5 max and they stuck to it, they had experienced charge nurses that were really helpful. They even had a monitor tech, which I find now not all hospitals have in telemetry. She made a lot of friends there, and she feels it is an excellent hospital.

Her helps for a first timer includes finding another nurse that works for the company you are thinking of working for and grill him/her on the how the company really works!!

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Juanna from Michigan

Juanna is an intensive care nurse who places travels for the great location.  She has been traveling for under a year with bridge staffing.  Her overall experiences haven’t been so good with her disaster hospital listed as UCSF in San Francisco, CA.

During her phone interview with the UCSF ICU Nurse Manager, she stressed the fact that it was her first travel assignment as well as her first time working in the USA; therefore, she did not want an assignment where floating was involved.  The nurse manager confirmed both on the phone and in person that I wouldn’t float out of the unit, then she  was floated 50% of the time! .

She felt that her license and the patients she cared for were jeopardized on a regular basis. She addressed the issue with the nurse manager who “blackmailed” her into keeping her mouth shut or she would discontinue the contract (with all the financial penalties of housing for thirteen weeks in San Francisco for her to pay for.  She would have basically ended up paying to work!)  She kept a low profile. Fearing what was awaiting her every time she came in to work.  She decided to look at it as a challenge.  She worked hard and harder and had a lot of positive feedback from her colleagues. The nurse manager of her “home unit” interacted with her a total of five minutes over thirteen weeks. She remained extremely polite and respectful, even though she came all the way from Canada to California based on the nurse manager’s lies.  Nonetheless, she was “thanked” by this same nurse manager giving a bad reference to her future prospective employers.   It was overall a good experience work wise. It pushed her to her limits and she did learn a lot. Her agency gave her the assurance they were backing her up, but actually didn’t take any actions to correct the situation. As many others wrote, everything that is said should be written in the contract. Do not make the same mistake she made by trusting your recruiter/the hospital when they tell you that the contracts are standard and “such thing” (whatever concerns you) will/will not happen. She has heard one too many times the “trust me” sentence, and she was wrong to actually trust them when she knew that she wasn’t satisfied with what was (or wasn’t) written in the contract. Make sure you can get out of the contract without any financial penalty for you if the experience turns out to be less than satisfactory (and especially if it is disastrous or worse yet, dangerous). It looks like the agency you choose matters less than the recruiter you choose. Make him/ her spell out every detail and have it written down in your contract. Many things that were told to her orally by my recruiter did not happen and he later on denied saying it. It could be highly frustrating, and in my case, costly! It might only be thirteen weeks, but it could have major repercussion in your future too, so be extra careful. Protecting your practice and license isn’t that easy when you are between the rock and the hard place: you either do your best with what you have (most of the time, without what you actually need) or you just plain refuse the assignment and then you could be accused of endangering your patients by leaving them without a nurse. Both ways, you are stuck. So my best advice is: avoid any place that could potentially treat you this way, and if it still happens, make sure your contract allows you a way out.