Healthcare Traveling has been around for quite some time, but there are newly credentialed professionals entering the pool daily, and may not know much about the industry or the questions to ask.
How Are Expenses Paid?
When you begin your journey as a travel healthcare provider, you may assume you’re responsible for the expenses associated with travel. Those expenses certainly compile and can add up.
If you work with a recruiter or travel agency, most of these expenses, or at least the major expenses, will be taken care of. Your living expenses, and the utility bills associated, can be set up and paid for by the agency. There is also an option to pay the monthly bills.
Internet and cable will be taken care of by you - the traveler. Most travel companies won’t pay for a TV, or appliances like washer or dryer, but if you have the room, you can rent appliances. Just let the recruiter know what you’d like to rent.
Depending on the agency, you may be offered a stipend for living expenses. In this case, you’ll be responsible for finding and paying for those expenses with the stipend.
What About My Fur Babies?
Be sure to tell your recruiter about your pets and they’ll help find pet-friendly accommodations. There might be restrictions on the type or size of pet and additional money may be needed to put toward a security deposit. In most instances, pets are no issue. You just need to find pet-friendly housing.
What Do I Do With My Family?
Although travel nursing is ideal for single persons, families travel as well. Be up front with your recruiter and travel company about who you’re traveling with and how many family members will be living with you.
If you are traveling with a significant other and are planning to start a family, you may want to plan ahead and get the appropriate-sized living accommodations.
Will I Get Benefits?
Yes, you should receive benefits - in some cases, on your first day of assignment. Most travel companies will provide health insurance and retirement with matching. You may need to inquire about dental, vision, disability, etc.
If you are a traveler in your spare time, when not working, you may want to keep more savings on hand. Paid Time Off (PTO) is typically not offered. You’re working a short-term assignment, so the location doesn’t want to be without you. If you aren’t available for work, you won’t get paid.
Is There An Orientation?
Orientation can vary from days to a few weeks. It varies by location and the immediate needs of the location. Get the details up front and ask about any orientation and when it’s offered. Is it available during specific shifts only? If there are orientation details, they’ll be shared with you.
Will I Get Fair Treatment?
You might ask, “Since I’m a traveler, will I get the worst tasks at the location?” Well, it all depends on your specialty really. You might get some of the “easier” patients and assignments, while the full-time staff deals with sicker and higher priority patients - especially in the ICU.
You might be the first to float, so if you don’t like floating, you’ll consider that the worst assignment.
Like with any job, the staff is getting to know you, your skills, and what you can handle. Stand-out and take on what you can handle. There may be some politics and you may not be able to please everyone, just do your best and do what you were there to do.
What Are The Biggest Challenges Of Being A Traveler?
Another challenge can be the instability. You’re not making a home anywhere and just going from town to town. If you like traveling, then you’re in the right profession, but it still can wear on a person. When the contract ends, you’re going through the same cycle again.
We’re creatures of habit and sometimes the stress of instability can be pervasive. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people and talk. Sometimes being heard can be the best medicine.
You can also work in locations that are most comfortable or close to your support system. That’s a great thing about travel nursing - you’re able to set the locations you want to work at.