Travel nursing? Let me guess. You have a million questions because so did I. I decided to interview my friend Renee for this post because this is one option for working full time, but still seeing the world. She started her career at a hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Then, made the move to Phoenix, Arizona for her first stop of her adventure.
What inspired you to do travel nursing?
My first job was a good learning experience. I needed a positive change to help people. Travel nursing allowed me to do that and explore the USA.
How did you apply?
Research, research, research! There are a ton of travel nursing agencies. I honestly think this is the hardest part of the whole travel nurse experience. At first, I decided to go with a small local company in my hometown. I thought working with a local company would be nice so I could go into the office if needed. But, I found that the bigger companies had more options depending on what state you want to go to. Also going into the office really isn’t necessary.
– Just keep in mind that you may have to switch companies depending on what part of the country you are trying to go.
Also remember these companies are working for you so ask lots of questions.
Find a company that will reimburse you for your license, any certifications, scrubs, etc. Keep in mind they will not reimburse you until you get to that state to work.
Another thing to look for is to make sure companies offer health insurance.
How do you go about getting your license?
25 states are in the compact licenses which include licenses to all, but Ohio (which is where I got my original license) is not one of the compact states. So I have to apply to each state individually. I just went to each states board of nursing website and look for endorsement license. If you want more information to see if your state is in the compact license go here.
What states did you get and why?
Arizona: consisted of a two page paper with my contact information, I mailed it back to the board and then they mailed me a fingerprint card which I then took to a police station. Cost is about $10. They make you get a background check which cost $50. My Arizona license is good for three years and cost $240 total. It took me two months to get this license.
California: one page paper and they mailed you back a finger print Card. You have to get ahold of your college and get a transcript sent to the state. Keep in mind for all license if you miss any steps it delays you and with California the board is behind and averages 3-6 months to get your license. My California license is only good for one year and cost $179. It took me six months to get this license.
Colorado: this was the easiest and cheapest one. Everything was online, no finger printing needed. It was about 200 questions that you checked boxes and filled in your personal information. My license was emailed to me. My Colorado license is good for two years and cost about $90.
Texas: consisted of three pages of questions and an online test about their nursing law. I had to get finger printed and a background check. My Texas license is only good for one year and cost $216.
I had to go nursys.com and it will prove your license in your residential state. I paid $30 for each state that I chose. $30x 4 states= $120 (included in the costs above).
I chose Arizona first, because I wanted to go places based on weather and the time of the year. My next stop is Denver, because I didn’t want to be there in the winter. Then, my plan is to go to California and then Texas. The majority are 13 week contracts, but some places can do as short as 6 weeks. You can stay in one state for as long as a year before you claim residency.
How does housing work?
I would recommend finding it on your own. I looked into airbnb’s, VBRO, craigslist and even just googled furnished housing. For VRBO if you message the owners and explain you are doing travel nursing I have found they normally give you a discount. My agency sent me Extended Stay America and Hotel Engineer Apps.
How are your contracts broken down?
Think of it as a big pot of money that they break down into different sections. The agency will give you your hourly rate which will most likely be very low compared to what you’re used to, reimbursement for housing & meals, if you miss a shift how much you have to pay them, overtime hourly rate, holiday hourly rate, on-call hourly rate, and your call-back hourly rate. All of that is negotiable.
Join The Gypsy Nurse group on facebook. There is a lot of good information on there and it allows you to ask questions and get answers.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”- Mahatma Gandhi.