When you’re first starting out, you may have a lot of questions about travel nursing in general and why you should consider it as a career. A recruiter works with many nurses like you on a daily basis and can help guide you through the process. It’s also important to figure out what your wants and needs are so that you can ask the right questions throughout the process. This will help your recruiter evaluate your situation and give you the best options specifically tailored for you.
Our Director of Talent Attraction, Alex Acton, breaks down some of these top questions to cover with your recruiter so that you’re prepared for the road ahead and ready for your next travel nursing assignment.
What to Ask Your Travel Nursing Recruiter
What does it mean to be a travel nurse? What are the benefits?
You’ve probably done some research about travel nursing before speaking with your recruiter, but this is a good opportunity to get their expertise on the subject. They can help you understand the logistics and benefits of travel nursing. Recruiters are well versed in the process and also have relationships with the facilities they place you in. Based off of your wants and needs, a recruiter can help you evaluate your specific situation and decide what’s the right fit for you.
How many years’ experience and what certifications do I need?
There are a number of basic requirements you must meet to become a travel nurse and your recruiter can help you evaluate if you’re ready to start travel nursing now or what else you need to do to in order to get started. Most of the time, at least two years of recent experience in a particular specialty is required for travel nursing positions. Other experience and certifications can vary based on the assignment, so it’s always smart to discuss the specifics with your recruiter. You want to make sure that you meet all the requirements of the job and have the necessary documentation together so you’re ready to travel!
What benefits do travel nurses receive?
It’s definitely a good idea to decide what’s important to you as far as benefits go and ask for that information from your recruiter to review. Just note that adding healthcare benefits or PTO through your employer can affect your paycheck. A recruiter will be able to explain their company’s offerings and how it breaks down, given what you elect and the particular assignment. There are usually additional perks for travelers like rewards and referral programs, so be sure to ask what else your recruiter can offer beyond your standard benefits.
What factors may affect my pay package?
A number of variables impact your pay as a travel nurse. If you elect for health benefits or PTO, that can change how your pay breaks down. A recruiter can help you customize your package to fit your needs and walk you through how it all breaks down. An assignment may offer something like a completion bonus too. You can give yourself a boost by utilizing a company’s referral bonus program as well. Your recruiter can help you understand your non-taxable travel stipend, but it’s always recommended that you talk to a tax professional about your particular circumstances to get their expertise for filing your taxes.
How long are travel nursing contracts? Is there any flexibility in the number of weeks I work?
Travel nursing contracts are typically 13-week assignments, but that can vary. It’s always a good idea to get clarification and ask your recruiter about a specific contract to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Depending on the need, you might have to move quickly to start an assignment. Getting that information early on can help you schedule your travels around moving to your new location or vacation time in between assignments. You can also learn about additional opportunities like extensions from your recruiter that could help you if you want to stay in a particular location longer.
How long will it take to get started once I’m offered a position?
There can sometimes be a lot of paperwork and preparation needed before you start an assignment, and in other situations, you’ll have to move quickly with a tighter turnaround. Either way, it’s good to know what compliance you’ll need to have together before you can start an assignment and what the facility is expecting as far as a start date. Sometimes you will have to complete additional certifications or an orientation, and that can vary. Those requirements are dictated by the facility. Knowing what’s expected for each assignment is your key to success. Open communication with your recruiter is also important so you can stay on top of everything and avoid delays along the way.
What happens after I complete my assignment?
It’s never to early to start thinking about what’s next! A recruiter should be your career advocate during your travel nursing journey. If you have desired locations on your list, or you know that you have a vacation planned before starting your next assignment, let your recruiter know so they can support you in preparing for what’s ahead. Speaking to your recruiter about your plans and goals will help you worry less about the logistics along the way so you can focus on caring for your patients and enjoy your travel adventures.