Travel Nursing Advice Column - Questions and Answers about Education and Experience
See questions and answers about travel nursing education and experience from travelers here, or ask your own.
I am looking to get into travel nursing after 3 years as hospice nurse and 14 years as a med/surg prior to that. Will I need more recent hospital experience to get started traveling?
You have great experience going for you with the 14 years of med/surg work. But as you probably know, your past three years in hospice care — while extremely valuable — sets you back a bit when it comes to getting into travel nursing. But only a bit! Hospitals like to see recent experience at a hospital or other facility and more recent experience is also very helpful on your end, since it will set you up for greater professional success. When you travel you really have to hit the ground running with very little training, so recent in-hospital experience is very applicable and helpful in the way that it will make your own life easier once you start traveling.
You will probably want to get back into a permanent hospital assignment or even take some per diem work to get more recent hospital experience back on your resume and, meanwhile, it will help you brush up on that aspect of your skills so you will be ready to go when the time comes for you to travel. Additionally, make sure you have a great recruiter who will work to sell all of your outstanding past experience and be helpful in providing any answers that can get you started in travel nursing.
I have 25 years experience as an RN, but have worked in a clinic setting for almost 3 years. I traveled as an RN in ED for 2 years (2008-10) but now am unable to get a travel position due to no recent clinical experience. Is there a company that would consider hiring me for a traveling position without recent clinical but lots of experience otherwise?
There may be some, but it will be tough to find one right now. Over the last few years hospitals have grown more particular about who they hire and our much more in the driver seat as to what kind of experience they want travelers to have than ever before. Your best bet would to try and work PRN on your days off or leave your clinical job altogether and work PRN for awhile to get your hospital experience built back up. Talk this plan over with some of the companies you have talked to that have seemed to be more understanding and get their opinion on it.
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I am new to travel nursing and don't really know what to expect. If you have difficulties with any of your skills, such as starting and IV, who do you turn to?
First off, if you have questions or need help while on assignment you should ask your charge nurse or a co-worker. However, before you try travel nursing make sure you are as proficient and confident in your skills as you can be.
Travel nurses are expected to come in right away and hit the ground running. Having to ask for help to often will not help endear you to the perm staff. It is understandable if there are simply skills you do not have because they are not something you are asked to do at your hospital, for instance if your facility has an IV team then it is understandable that you would not feel comfortable starting an IV. But whatever the skill is you need to make sure you are up front with your recruiter about your level of comfort with it so that you do not end up in an assignment you are not comfortable in.
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I know there are multiple EMR systems out there, and knowing the one a hospital uses can help with getting jobs. Is there any way to get tutorials on systems or learn systems aside from in hospital training?
There are online learning tutorials for hospital documentation systems such as EPIC, etc, however, at this time the only accessibility is through those hospitals systems. Healthcare staffing companies continue to push the software companies to release this training to better serve travel nurses. But right now your best bet is to show you are computer literate and a fast learner.
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What kind and how many languages are traveling nurses required to speak?
There are two types of travel nurses, domestic and international. You only need to be concerned with needing to know a foreign language if you plan on being an international travel nurse. Otherwise you will just need to speak English and possibly Spanish.
If you are planning on being an international nurse, what language you will need to know will depend on where you want to go. There are assignments all over the world and plenty in English speaking countries too, so not knowing a foreign language does not mean you can't travel internationally.
Here are some international travel nursing companies to check out:
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What is an average day like for a travel nurse?
At the hospital the average day for a travel nurse is really no different than that of a permanent nurse. The biggest differences will come during the first week when you are getting acclimated to your new surroundings and different protocols and ways of doing things. You may not have much orientation and you will be expected to come in ready to go. There will be a lot of new people to meet and the first week may be a whirlwind. Other than though it will be pretty much nursing as usual.
Away from the hospital you can live like a local, like a tourist or somewhere in between. Hopefully you will be in good safe housing that is close to the hospital where you work and in a city or region at least that you find interesting. If you are not the kind of person who gets easily homesick then your time away from the hospital should be a lot of fun. These days with modern technology though it is easier than ever to stay in touch and avoid loneliness on the road. A lot of what you do will depend on whether you are traveling alone or with someone, but either way it is a great way to see the country.
Here are some links to previous advice we have given on succeeding as a travel nurse.
5 Simple Ways to get on Good Footing as a Travel Nurse
5 Ways to Make a Bad Impression on your First day of Traveling Work
Travel Nurse That's Homesick?
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Do travel companies ever allow a sick day in contract? One sick day is not only losing pay but costs out of pocket. If so how would be the best way to word it in contract? It's scary to think I might get the flu or something and miss a week!!
Travel nursing companies do not typically allow for a sick day in contracts. The definition of a contract worker, which is what a travel nurse really is, is that the worker is paid for hours worked. Now some companies may offer a PTO option, but if they do, the money for this is probably coming out of your hourly pay anyway so you are really not gaining anything. If you are concerned about being sick and missing time you should definitely discuss it with your recruiter and understand what your company’s policy is. Most of the time a day here or there missed during an assignment is not a big deal. Hospitals know that getting sick every once in awhile is going to happen. It is only a problem if it lingers and you have to take an extended period of time off.
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I am interested in travel nursing and being assigned to San Diego. I will have one year experience in October so looking to start in November. How hard is it to get assignments over there after only having one year experience? Thank you so much!
It will be very difficult for you to get a travel nursing assignment with just one year’s experience. And realistically you should not really want to take one at that point in your career. Travel nursing is great, but hospitals are going to want you to be able to step in right away and help and you will have very little orientation. That is why the industry average and what hospitals ask for typically is at least two years experience. I would recommend getting one more year under your belt if not two before heading out as a travel nurse. The one thing you don’t want to do is to take an assignment too early and not enjoy the experience and be soured to the industry before you really get started.
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How do I get my foot in the door to becoming a Traveling Nurse in an
area where it's not very popular? Who do I need to contact?
You will need find a travel nursing company that has jobs in the area you want to go. You can go about this in one of two ways.
1. You can find travel nurse companies that list their jobs on their websites and contact them directly. Sites like Healthcare Travelbook, Absolutely Healthcare and are all good places to do this.
2. You can simply find companies you want to work with and let them try and find you a job where you want to go. RNVIP is a good site to do this on. To do this you will probably want to work with bigger companies that have more jobs. But be careful doing it this way because if a company does not have a job in the area you want to go they will try to sell you on going somewhere else.
In general though to be a travel nurse, you should be open to going to places you haven't considered from time to time, because sometimes you may have to wait until your ideal spot opens up.
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I have been concerned about only having an Associate RN degree. I also have a BSN
Agriculture Science and Animal Science. Is it necessary to have a BS in
Nursing to travel? I am very
happy being a Clinical Nurse. Would I be penalized
in anywayfor being an Associate Degree RN. Thankyou, TB
Don't let the Associate degree get you down. Travel Nursing is mostly based on your
skill level and amount of experience. That is what they are looking for. You must
have at least one year of experience in the area you wish to work.
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I am currently an RN with an associates degree and have
been working in an adult critical care for the past year. Am I qualified to travel
as an ICU nurse or is a BSN required to travel?
Thanks for your time and efforts.
No BSN required. Experience is the main thing.
One year experience is the minimum you need. Two years might be better in a critical
care setting. Only you would know if you feel ready or not. You may want to try
working local registry in town to see what it is like to work at another place.
If you are comfortable in your skills even in a strange place then you should
be ready for travel. good luck.
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I just read your article on travlenursingcenter.com. I wanted
to know if you could give me any advice on travel nursing. I am
in school now and work at a small hospital as an lpn. Next summer
I will be working there as an rn. Will my 12 mos experience as an
lpn and a few months experience as an rn qualify me to travel? And
do you have any advice on places, money, tax issues, etc. ? if you
could send me any info it would be greatly appreciated. I am from
NH and I would love to travel to California. Any info on California
would be great to? stuff like where to go where not to go...whatever
you can give me that would be great! Thanks.
You have alot of questions. I will try to answer some of them, but
otherwise...I would suggest you read the book "Hitting the
Road, a guide to travel nursing." for more information. You
can find this book in our library.
California is a great place to travel to and the pay is better than
most areas in the country. Be careful. Ask around and check our
hopital rankings to find out more about the hospital.
Every year, U.S. News publishes the Americas Best Hospitals. You
can go to their website and view their rankings of various hospitals
do a general ranking and also rank according to specialty.
Also, you may want to check the internet for the crime rate in the
area to make sure you are being sent to a good place. Most of the
year, the weather is nice especially in Southern California.
In general, agencies like to see you have at least 1 year of experience
to travel in your field. With your LPN experience, you may be able
to talk someone into taking your LPN background as a portion of
your experience. However, you want to make sure you are ready for
the journey. I don't know if your small town has registry nursing.
If so, I often suggest people try registry nursing first (working
prn at different local hospitals through a local agency) to see
if they are comfortable going to new hospitals.
You sound ready and willing. Keep up the hard work. You are going
to have so much fun and make money doing it.
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I would like to start travel nursing in april/may 2005.. I am
doing some research right now on the agency I would like to travel
with. It is downright impossible to contact every agency to find
out their availability of assingments.. but I will be traveling
doing L&D/ post partum adn well baby nursery.. are there any
companies that are 'known' for staffing these kind of nursing positions?
So far the only conclusion I've come up with is the bigger the company,
the more availability.. but I just didnt want to pass up a smaller
company that specializes in these positions. Also.. will travel
agencies negotiate on things like housing? I really like one large
company with a good availability for what I do, but the housing
is only free if it is shared, and I'd rather not pay for private
housing. Do you think there is a good chance we can negotiate on
private housing? How do I go about this?
Sounds like you have a good grasp of what you want which is a good
start. I don't know of any particular company that tends to specialize
in that area. If anyone does, I envite them to email
and share their knowledge.
You are right, a large company is probably a good start. However,
many companies do provide private housing so don't feel like you
have to go with a company who only has shared housing. Furthermore,
don't feel like you are limited to one company. You can take an
assignment with one company that has an assignment in your specialty
and then take an assignment with another company that has an assignment.
This way, everyone's assignment list is yours and you will be able
to find work. There are well over 100 agencies out there.
Furthermore, housing can often be negotiated especially if you are
willing to give up something else. Let's say you don't really need
health insurance coverage for some reason. That would be the perfect
opportunity to ask for private housing instead. Have them tell you
all the benefits they offer and how much they offer for each of
them and then see if there is a negotiation in there somewhere.
Ask them how you might negotiate for private housing. Many of them
will work with you as long as they stay within their alotted bugeted
amount for benefits. If they don't seem willing to at least take
a look at it with you. You may want to reconsider whether this is
the type of company you want to work with. It would be a good test
of their willingness to work with you in the future.
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I am currently living in the Corpus Christi area of Texas. Is
there anyway I can get a list of persons or companies that are adept
at preparing the taxes of a travel nurse in this area. Thank you
It is difficult to find accountants that specialize in travel. The
two most prominent ones I know about at this time is Traveltax (www.traveltax.com)
in NE and Kobaly (www.kobaly.com) in CA. However, you can make copies
of your documents and then mail them to the accountants to do. They
do taxes for travelers all over the United States. Kobaly even has
an organizer you can download to organize all your information right
into the computer for your taxes. A travel tax specialist is worth
the money. Good luck.
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I have an idea for a journal or receipt log that
can be used for keeping up with tax stuff such as gas, miles, expenses;
then you can record the totals of data needed from the journal/log
to tax forms. Just an idea; sometimes keeping up with all those
receipts is a headache and then the receipts can be stored in a yearly file.
Maybe the amounts of monthly cell bills, dry cleaning bills and
other stuff can be listed too. It might make it easier at tax time.
:) Is there a book specifically for travelers about tax stuff that
will help us get organized?
See if this is
what you have in mind. You can go to www.kobaly.com and download
their free organizer. Let me know if this is what you are looking
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I am just starting to travel and am wondering about the pay scale.
Is there one based on years of experience? Is this something that
you usually negotiate with your agency? And how much flexibility
The pay scale is usually based on your specialty, but not years
of experience. The rate is sometimes negotiable especially if you
are willing to give up some of the other benefits offered.
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I have worked in ER for the last 4 years. Before that I worked
for an ortho. surgeon, and have 24 years of direct/indirect OR exp.
I have floated occ. on my days off, in the OR. I'm I marketable
for an OR assignment?
Technically, agencies and hospitals want to see ONE YEAR OF RECENT
EXPERIENCE in the field you wish to travel. However, you have nothing
to lose by trying. You may be able to find an agency who is willing
to submit you. You would want to present it as working the last
4yrs in the ER while also working perdiem in the OR. Furthermore,
a good reference letter from the OR director or even a nurse you
have worked with in the OR would be helpful. Make sure they mention
that they have been working with you in the OR during this last
year or last few years whatever it may be. List the OR and the ER
on your work history so they will be able to call if they want to
and verify that you work there occassionally and that you are competent.
Then of coarse show all your previous experience in the OR. Tell
the agency you would really like to work in the OR when you travel
and if they can find you work than you will go with them. It is
worth a try. The letters of reference from the OR could really help
you. The worst that could happen is they say no. Big deal. If nobody
will accept you then you will have to make more decisions in planning
your future. For now, it is worth a try.
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I reactivated with a local agency for a contract that never appeared.
I now am being scheduled per diem, and have many shifts cancelled
due to internal staffing changes. Short of moving on, any advise?
Is this the only agency in town? You could sign up with a few more
agencies and keep your options open. Are the internal staffing changes
occuring in the company or in the hospitals? I am unclear. Depending
on the situation, you can tell the agency that you wish to speak
with one experienced staff member when you call (request him or
her) because you can't afford to have that many cancellations. You
may want to talk to a supervisor to get a fuller understanding of
the problem, then nicely explaiin your situation and ask for a solution
for the time being while things are being straightened out. Put
the ball in his or her quart and let them come up with a solution
that can help you and them out toward getting you the shifts you
are scheduled for.
Thank-you for responding so quickly. The staffing changes are
occurring within the facilities themselves. The Hospital System
will schedule for open shifts, then cancel 2 hours prior to the
start of the shift because census is lower than expected, or they
fill within the hospital for less cost than agency. This now leaves
me with at least one if not two cancelled shifts per week.
Yes, there are a few agencies in town, (Green Bay) most are relatively
new, and are not quite as established. I am concerned about conflict
of interest issues if I sign up with another agency, in addition
to the one I am currently working with. I have even approached the
agency about different hospitals which have consistently advertised
for ER nurses, and pushed them to approach these hospitals. They
have apparently done this, but have not secured a foothold yet.
I have an appointment today to speak with my former employer about
returning, just because I need to have a steady income. I am divorced
with 4 teenagers...I don't have a second paycheck to back me up.
I will probably stay on with the agency, but work only limited hours
with them. I had hoped that working the local agency, which is also
nationwide would provide a door to my eventual plans of traveling
2 years from now. My former hospital is a critical access hospital
that runs with only 1 RN in the ER, and uses RT for backup. The
hospital has gotten much busier, but no RN positions have been added.
It worries me that I feel I am putting my license on the line each
shift I work up there, which is one of the reason's I left to begin
I understand your struggle with politics and the need to work. I
am not sure how big Green Bay is. Smaller towns are a little more
difficult to get the hours you need. However, it should be in your
best interest to sign up with all these agencies. Hospitals have
a list of agencies they work with and they will often staff that
day with a nurse from the agency that returned their calls first,
or the one they like to work with the best and so on. I have had
situations where the hospital told one of my agencies they didn't
need a nurse anymore and meanwhile the other company ended up sending
me to the same hospital. Who knows how they pick the agency for
that day, but you want to make sure you are in the file for choosing.
Depending on the norm of the area, some agencies will take it personal
if you sign up with another agency, but most of the time they understand
and they see their competition more on the hospital end than with
the nurse. You are a nurse who is will to work for anyone that can
place you. It is their job to compete for the work. If one of them
calls you to work, but you are already scheduled somewhere than
you can simply tell them you are unavailable that day, but you are
available so far on the other days. They don't need to know your
Agencies are just glad to have experienced nurses to work. Don't
worry about this affecting your future travel plans. The agency
you have been working with and many other agencies will be glad
to work with you when you are ready to travel.
Can you apply to any other hospitals in town instead of the one
that scares you? What if you worked part-time there and the other
days were registery? So many options to consider. Good luck. There
is no doubt that one of the disadvantages of local registry is that
you have no guarantee of hours. Sometimes, even if you do get a
shift, you may be sent home early. The larger the city (more hospitals)
the easier it is because there are more options to fall back on.
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I am currently on assignment in Bay Area , with the state budget
the California Highway Patrol ( CHP ) now has a crackdown on out
of state registration , encouraging people to turn in CHEATERS.
Ca. has a law that any person who works in Ca. for more than 20
days must change vehicle registration and drivers license to Ca.
I asked my recruiter about this and reply was yes we knew about
the law, and basically informed me it was my responsibility to check
on local laws.. I have a friend (traveller) who was pulled over
in San Francisco who was arrested , car impounded and it cost him
935$ to get car out of inpound. I feel that Travel Companies should
be required to warn people they place in Ca. of this law . Do you
know of any agencies who provide rental cars to Ca. travellers so
they can stay out of jail..
Thanks for the information on the California laws. I will post this
right away for travelers to read. What is it costing travelers to
Meanwhile, finding an agency in California that provides a rental
car will be very hard to find especially since the cost of housing
is already so expensive. However, if a traveler is lucky enough
to be staying with friends or family, he or she may want to negotiate
for a rental car as part of their housing allowance, but not to
replace the housing allowance.
The cost depends on what kind of vehicle you drive of course..
but changing your drivers license is a big hassle.. once you take
test it takes 4-6 weeks to get license with photo.. You are issued
a piece of paper.. no hotel, hard to use charge cards , and attempting
to fly is a nightmare with out a government issued photo ID..I forwarded
the CHP cheaters web page... thank you for warning other travellers
thinking of choosing a Ca. assignment about this problem..
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I have been traveling for almost a year now (2 asignments). i
have had little difficulty finding assignments until now. my last
assignment ended 6/24 and i have been out of work since. im working
with 2 agencies and have submitted to about 12 hospitals and have
not had any interviews. i was interviewed faster when i had no travel
experience! i have gone over my profiles and can't find any reason
to not have any Responses. very frustrating! is this just the nature
of the beast or is there somethng else going on? do others have
this problem??? please advise!!
What is your specialty? The demand for certain specialties can vary.
Are you looking to travel in a particular area? I am not sure what
is happening without knowing more. I would to suggest you sign up
with more than 2 agencies in order to keep your options open. The
competition among agencies for positions is increasing
I did finally get an assignment yesterday. It isn't my chice
of location or specialty but it's not bad and I can't afford to
be picky at this point!! I wen with a bigger agency-I'm wondering
if that was the problem. Thank you so much for your help. I appreciate
the time you spent!!
I am glad you found work. Larger agencies tend to have a bigger
selection of assignments, yet they are often less personal. You
want to keep yourself signed up with at least 5 to 10 agencies of
various sizes so the odds are in your favor. Then start looking
around a month before your assignment is up. Good luck and thanks
for the update.
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I recently applied to travel nurse international to work in calif-i
am from alberta,canada- i am now being told completion bonuses are
being deleted as they are taxed heavily by amer.gov't. is this true
and are the majority of travel nurse companies deleting them or
should i apply to another company?
I have yet to hear of such a thing. However, I would continue to
apply with other companies and then make your decision. It is always
a good idea to have more than one option. You might try Supplemental
Health Care and O'Grady-Peyton for example. They are well versed
in international travel. You can find them on the website's agency
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I am writing to ask if you know if LPN's from outside USA are
employed by any nursing travel agencies, I am from Australia and
am a Registered Nurse Division 2 which is equivalent to a US LPN
and I am hoping to get work in the US,any information would be greatly
Unfortunately the requirements for LVN travelers are not as high
as RN in the United States, but that is not to say an assignment
isn't there for the taking. If I were you, I would start with the
following company. They are most likely to have a position for you
and know how to get you there.
O' GRADY-PEYTON INTERNATIONAL
532 Stephenson Ave. #100
Savannah, GA 31405
They are experienced in international staffing and are actively
involved right now in trying to staff California. California recently
implemented a mandatory nurse to patient ratio. I predict LVN's
will be in higher demand in California shortly to help with staffing
Keep in touch and let me know what you find out.
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My husband and I, both RNs, are thinking about travel in a RV.
What are the pros and cons of this? Thanks
Traveling in an RV can be fun and financially rewarding. The RV
serves as a comfortable transportation vehicles as well as a mobile
house. You would save additional money living in an RV while collecting
travel allowances and housing subsidies. When it was all said and
done, traveling will have also paid off your RV which you can then
sell or upgrade. You no longer have to pack and unpack or wonder
what type of housing you will have when you arrive to an assignment.
The down side is that you will be limited to RV park locations.
From what I understand, this isn't much of a problem. You should
be able to find one fairly close to the hospital. There are many
RV parks throughout the United States.
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How could I go about dealing with a travel company that breached
the contract that I had with them?
I am not sure about the details of your situation. I will continue
to check into this question in a general sense for others in similar
situations. For now, I would suggest you contact the Labor Commission
of the state you were working in at the time of the contract. Also
collect as much evidence and documentation as you can. Labor Attorneys
usually don't charge you, they make their money from winning cases
against companies that have done you wrong, especially if the company
owes you money. I would get a Labor Lawyer and then keep us posted
as to how things go. This information would be helpful for all travelers
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Hello. You mentioned that you have information on agencies that
staff nurses in the UK. I'd love some information if you could pass
The following agencies have been known to staff nurses in the U.K.
Let us know what you find out when you call them. We would love
to hear from you.
Catto International Limited+44 1276 500 529 www.catto.net
Kate Cowig 353 (0) 1 671 5557 firstname.lastname@example.org
O'Grady Peyton International 877-504-7794
Supplemental Healthcare 800-543-9399
World wide Healthcare Exchange +44 (0) 1707 259233 www.whe.co.uk
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Have you heard of Critical Care Professionals? Is this a travel
nursing agency? Are they on the web, I can't find them anywhere?
Sure, their phone number is 410-321-5580. They staff dialysis nurses
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I am going to be interviewing for a job at St. Thomas, in the
Virgin Islands. Do you know of any nurses that have worked travel
assignments there, and liked it?
I haven't known any nurses that have been there, but I did know
a surgical technician that love it. According to him.....the hard
terrible part about going there is having to return home. I hope
you write in and tell us about it if you go. I am sure others would
love to hear about your adventure.
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Looking for info on Phelps Memorial Hospital in Sleepy Hollow
New York. Especially housing. Anyone?
I assume you are wanting information from other travelers such as
what it is like to work there and what the housing is like. If this
is the case, I would post this question in our membership forum
for all to respond to. Also, if you go to the websites meet members
section ....you can email nurses in New York. They may have heard
what it is like. The meet members section was created for just this
kind of reason. You can quickly gain and share information with
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Are there any agencys staffing for strikes at present.
Try HPO, Fastaff, and Travel Nurse International. These are the
agencies that are known to be the big players when it comes to staffing
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What resources can I use to locate travel companies that offer
over seas assignments?
Good question. I don't really know of one good source to find assignments
that send people overseas. We need to fix that. I will continue
to research this question and meanwhile we will open this open for
discussion. If anyone knows of a good source for this and or any
agencies that staff overseas please send an email
and we will begin right now to change that and make a list right
here on this website.
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Are there any jobs out there for LPN's in travel? I have filled
out apps with allof the travel agencies; they write back saying
they have plenty of openings. I am flexible with location, then
they say there is'nt much for LPN's.
This can be frustrating. Unfortunately, most recruiters are told
to tell you there are plenty of openings in order to get your application.
They want your contact information. Then they worry about whether
they really have a position later. I know LPN's do travel, but yes,
the positions are not as easy to find.
There are over 100 travel companies out there. One of them is bound
to have an assignment. For starters...I would suggest you go to
this website's find assignment section and post your resume. Your
resume will be sent to several travel companies at once and then
they can contact you if a position comes available.
Meanwhile, you may want to find a smaller agency and offer a committment
to them if they are willing to market you and your skills. Yesterday,
I was on the phone with Robison Medical and they brought
up the fact that they staff LPN's. You may want to try them if you
haven't already. Their number is 888-288-5659. Furthermore, I just
read an article about an LPN who recently worked in Alaska with
Healthcare Seeker 888-331-3431.
Keep me informed and let me know when you find something.
The following agencies have staffed LPN's within the last year.
You may try contacting these companies. If you find one that is
no longer staffing LPN's please email me and we will remove them
from the list. The industry is constantly changing.
american traveler 800-884-8788
Core Med 800-995-2673
Cross Country 800-343-3270
Favorite Nurses 800-755-1411
Medical Express 800-544-7255
Nurses RX 800-733-9354
Preferred Healthcare 800-735-4774
Preferred medical 800-552-6845
Stat nursing 800-962-8678
Prestige Healthcare Resources (866-997-9844) just wrote me
about several positions they have in California. December 2, 2003
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I have been an RN for a bit better than two years, and have traveled
for the past nine months (on my third assignment now). my experience
is med-surg, some telemetry; also orthopedics and some others (i've
worked in small hosptials where you do it all). i really want to
work PACU, perhaps ER or ICU. i have the paper credentials, just
no experience. i've made it clear during my interview that i'd be
happy to float to these units as a "pair of hands" (just
for the exposure, though i don't say it that way). so far it hasn't
happened. any other suggestions for gaining this experience? i'm
getting a bit burned out on med-surg. thanks! oh--great site!
Unfortunately, it is difficult to get "experience" in
a new department while traveling. You almost have to find a unique
agency or hospital. I believe Cross Country used to advertise a
cross-training program along with traveling. You may want to see
if they still do anything like that. Otherwise, most hospitals want
to put you to work where your strengths are. You are only there
for a short period of time. The time and money to orient you to
another department is difficult for them to justify. I know a nurse
who recently stopped traveling to work a year in NICU so she could
gain the experience she needs to travel and work in NICU.
The only other suggestion I have..... would be to discuss this upon
your interview with the hospitals. You may be able to agree to work
with them for a certain period of time, if they will work with you.
I would try to propose this with a hospital that is known for having
a ongoing need for travelers.
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Is traveling only for the very experienced? I work full time in
an office setting but only do 1 day a week in acute care. Woulkd
i be able to adapt to a travel experience?
Good question. First, it is great that you are keeping your foot
in the door by working once a week in the acute care setting. I
am curious how long you have been doing that. Are you experienced
enough to travel? Well, only you can really determine that, but
here are a few pointers: Travel nurse companies usually require
a minimum of one year experience in order to travel. What if you
meet the requirements, but are not sure of your comfort level? The
more experienced you are...the more comfortable you will be. Here
is a good way to test yourself out without too much risk: sign up
with a local registry in town and try working a day or two in different
settings in town and see what your comfort level is like. If you
really want to travel, continue to do occassional registry work
in town until you are comfortable going into a new setting and being
put to work right away. If you can work at a variety of places in
town with comfort, you will be able to travel in comfort. Local
registry gives you a chance to see what traveling would be like
without the risk of uprooting yourself first.
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