The job outlook for nurses is fantastic. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field will grow by 15% in the period from 2016-2026. That is much higher than the national average.
With such great job prospects, nurses are finding ways to make the most of the high demand for their services. They are combining the desire to help others with a love for adventure in the form of travel nursing. Travel nursing is an excellent way to see the world while doing what you love.
Passion and profit can coexist, and in travel nursing, they do. The best travel nurses find ways to make the most of the financial side of their jobs.
How do they do it? It is not magic. You can learn to become a travel nurse here, and once you start your career there are some very practical ways to maximize your earnings.
We will show them to you in this collection of travel nursing tips. Read on to see if this exciting and in-demand career is right for you.
Tips to Make the Most of Travel Nursing
Making money as a travel nurse is about more than finding ways to pinch pennies. Sure, you can save if you book the right flights, stay in inexpensive parts of town, and take other cost-saving measures. But those are not the kinds of tips we wanted to give you.
Instead, we are going to focus only on suggestions that can add money directly to your wallet, no corner-cutting required. All of them are just good business sense. Take a look for yourself.
Be Flexible with Your Shifts
It is no surprise that some high-paying jobs are high-paying because they are less than ideal. There is a reason people get paid time-and-a-half on holidays. The reason is that few people want to work those shifts.
There are undesirable shifts in the nursing world as well, and if you are really looking to maximize your pay, you should seek out those shifts. These tend to be nights, weekends, and variable shifts, which get their name from the fact that the hours are not at regular times.
As long as you wear the uniform, you can lock down these shifts. You can find more info on the local variations in scrubs by talking to the other nurses traveling with you or already at the hospital.
Another form of flexibility you can demonstrate is geographical flexibility. Some areas pay more to travel nurses because of the difficulty they find in recruiting. If you are willing to travel to these locations, you may find yourself richer because of your openmindedness.
Take on Crisis Assignments
Crisis assignments in the travel nursing world are those that involve responding to urgent situations such as natural disasters or humanitarian emergencies.
These can be grueling, harrowing situations, and that is just the work itself. Some of the most difficult parts of crisis assignments are the logistical hoops it takes to get to the location of the crisis. If you want to take on crisis assignments, you should have your credentials, health tests, and other paperwork on hand and ready to submit.
These assignments, by their very nature, require a rapid response from candidates. Crisis work is not for you if you are not willing to drop everything at a moment’s notice. The turnaround time on some assignments is measurable in hours.
Know Your Bonuses
Bonuses are tricky for travel nurses since they are working freelance jobs and do not benefit from a corporate bonus structure. There are several types of bonuses, and it is important to know the difference between them all, so you can ask for the right one when the time comes. Here is a quick rundown.
Sign-On and Completion Bonuses
The first thing to know is where these bonuses are coming from. You can receive a sign-on or completion bonus from the agency you work with or from the hospital itself. Hospitals tend to offer completion bonuses more than sign-on bonuses, and as you might expect from their name, you do not receive these bonuses until your assignment has ended.
These bonuses come straight from the agencies. They are rewards for loyalty and hard work. When you work multiple assignments for an agency over a long period of time, they often reward you for the retention of your services.
Referral bonuses come not from the work you do yourself but from the work others do for you, in a way. The more friends you refer to your agency, the more money you can make.
Keep in mind that these bonuses usually do not clear until your referral has completed their assignment. A promise to work or a half-finished job does not earn you money, as it does nothing for the agency either.
Develop a Good Relationship with Your Recruiter
Your recruiter is one of your best allies in the search for the highest pay you can earn. They know the field, and they know what hospitals are looking for in their nurses.
They also know you. You should share your goals and dealbreakers with them. That way, they can work on your behalf to get you the money you deserve.
If you want to know which assignments pay best or when you are due a bonus, ask your recruiter. They know the answers to these questions, and maintaining a good relationship with them will help you make the most of this career.
Work with More Than One Agency
Just because you maintain a close relationship with one recruiter does not mean you can’t do the same with another recruiter. Different agencies will have different opportunities, and many hospitals only give their work to local agencies, which by definition cannot give you the full slate of work you want as a travel nurse.
You do not have to be dishonest to work with more than one agency. You can be upfront, and as long as you honor your commitments and stay in close communication, you can become a valuable asset to multiple agencies at once.
Get Licensed in Multiple States
Some state licenses are easy to obtain. Others take months. If you have your eye on specific destinations already, it is smart to seek out licenses in those states ahead of time.
That way, you can move where the money is without holding up the process searching for paperwork.
Follow the Paper Trail
Travel nursing can be quite profitable when you follow these tips. If you are organized and maintain smart personal business practices, you are already several steps ahead of the game.
Travel nursing is not just about the money, though. Check out our travel suggestions if you want to increase your quality of life wherever you end up.