Earn Triple Digit Pay for Travel Nursing


What would you say is the biggest reason to consider travel nursing?  Most say it is the high rate of pay.  Some of course like the idea of travel but money is the top reason. I am aware there are sites that exaggerate how much money nurses can make. Pay for travel nurses can vary drastically depending on so many conditions.  The bottom line is travel nurses can earn a triple digit income if you follow a few easy tips.

Where the money is:

Travel nurses are inclined to go someplace warm and sunny for the winter.  If you are working for the money you will need to trade places with the snowbirds for the winter.  You will find some big opportunities in northern states in the winter.   Pack your snow boots and heavy coat and head north to earn very high pay rates.  States like Alaska, North Dakota, and Illinois will offer special rates for the winter.  These states anticipate a shortage and may even offer a bonus in order to fill positions.

Not a bad way to pick up more money if you can brave the harsh winter months.  Before you know it spring will appear and you will forget the cold with a fat bank account.

Be available to work holidays:

There are a couple of advantages to being available to work holidays.   The first is the opportunity to make a holiday rate of pay.  Most places will pay 1.5 to 2 times the base travel pay rate for someone to work a holiday.  Another reason to work holidays is there may be the flexibility of a short term contract.   Permanent staff like to take vacations between the end of November and the first part of January.   Many hospitals will offer a 4-6 week contract to cover the time during the holidays.  This is one way to make a decent paycheck and explore a new place without the 3-month commitment.

Take on overtime shifts:

If your goal is to make as much money as you can during an assignment then pick-up overtime shifts. Most facilities who hire travel nurses are having staffing shortages.  Frequently they will offer overtime shift for both travelers and staff.  Most places offer 1.5 to 2 times the pay rate for hours over 36 or 40 per week.    Many of the travel agencies will offer additional bonuses for working certain amounts of overtime.  Make sure to check with your recruiter when negotiating your contract.

High paying specialties:

If you are one of those nurses who has specialized in an area of nursing that will correlate to more money.  The nurses that earn the highest pay are Cardiac Cath Lab, Labor and Delivery, NICU, ICU, ED, OR and Telemetry.

Small town work:

So many nurses dream of the glamour of NYC or San Francisco, but travel nurses should consider a small town or rural facility.  Because a facility is least desirable and in an underserved area they may offer an enticing pay package.  Think about how much money you can save by working just a few months in an underserved area. You will have an opportunity to make new friends and maybe even find a new place to explore.

Housing stipends are money makers:

When you negotiate your contract do everything you can to take the housing stipend.  If you take the company housing you are left with only the taxable income from the job.  If you are willing to explore other options on your own for housing you can save money.  There is the possibility of saving even thousands on each contract.  Look into Furnished Finder, Airbnb, Facebook housing groups and other travel nurse blog sites.  This may take some time and be a bit stressful but can save you hundreds of dollars per month.

Strikes and rapid response:

With the number of catastrophic events we have seen this past year we have seen an increase in opportunities to travel on short notice.  If you are flexible and spontaneous you may have the ability to make huge sums of money.  We also saw that the nurses in NYC threatened to strike in April over patient ratios, which opens an opportunity for a high rate of pay.   Of course, this type of assignment is never a guarantee.  Strikes can be resolved within hours after you have arrived and you may return home with having worked.  Being prepared with all papers and credentials in hand is important.  You have to have licenses, references, tax forms, drug screens, vaccines, etc.  all in a folder and ready to go,  Your options for shift or unit is generally not an option since you are just needed to cover what’s needed within your scope.



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Cheryl Roby, RN

Cheryl J. Roby is a Registered Nurse and retired US Army Reserve Nurse Major. She has more than 30 years of nursing experience and 26 years of military experience in the Army Nurse Corp. During her nursing career, she has traveled as part of her military experience visiting many of the 50 states and to South Korea. She was trained as an Army Medic during the Vietnam era and later as an OR tec. She went on to become a Licensed Practical Nurse and then completed her nursing training as a Registered Nurse. She was then commissioned as an officer in the Army Reserves. She appreciated the challenge of working in various specialties and expanding her clinical and professional skill sets. Her time in the Army Reserves and California National Guard gave her the opportunity to travel to most of the 50 states and work in other medical facilities. During her career, she had the opportunity to work in several specialties to include, OR, Occupational Health, Hospice, Sexual Assault Team, Forensic/ Correctional Nurse, Nurse Case Manager for developmental disabilities, Parish Nursing as well as a Nurse Entrepreneur.

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