Becoming a traveling nurse opens up a whole new world, in more than one way. The first way, traveling nurses get to gain more experience and travel the world. The second way opens up a whole new world of lingo. Travel nursing can be quite overwhelming the first time around. What can make it frustrating for a new travel nurse is the vocabulary. Below is a list of travel nursing lingo you need to be aware of and understand.
Travel Nursing Contract Lingo
Basic Travel Nurse Contract
Most travel nurse contracts are for 13 weeks and will include an average benefits and pay scale.
Guaranteed versus not Guaranteed
When reading over any travel nursing contract be sure to look for whether or not the hours are guaranteed. This is important especially for anyone trying to plan a budget. guaranteed hours means you will be scheduled for whatever hours are promised. for example, being guaranteed 35 hours means you will be scheduled for a minimum of 35 hours, per week while you’re on that particular assignment.
Signing a contract that does not have guaranteed hours means you could be called off, anytime, without pay. Be aware, even a contract with guaranteed hours usually have a clause that includes allowances for the hospital to call you off up to a particular amount of hours. For example, you may be scheduled for 35 hours, per week, the hospital can call you off for up to 8 hours, without pay. After that, if they call you off they are still required to pay you.
Day and Night Rotations
Most nurses have certainly been on a day or night rotation. However, some hospitals define that differently. Some hospitals have you work the day shift 1 week and the night shift the second week, alternating weeks throughout the rest of your contract. Others have you work days the first half of your contract and nights the second half of your contract. So, it is important that you read that section of the contract. Be sure to get that part clarified before signing the contract.
When this is mentioned in a contract it means that there is an urgent need to fill the position. These contracts also tend to have varying lengths of 4-12 weeks. Good news these assignments usually come with higher salaries. You must just be prepared to “hit the ground running”, meaning you will have to get to the assignment quickly and start work, probably immediately.
Be aware most hospitals require a couple years of travel nursing experience, in order to qualify for this type of assignment. Being able to jump into an open position is an asset hospitals are willing to pay for, but they want to be sure the person has a wide variety of skill sets to work with. He or she needs to be able to handle any situation they may get “thrown” into.
Electronic Medical Record
As more and more hospitals move their records from paper into electronic format, many hospitals need help inputting the medical records electronically. Sometimes this position may only be inputting data, but it can also be a dual role. You may be required to input data and handle patients.
As Needed, Per Diem
A traveling nurse looking to supplement his or her income can pick up hours, as needed. Many hospitals have random shifts that need to be covered. Much like a substitute teacher, a travel nurse would fill in for a shift or two or a day or two. This is great for a traveling nurse who is on an assignment that doesn’t have guaranteed hours. Or it is also good for picking up extra income while on assignment.
Understanding the travel nursing lingo is important in order to be able to choose the assignments that will best fit you and your needs. As there is a lot of travel nursing lingo to understand this is Part 1. Next week, we will cover “Travel Nursing Lingo, Part 2”. That part will go into the travel nursing lingo related to a travel nurse’s pay.