What To Consider Before You Use a Travel Nurse Agency
Travel nursing provides a win-win situation for everyone involved. Without travel nurses, medical providers would be short-staffed during busy times. Travel nursing also allows nurses more freedom and flexibility. They can learn new skills and explore career options at the same time. If you’ve decided to be a travel nurse, your next step may include working with a travel nurse agency. Before you make that decision, however, get to know the advantages of using a travel nurse agency versus working as an independent contractor.
Declaration of Independence
If you want control over your career options, acting as an independent contractor may appeal to you. As an independent contractor, you negotiate contracts, work assignments, and other conditions before taking an assignment. Unfortunately, for tax or regulatory purposes, you may not be considered a contractor. According to federal tax regulations, nurses must follow work environment protocols and are not independent in the same way other health care professionals may be. The bottom line is that for tax or regulatory purposes, travel nurses may not qualify as independent contractors.
Small Price to Pay
Aside from legal or tax reasons, you may find the benefits of working with a travel nurse agency outweigh any concerns you have about freedom or autonomy. An agency is more than a middleman that takes a small percentage of your pay. Agencies offer numerous benefits that many travel nurses find invaluable. Most agencies provide knowledge about the process, access to new assignments, administrative responsibilities, and even housing assistance. In short, a recruiter can take care of the business end of a travel arrangement. This leaves you free to concentrate on the assignment itself and providing the best patient care you can.
Most travel assignments last between nine to 26 weeks, with an average of 13 weeks in any one location. With each move comes new paperwork, including tax forms and local, state, and federal regulations. You also have state-specific insurance needs, especially health and liability insurance. A travel nurse agency can assist you with the red tape and paperwork associated with each new job. In fact, agencies stay on top of any changes to make your transitions from place to place smooth and less stressful.
A travel nurse agency has experience with both nursing and logistics. After helping countless travel nurses like you, they have seen it all. Most issues that arise or questions you have likely occurred with another nurse. This means the recruiter is qualified to assist you. In essence, you have an experienced contact person or team who can navigate any concerns. They can also act as an advocate for you when you are facing an unfamiliar situation. If you prefer to venture out on your own, you can expect a learning curve. Travel nursing has unique challenges that even the most seasoned traditional nurse hasn’t seen.
Making a Match
If you’ve ever looked for work, you know that searching for a position can become its own full-time job. The same applies to a travel nurse position. Imagine how much time it may take to find your next assignment while working in your current one. An agency, on the other hand, has formed relationships with health care systems and providers and works actively to seek out new assignments for nurses. You can still exercise your freedom when it comes to taking assignments, but you don’t have the headache of finding them for yourself.
Travel nurse agencies help with housing, utilities, and other living arrangements and expenses. Some agencies handle everything by maintaining corporate housing or extended stay hotel contracts. They may also negotiate a per diem rate or an arrangement with utility companies for reduced or waived fees. Depending on the situation, you may have the option to take your family and your pet with you, which can make the idea of travel nursing more appealing. You can always handle your own travel or living accommodations independently, but it’s nice to know that you have help to make any transition between positions less complicated.
You may decide that the pros of working with a recruiter outweigh the cons of doing everything yourself. Luckily, you have a valuable resource with Wandering Nurses. We can help you find the right agency for you as well as provide reviews from other travel nurses. We maintain a current list of job postings to show you what is available and where you can go next as you carve your own career path. Travel nursing fills an important niche in the healthcare industry. If you’re ready to jump onboard, Wandering Nurses is here to help you get started.