New to Travel Nursing? 6 Things You Need To Know

You’ve researched, talked to your colleagues and your friends, and maybe even reached out to a few travel nurses, and you’ve decided that travel nursing is the next step in your career. We can’t say that we blame you! Travel nursing offers many advantages for work-life balance, professional growth, and a chance to travel to new and exciting locations. While the excitement is high, the thought of being a new travel nurse can be overwhelming at first. There are several important decisions to make, and you want to feel secure when you eventually travel away from home. As you start planning your first travel job, take a look at these things you should know. Onward with confidence!

1. How to Choose a Recruiting Partner

Most travel nurses work with a staffing firm to get their traveling career started. This is a great way to bridge between having a permanent employer and doing travel nursing assignments, but it’s important to find a staffing firm that is working for YOU. The staffing firm of your choice should know who you are, this includes your preferences, your dislikes, and yes…even your birthday! You and your staffing firm are partners in your travel nursing career, and they should be invested in your success just as much as they are invested in their client’s success. Additionally, any travel nurse recruiting firm that you choose to work with should have a history of success. It’s important to find out how long they have been in business and if they are trusted by known healthcare organizations.

2. Check for Joint Commission Accreditation

There are hundreds of travel nursing staffing firms in the United States, so before you take a leap of faith, make sure to find out if the firm of your choice is accredited by the Joint Commission. This accreditation means that the staffing firm is in compliance with nurse staffing national and global quality standards. A Joint Commission accreditation is a good indicator that the firm is operating with quality measures in place and is ensuring that they’re keeping strict healthcare compliance records.

3. Choose a Recruiter

When you choose a staffing firm, you’ll begin working with a recruiter to discuss job opportunities and your career goals. The relationship you have with your recruiter is every bit as important as choosing the best staffing firm. A professional travel nurse recruiter will work to get to know you, discuss job opportunities that fit your career goals, and will continue to work to help you achieve success. Throughout the job hunting process your recruiter will act as your advocate and liaison between you and the hiring healthcare organization. They will coach you through any questions you have about the travel nursing process and will help to prepare you for your interview before you start. While every staffing firm might not have a job immediately available that checks all of your boxes, it should be clear that they are interested in helping you get as close as possible and are working towards your goals.


4. Understanding Per Diem (or Stipend)

Most staffing firms offer their traveling nurses a per diem or stipend to cover the cost of any duplicated living expenses related to a work assignment. Such as housing, meals, and incidentals. These per diem or stipends are paid daily as an untaxable wage in addition to your hourly wage. This information is available on the GSA website. You will be able to research the maximum allowed daily per diem or stipend for that zip code where your assignment is located on this website. The actual amount of per diem or stipend is still dependent on the client bill rate, but this will give you an idea of the cost of living prior to selecting a location for an assignment.

5. Save Money on the Road

Traveling can be expensive. It’s always a good thing to know how to travel smart and save money when you’re away from home. Checking social media pages for local discounts, or keeping up with current offers that companies are providing to healthcare workers will help you to save when you need it most.

6. Know Your Benefits

Many staffing firms hire their nurses as W2 employees. This means that as a travel nurse you’ll have the best of both worlds by being able to choose when and where you work, but also maintaining the benefits that come with having a W2 employer. Many firms offer health, dental, and vision insurance, paid time off, and paid holidays, to name a few. Make sure to talk with your recruiter about when you’re eligible to enroll and find out about the benefits that are available to you.

LeaderStat has been a trusted staffing partner by healthcare organizations across the country for 21 years. As a Joint Commission certified staffing firm, we are committed to supporting nurses as they work to achieve their career goals. If you’re interested in becoming a travel nurse, take a look at our job board to see the exciting opportunities available now!


Contact Us

LeaderStat specializes in direct care staff, interim leadership, executive recruitment, travel nursing and consulting for healthcare organizations nationwide.