Working with a travel nurse agency allows nurses to advance their skills in different areas and gain experience at healthcare facilities nationwide. However, some agencies need to provide nurses with adequate support and resources, which creates unnecessary stress.
A quality agency will offer their travelers a wide range of benefits, including health insurance, housing stipends, tuition reimbursement, 401(k) accounts, and referral bonuses.
Health insurance is an essential benefit for travel nurses to have. Many agencies offer their nurses’ group health insurance, which means the agency covers some or all of the premiums. Individual health insurance is another option for travel nurses, though it’s often more expensive and offers less coverage.
Some travel nurse agencies also include housing stipends in their compensation packages to help cover living expenses. It is an excellent perk as it alleviates stress from the financial side of travel nursing and allows nurses to focus on their assignments.
A good travel nurse agency will provide a comprehensive benefits package that includes medical, dental, and vision insurance. Some travel nurse agencies even offer 401(k) plans and reimburse nurses for licensure fees.
Travel nurses who attend classes in their spare time can often get reimbursed for some of the cost. It greatly benefits those who wish to continue their education but need the financial means to do so out of pocket.
Travel nurse agencies work closely with hospitals to fill open positions and offer flexible short-term contracts. Experienced travel nurses typically work with multiple agencies to receive notification of various job opportunities.
Once a recruiter has assessed your skills and interests, they can notify you of jobs that meet your criteria. You can then decide which ones to apply for, and your recruiter will submit your applications.
You can either accept the agency-provided housing or a housing stipend, a tax-free amount you can use toward your rental. Some nurses prefer to use the stipend to find their accommodation, which gives them more control over the location. However, this may only be an option if the assignment is close to your school.
A 401(k) account is a tax-deferred retirement savings plan. Some travel nurse agencies will match your contributions to the plan, increasing your overall retirement savings.
Travel nurses can also receive reimbursement for many things, such as housing expenses, transportation costs to and from assignments, and meals and incidental expense stipends. These additional tax-free benefits can significantly increase a travel nurse’s yearly income.
However, since travel nurses typically switch agencies at a much higher rate than permanent staff nurses, 401(k) accounts can be challenging to manage. When choosing an agency to work with, ask about their 401(k) matching and vesting schedules.
A Roth IRA is an alternative for travel nurses who do not use a 401(k) or want access to a 401(k) if they choose to work for an agency that does not offer one. With a Roth IRA, you can make after-tax contributions to the account and then withdraw the money in retirement without incurring any taxes at that time. It can be especially beneficial for travel nurses with lower marginal income tax rates in their younger years.
A travel nurse agency can help nurses explore new healthcare settings by letting them find temporary assignments around the country. These nurses often earn higher salaries than staff nurses, and many agencies provide a range of benefits, including housing, tuition reimbursement, and referral bonuses.
Hospitals often rely on nursing staffing companies to fill positions due to staffing shortages, but not all agencies are created equal. The best travel nurse agency offers a comprehensive compensation package, including highly competitive wages, direct deposit from day 1, and assistance with housing options.
During assignments, travel nurses can build a network of industry professionals and make connections to expand their professional careers. For example, a nurse may discover that she loves working in a certain department or specialty and decide to take on permanent staff duties at a different location. These career paths also offer the chance to expand nurses’ skill sets and grow their resumes. Travel nurses can learn more about potential opportunities by speaking with a recruiter from their chosen agency.
A referral bonus is a financial incentive offered by many travel nurse agencies to encourage nurses to refer their friends. Staffing companies know that people trust a friend’s company recommendation more than a commercial or an advertisement.
If a travel nurse agency doesn’t offer this benefit, then nurses should consider working with a different organization that does. Recruiters should be able to provide their nurses with various assignments and locations and offer high-quality benefits like direct deposit available on day one, housing stipends or agency-provided housing, tuition reimbursement, life insurance, 401(k) options, and more.
An excellent travel nursing agency also offers a single point of contact for every aspect of a nurse’s journey, through identifying and applying for jobs, securing contracts, finding housing, and settling into a new assignment. This recruiter should be able to serve as an advocate, mentor, and partner throughout the process. When recruiters fail to meet this need, it creates a divide and causes frustrated nurses to leave their agencies for others.