The pandemic has taken the world by storm and it has been quite overwhelming for everyone and travel nurses have a big job, especially during these times. Travel nurses are in high demand during the COVID-19 crisis and the risks to travel nurses during the pandemic are extremely high. They are the ones who put themselves in the line of fire, helping all of those people who are in need, making them our nation’s heroes. This is why there are health insurances for travel nurses that would help them if something ever happens to them. Here are things you need to know about travel nursing during the pandemic.
The Most Important Thing to Know About Travel Nursing During the Pandemic
You have to know why you are doing it, ensure that you have experience when it comes to nursing and have enough experience in your specialty and the safety of the hospital and the risks of what environment you may be working in because the hospitals are operating under very high pressure because of minimal resources and staff. With that being said, the most important point that you may or may not have to consider is your level of experience.
Another important thing is to research the facilities that you may or may not be interested in. There are many travel nurses that tend to be shocked when they arrive at the facility that they work in. You have to constantly ask yourself “Am I working in a safe environment?” because it is definitely not work whisking your RN license for the love of money.
The third thing that you have to keep in mind is that you have to be comfortable in being alone and take it easy on yourself. Being a travel nurse means that you are constantly being thrust into a new environment and with the pandemic, you are dealing with things that you have never had to deal with as a staff nurse and even as an ordinary travel nurse.
Because of the nature of the work and the short-term placement, it tends to be a bit harder to make friends as a traveler. But you don’t have to be afraid because there has been a tight-knit travel community that has developed over the years and it is not hard to meet other travelers with the advancements of social media and apps because we are looking to meet other travelers.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to others and use your resources to research everything that you need to know about where you are going, what you should do, how you can find other resources, and to meet other travel nurses just like yourself.
How New Travel Nurses Find Assignments
There are a ton of travel nursing agencies that could help you with that and they would email you your assignments that are high paying or that could fit the criteria that you are looking for and have provided to them weekly. It gives you an overall sense of what the market looks like and what you should be looking and expecting for upcoming contracts.
Many places will not hire travel nurses who do not have previous experience and there are existing travelers in the market that are looking for jobs, which also makes it harder on your part. It is, sadly, unlikely that you will be hired over that five-year nurse. It is also a lot riskier for more travelers to come, get a job and not get their contract canceled. It is better to stick to your permit job for not until everything slows down and jobs are opening back up again.
You could talk to other travel nurses and see what recruiters, companies, or agencies that they recommend. You should read their blogs, search Pinterest, use Google, and read reviews. Follow your gut instinct. It’s okay to walk away when you don’t like the company you are talking to and keep searching until you find the right recruiter for you.
Tips to Make the Most Money as a Travel Nurse
- You have to understand how the pay breakdown works, and how to maximize your take-home earnings.
There are low taxable earnings and there are high non-taxable stipends, this would all depend on the company or agency that you work with.
- Live as minimally as possible.
This may not be for everyone, but you have to try to have fewer items in comparison to where you live permanently. It would help you save money and space and help you realize that you may or may not be spending a lot of money on unnecessary items.
- Save and invest.
You could also save and invest some of the money that you make on a contract and build a budget. Some new and experienced travelers unfortunately do not save their money because they have been accustomed to the new income that they now have.
- Do your research on what you are talking about.
Understanding how your pay package is broken down and learning simple terminologies like bill rate, taxable income, non-taxable income, and the like, would help you negotiate for more and you would ultimately make more money.
- Airbnb and apartments.
Try to find a place that is as close to the facility that you are working at as possible and getting an Airbnb and maybe a short-term apartment for your rent is the best possible option for housing.
- Work with more recruiters.
Many recruiters would tell you not to work with other recruiters, but the more recruiters that you have from different agencies, the more leverage than another important thing many travel nurses tend to have. You have to look at jobs and match pays for multiple different companies for the same job to get the best pay.
The United States has been facing a nursing shortage in their hospitals and other facilities even before the pandemic started, which is why they had been relying on travel nurses to fill their staffing needs. The pandemic just increased the demands more.