- Always make sure you have a signed contract before leaving for an assignment. I know many nurses who have a verbal and have flown to the other side of the country only to learn that the hospital decided they didn't need a traveler after all. Always make sure your contract is signed.
- If for some reason the hospital cancels you and you have a signed contract file for unemployment.
- Make sure whatever you want is in writing in your contract. For example if guaranteed hours are important to you, make sure it is in your contract. Need time off to go to your sisters wedding, make sure it is in your contract. Read through your contract very carefully. If you don't want to float, want specific hours, etc. Make sure it is in your contract. I can't stress this enough. I have heard so many horror stories about nurses who didn't get it in writing and the hospital didn't honor it.
- You may have a great relationship with your recruiter and that is great, however, don't forget your recruiter is employed by a company and that company's mission is to make money. So while most of your recruiters are supportive of you and they should be, they are also working towards the bottom line. Their allegiance is going to be to their company and the companies needs, not yours. The Travel Industry is a business and the company they work for is a business.
- That being said always make sure you are working with more than one recruiter. I recommend having at least 3 recruiters working for you at a time. Some people are traveling for the money, others for the experience. Some like us are doing it for both. We are very honest and up front with the recruiters we have and you should always treat them with respect as that is what you would want in return.
- Do not allow your recruiter to submit you somewhere without your permission. Let your recruiter know this up front when you first speak with them. A big No-No in the travel industry is to have two companies submit you to the same hospital. More than likely if this happens you will lose out on the assignment.
- PBDS Testing. Some nurses don't mind taking this and will go to hospitals that require it. Others have taken it once and vow to never do it again. My husband is the one that has taken it and passed but we will never take another assignment requiring this test again. I will be writing a blog later on specifically in regard to this testing. So stay tuned...
- Here are some things to consider when reviewing your contract: Hourly taxable rate, M&I rate, Housing stipend amount or housing provided (including location), Travel reimbursement and date of reimbursement, License reimbursement and date of reimbursement, Rate of pay between 36 and 40 hours (if is a 36 hour/week contract), Overtime pay (over 40 hours), On call rate(if applicable), Call back rate (if applicable), Rate of pay during orientation, Holiday rate (and dates of holiday), Bonus money and date of reimbursement, Longevity bonus and date of reimbursement, Penalties for hours/shifts cancelled by hospital, Penalties for calling in sick, Penalties for early termination, Insurance benefits and date of effectiveness, CE reimbursement, Certification reimbursements, including ACLS, PALS, CPR, etc., Reimbursements for annual physical and related tests (fit test, PPD test, etc.), Car rental reimbursement, Parking reimbursement (hospital and apt if applicable), Pay for pre-hospital paperwork (modules etc.), Name of hospital (s), Shift, Unit assigned, Floating agreement (which units and/or hospitals), Guaranteed hours or cancellation policy (# of shifts per contract), On call requirements, Start and end dates, Length of orientation, Time off requested, Block scheduling or scheduling requests (if requested and agreed upon during interview), Dress code and if the company will reimburse for the cost.
Later on this week I will write about per diem, housing, and M&I. I hope this information is helpful to those of you who are thinking about traveling.