There are many reasons travel nursing is popular – endless adventure, new experiences, personal freedom and of course, great compensation. If earning top dollar is your main goal, there are certain strategies you can follow to achieve this goal. We’ve put together a few tips to help you maximize your earnings as a travel nurse.
1.) Choose a Lucrative Specialty
The general rule of thumb for travel nursing specialties is – the higher the acuity, the higher the pay. This doesn’t mean that a med/surg nurse can’t earn top dollar where there is a highly critical vacancy, but on average specialties such as OR, ICU, PACU, CVICU and L&D are going to pay the most. If you don’t already specialize in one of these, not to worry! There are ways to go about changing your travel nursing specialty.
2.) Be Flexible!
The more flexibility you have when it comes to the job, location and types of contracts, the better the chance of securing a high paying gig. From night or variable shifts, to crisis and EMR conversions, to rural or city setting positions, the more open you are, the more opportunity you give yourself have to find high-paying contracts. However, remember not to push yourself outside your comfort zone. If you aren’t comfortable with night shifts or working in a big city, tell your recruiter so you can find the best available jobs that fit your needs.
3.) Amplify your Marketability
Let’s face it, travel nursing is competitive. To keep an edge over the competition and give yourself the best chance of getting the job, you should have the minimum certifications required. Get even more if you have the opportunity. Most hospital Education Departments will have a schedule of upcoming courses available to nurses to acquire new certifications. In addition to solid work history, do not underestimate the value of your supervisory references. Handwritten evals from directors, doctors, and managers will go a long way in showing you have the skills to do the job well.
4.) Get Multiple State Licenses
If your home state is part of the nursing licensure compact, make sure your multi-state license is active and ready to go. If the state you’re from or interested in traveling to isn’t part of the compact, take the time to get licensed in those states (i.e., California.) This allows you to go where the highest paying contracts are without having to wait for a license and missing out on the job. Learn more about the compact here.
5.) Be about those Bonuses
Now that you’re licensed in multiple states and flexible with contract terms, ask your recruiter if there are any contracts where the hospitals are paying bonuses. Many times, hospitals with critical needs will offer contract completion bonuses. Since money is your aim, jobs that have an added payout is a good place to start.
6.) Take the Housing Stipend
Although Advanced offers wonderful furnished corporate housing, if money is your aim, we suggest taking the housing stipend and finding your own. This allows you to control the cost of what you pay for it. Getting a roommate or living with friends and family is always a great cost savings if you can swing it.
7.) Pick Up Extra Work
If you want to make some serious dough, seek out opportunities for overtime and extra work. If the hospital you’re working at offers overtime, take it! You could also look for PRN opportunities in your new city. That being said, make sure you don’t overwork yourself and burn out. Balance is key.
8.) Remember Referrals
Most agencies offer bonuses if you refer nurses that end up getting hired. (Advanced’s referral bonus compounds with the more referrals given). So, if you meet great travel nurses along the way or know perm nurses who you think should travel, refer them when they’re ready to work. Easy extra money in your pocket.
Now that you’ve got some tactics to maximize your earnings, set up a call with one of our recruiters to get started.