I receive so many calls from travel nurses who either don’t read their contract or don’t negotiate their contract and wind up having issues. So, I thought I would warn you about some of the perils of travel nursing.
- Keep all Boards apprised of your current address, even if your license is expired in that state. As travel nurses, you probably have licenses in many states. You must keep the Boards apprised of your current address so that if there is a complaint against your license, they can find you and you can respond. Otherwise, the Board may take action without you. If there is an action in one state, the other states may take action too even if your license is expired.
- Know the policies and procedures as well as the Nurse Practice Act in the state where you are working. I get calls from nurses who failed to read these documents and performed a procedure that was not allowed at that particular hospital. These may include drawing blood from or starting IVs in different sites. Also, some things may be standing orders and one facility and not another. It is very important that you know and
followyour facility’s policies and procedures as well as the Nurse Practice Act in the state where you are working.
- I have heard from numerous travel nurses who spent every penny they had to go across the country only to find that their contract had been
cancelled. Make sure that there is some kind of provision in your contract that will pay for your travel to and from your new location in the event your contract is cancelled.
- Hire an attorney to review the contract. You may be required to complete online education and orientation prior to moving without pay. Make sure that this is addressed up front in your contract.
- Make sure that you can only be terminated for objective cause. If a patient complains about you and it is subjective, you should not lose your position. It would be a shame for you would travel across the country only to lose your position over this.
- Recruiters will promise you everything to get you to sign the contract. If it is not in the contract, it will not happen. Where have I heard that before? If it wasn’t documented, it wasn’t done!
- Never contract to work on a type of unit where you are unfamiliar. This is a recipe for disaster. For example, most of your experience is ICU but only a med
surgfloor position is available. The increasedpatient load will be a problem for you.
- With incivility in nursing, as the traveler, it is easy for the staff to make you the scapegoat.
Be very careful and selective in determining which travel company you want to work with. The recruiters all sound nice and inviting while promising you the sky but if it’s not in the contract, it will not happen. Talk to others who have worked for this company to make sure they have had positive experiences. Do your homework and look for online resources such as https://www.thegypsynurse.com/ and Facebook groups for travel nurses. I hope your travel nursing experiences are positive.
Theresa Ellingsen says
I used to work for a local agency who was very good at getting enough work for me. However, they failed to tell me that in the event of a facility cancellation they would auto assign me to another job. When I took the opportunity, once, to take the day off, they failed to tell me that I was already scheduled somewhere else. I would have gone if they had told me about that. I was registered as a no show and the hospital refused to allow me to work there again, although the agency scheduled me, then blamed me for being a no show.
My scheduler left shortly after that for another job citing vague references to unethical practices, before I found out how those practices affected me. I left the company shortly afterward as well.
LORIE A BROWN, R.N., M.N., J.D. says
Thanks for sharing. I hear these problems are all too common.
Jeraldeen thompson Thompson says
Very informative its an eye opener.
alice minch says
Some hospitals require a test it is pass or fail , if you fail you go home . That was disclosed by recruiter . Surprise when you get there. So glad when I was told , the results , ‘you got the highest mark in the class” YEA.
Be very leery of the hospitals that pay big bucks to go to nurse travel conventions (esp one from border town AZ ) , starts with a Y . IT was the biggest nightmare of my life. ! they offer their own housing too, make it real easy. Although they have been in business a long time, they still need to recruit ! Word of mouth should keep them well staffed in the winter . Why hasn’t it ? RUN.
Sherie Reed says
Some facilities harass travelers. What should a nurse do about that? I understand that you are going to get the worst assignment but where do you draw the line?