Casually accepting every travel nurse contract sent your way is not sustainable. In all travel nurse positions, from RN, to LPN, to CNA, these HCPs lay everything on the line like everyone else. It only makes sense that they deserve to be paid what they are worth. Travel nurse salaries in the US may be competitive with full-time gigs, but that does not mean you can stay complacent.
No matter the travel nurse contract length, you want to peel through the layers and discover the truth on your terms. In this article, we will show you how you can negotiate with your agencies and find out your true value. With these travel nurse tips, you will be able to secure the best deals with the best travel nurse agencies in your area.
Look into the Agency’s True Pay Rate
Nursing agencies already have signed agreements with facilities regarding how much an agent is paid. While this amount is fixed, the agency disperses that amount between your travel nurse salary per hour, benefits, travel reimbursements and the agency’s own commission.
Nurses are often given a “blended” amount, which takes your hourly rate, and includes reimbursements and benefits. Benefits and reimbursements take away from your hourly rate, so this is not an accurate picture of your effective pay.
Before you even accept a travel nurse LPN job, you want to figure out the true pay rate. Compare and contrast different contracts, to figure out the travel nurse salary average. By knowing the median, you gain a clear picture of what is being offered, which can help you make an informed business decision.
Always Talk Travel Reimbursement
Naturally, travel nursing comes with its fair share of travel-related expenses. This is why many nursing agencies offer reimbursement for these costs. When you are negotiating your contract, travel nurses want to take a closer look at the terms of reimbursement. Figure out what costs will be covered and how reimbursement is calculated.
For example: some agencies will reimburse you based on miles traveled, while others just provide you with a set relocation stipend. If the cost of travel exceeds reimbursement, you want to bring this up before you sign anything. Keep in mind that these stipends are also travel nurse tax-free when you have to calculate your taxes.
Discuss Additional Reimbursement
Some agencies provide reimbursements not tied to your travel nurse income. This includes free housing, public transportation, child care and work-related supplies. Within reason, you want to make sure that your agency is covering as many travel expenses as they can.
Select agencies can even provide travel nurse health insurance, which is not always provided. If this matters to you, review each contract to make sure that this is provided, and to what extent.
Ask about additional reimbursements or benefits. You also want to inquire about specific terms and whether or not they are tied to the pay rate.