Travel Nursing: 5 Tips for Getting the Highest Pay

Travel Nursing: 5 Tips for Getting the Highest Pay

Written by: Anna Lamberson, Travel Nurse

Are you looking to get the highest travel nursing pay? If you haven’t already, you definitely need to map out a game plan that works for you and your goals. Money is not the reason we became healthcare providers. However, let’s be honest – we all work hard for ourselves and for our patients so we deserve a healthy compensation. So, let’s break it down into 5 areas to help you maximize your chances for snagging that high paying contract.

1. Shop Around for the Highest Travel Nursing Pay

A rule in Travel Nursing (for the highest pay) and a rule in life – Don’t limit yourself. You wouldn’t go to a restaurant and order the first item on the menu without looking over the other dishes. The same goes for your travel nurse companies. The biggest mistake a lot of new travel nurses make is not branching out from the comfort of that first agency. The feeling of guilt or being uncomfortable talking to multiple recruiters will stand in your way of opportunity. It is important to understand that this is how the industry works. Navigate it wisely by being transparent with your recruiters and letting them know you are working with other individuals. Allow for them to perform their job best for you.

Sure, it might seem like a hassle to work with multiple agencies and deal with calls, but it’s worth it. That’s because your travel nursing pay is worth it! One way to eliminate the stress of constant recruiter messages is to compare packages at Wanderly.us. Here, you can keep yourself (and contact information) anonymous until you’re ready to pursue the contract. So, go research multiple agencies and keep a few in your repertoire to compare.

2. Understand Your Pay Package & Company

As great as the big flashy pay rate number looks it is SO important to know how your travel nursing pay package is broken down. Understand how a blended rate works – aka what is taxable hourly versus what your tax-free stipends are. Get all the information from your recruiter during your search process to estimate what is taxable on your pay package. At Wanderly you can see how each contract breaks down their pay rate before you even speak to a recruiter. An easy way to avoid practically just handing away that money!

Additionally, look at how expensive the rates are for the extras you don’t need through them, such as health insurance or housing. Do the extra legwork to find some cheaper options instead of quickly accepting what is offered by the company. On the flip side, also see what is included in your contract that COULD save you money. Especially considering that since the pandemic began, some companies have gotten very creative. Some are now providing inclusive contract perks such as vehicle shuttles, car rentals, hotel housing or even prepared meals.

Something else travelers can forget to factor in is the reimbursements for the pricey costs of licensure, certifications or CEUs. Luckily, most companies are already on board for reimbursements, but double check as fees can amount to a lot.

3. Utilize Your Community for the Highest Travel Nursing Pay

Don’t be afraid to discuss your experiences with fellow travelers to better understand the disparities in travel nursing pay. If you are new to travel nursing you will quickly find that your fellow travelers often become your biggest support system on assignment. Most are looking to connect and are usually open to discussing their experiences with current or past assignments and agencies. One of the most amazing parts of this community is the level of support we offer one another. Ironically, while it can be a very competitive field come time to submit for an assignment, travelers really do want the best for one another. Maybe it stems from a foundation of compassion or maybe it’s because we understand the unique lifestyle.

The point is that your fellow travelers are often your biggest cheerleaders and can share great tips from their own accounts. If you’re not comfortable talking to your friends or co-workers look at message boards and start a dialogue. There are tons of these resources are available online for you to utilize at any time.

4. Be Assertive & Negotiating

Never be afraid to negotiate your offered rate. While some agencies may be firm on what they will offer, many will be receptive to negotiation. It is essential to have a reasonable goal rate in mind for the assignment you are looking at and to verbalize that to the recruiters. Being assertive about your requirements shows confidence and can lead to successful negotiations. Coming to an agreement can be tricky or uncomfortable so do your research prior to negotiating. That will show that you’ve done your homework and are knowledgeable about that pay for that area or type of position. Use the “take it or leave it” method by voicing that you are discussing your same requirements with other recruiters. Practice what you are going to say prior to your conversation and be prepared to respond to an unfavorable answer with a counter.

Bottom line is to know your worth and to speak up for it!

5. Be Flexible with Your Assignment for the Highest Travel Nursing Pay

If you’re truly looking to capitalize on making the big bucks when it comes to travel nursing pay, flexibility is key. Look over those less popular locations you normally would not have considered and see if that could be a good fit. Go peek at those 48/hour weekly contracts and think about taking on the challenge. While it is great to know what you want out of a contract, it is equally as important to be adaptable. Something else to consider is the craze of crisis contracts, which have been booming since early 2020. The requirements might be tough, but these types of contracts vary so greatly whether it be weekly hours, pay or length. It’s worth researching the crisis options and before you shut down the idea, think to yourself “could I make this doable?”

Be mindful that these contracts will be difficult and sometimes exhausting, but if we have learned anything as healthcare providers over the past two years is that we are resilient, we are hardworking and we are worth it.

Happy hunting and make that money friends!

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