When looking for a travel nursing agency, keep some things in mind:
All agencies do not have the same jobs available, some specialize in international travel, some have exclusive contracts with certain hospitals or chains, all of them offer different benefits and pay scales. As a traveling employee, the IRS allows you to deduct your travel expenses on a "per diem" basis, this tax deduction is paid in advance by many agencies & is tax free income. If you do not want or need the free private housing (i.e. can live with a relative) -most agencies will give you a generous amount of money (stipend) instead-to be used for housing that you arrange for yourself.
They all require very similar information & documentation to submit you for an assignment. Therefore, pick out more than one nursing agency to work for- it is a pain to get some of the information together & submitted to them, so while you have it all together & are standing at the fax machine-why not send it to more than one? Choose at least 3. This will also give you the advantage of having more job opportunities.
Remember, you are no longer a staff nurse- you are an independent contractor, you can work for whoever gives you the best assignment, and that might change from one assignment to the next.
Here are some important questions to ask the nurse recruiter the first time you speak to them;talk to several before you pick the final three you want to work for:
1. What are they currently paying nurses in your specialty & in the location that you are looking to work in? How much of that is tax-free?
2. What benefits do they offer & when do they start & end? Free health insurance? Life insurance? Dental? What kind of prescription plan do they offer? Free private housing/or stipend? 401K? License reimbursement? Travel mileage reimbursement? Any bonuses/rewards? Any other benefits?
3. What is their housing like? What do they provide?
4. Payment- Weekly? Biweekly? Direct Deposit?
5. What area of the country do they deal with the most? Do they have any exclusive contracts with any hospitals or hospital chains?
Once you have selected your agencies, next Choose An Assignment---->