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In order to start looking for a travel nurse job, you will first need to look for a travel nuse recruiter. A recruiter works for a nurse staffing agency. This agency is the "middle-man" between the travel nurse and the facility that is looking to hire travel nurses. Facilities that need travel nurses post positions to agencies, that in turn, place their nurses in those positions. Travelers are paid by their agency, not the facility; all benefits are paid or secured by the agency, not the facility.

A good working relationship with your nurse recruiter is key to getting the nursing assignments that you want; this is something that develops over time as you & your recruiter learn more about each other. A good recruiter is your first resource for what travel nurse jobs are out there, what might be posting in the future, and if it is a good match for you. Most agencies have job search engines on their websites, but the recruiters have a much more current nursing job list.

Of course all recruiters work for nurse staffing agencies, so your search will start there-selecting an agency. Once you decide on an agency you will be assigned a recruiter. If you know a travel nurse or two & they like their recruiter, you may call that agency & request that particular recruiter, make sure you give them your traveler friend's name, as sometimes the agency will give that nurse a bonus for the referral.



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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---->