The Top Ten Myths of Travel Nursing

There are a lot of companies that offer travel nursing assignments. And, there is a plethora of information available regarding travel nursing. However, after 20+ years in the staffing industry, we have found so much of what potential travelers are told is not representative of what you need to know to be successful. Therefore, we would like to clarify it.

1. PAY

Myth – I can make over $100 an hour as a traveling nurse.

Fact – You will make far more than working directly for a facility – your hourly rate will be based on your skill set and the state/area location. Your base pay will reflect what is the “norm” for that area. Plus, you will earn a tax free allowance (to cover your daily expenses) and a bonus. Some travel companies offer you a flat amount. Others will offer you the opportunity to work for a lesser pay rate and put more into your “tax-free” stipend. However, any money that you make that is not used for traveling, housing, and meals is taxable. Fidelity On Call will base this allowance on government guidelines.


Myth – I can do whatever I want as a travel nurse.

Fact – Once you have accepted a position with a hospital and report to them for your assignment, you will function as a member of their team. Period. If you are asked to float, you will float. Of course, if the floor is out of your skill set, you will task only. You are expected to be a seamless part of the operation. Our favorite example of a nurse who did it wrong is the one who told the patient “I’m an agency nurse and I don’t know.” Of course, this was not a Fidelity On Call nurse as our nurses know the answer is, “I don’t know. Let me find out and I will get right back to you!”


Myth – I can take as much time off as I want during and/or between assignments at a hospital.

Fact – The hospitals we work with are working short or we wouldn’t be asked to work with them. Therefore, it is illogical to assume that they are going to treat their “back-up” team any differently than they would their own team members. They will work around a few special dates during a 13-week assignment – just like they would do for their team. However, asking for 4 weekends in a row off or wanting them to work around more than a few days, is something that they will not do.


Myth – It doesn’t matter what travel company I select, I will always get paid.

Fact – Unfortunately, we have heard from too many nurses that have not been paid, waited for weeks to be paid, or were not paid as promised, that it is vital for you to check out the reputation of the company you choose to work for.


Myth – I do not work Holidays if I am a travel nurse.

Fact – Most of our nurses will work every other holiday – exactly like one of the hospital’s team members would be required to do. Note we said “most” – there are occasions and certain skill sets, like OR Nurses, that will not necessarily work on holidays.


Myth – All travel companies have a quality reputation.

Fact – We would like to think this is true as most companies are inspected by the Joint Commission. But, once again, we are aware that the Gold Seal only goes so far. Fidelity On Call is committed to quality. We will not hire a nurse with a disciplined license, whose references are not stellar, or one who has a poor work history. If you want to be sure you have chosen quality, please give us a call.


Myth – They need me so it doesn’t matter how I act.

Fact – Attitude is THE most important part of being a successful travel nurse. The hospital you are assigned to is working short and your attitude goes a long way to making your 13-week assignment a success. Attitude includes such things as a smile on your face, a helping hand, staying out of the gossip, doing your job without complaining, etc. If you have a complaint about the facility, call us and we will listen to you and take care of the situation.


Myth – I can only work at a facility for one assignment.

Fact – We have many nurses who have worked multiple contracts at the same facility. There are times that a facility will want to renew you and you will want to go to a new location. We will discuss all this with you and you will know the options available. And, yes, you could be at a facility for over a year . . . once again, this is up to you; you will know the options.


Myth – I get benefits wherever I work.

Fact – It all depends on the benefits you consider important. We offer our employees group health insurance, free dental insurance, free life insurance, discounted vision care, 401k and so much more.


Myth – I can NC/NS or do something to get myself legitimately kicked out of a facility and I will continue to receive contract assignments.

Fact – Reputation is everything. Once you NC/NS or do something else that damages your reputation, the word will spread. No one wants a nurse that is not true to their commitments. At Fidelity On Call, we document all necessary files to ensure that someone who does not conduct business in a professional manner will NEVER be re-hired.

If there are any questions that you have that we have not covered, please feel free to contact us at 309-691-1500 or 800-836-7633.