Travel Nurse Stories: Tax-Free Allowances

“How could this happen. I owe thousands of dollars in taxes!”

By January 31 of every year, your W-2 is in the mail. And, every year we hear and read about travel nurses who are in panic mode because the taxes taken out of their wages are not enough to cover what is owed.

Some are short thousands of dollars.

They accepted contracts with low hourly pay rates so they could get a lot of “tax-free” money, but now their accountant is telling them that they will have to pay taxes on what they thought was tax-free money.

How is this possible?

Simply put, there is a limit to what a company can pay in tax-free allowances. The federal government sets guidelines for travel, meals, etc. and anything that is over those guidelines will be taxed.

That is why when Fidelity On Call calculates a contract, we are extremely careful to make sure we are doing the best we can for our nurse – hourly rate, tax-free allowance, bonus – but also taking care of them in the long run when it comes to their taxes. No one wants to owe the tax man a bundle of money!

So, we just caution you . . . if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

For more truth telling for travel nurses, download our free guide: 10 Top Myths of Travel Nursing.

25 Ways Our Travel Nurses Get Outstanding Comments

We are often asked what it takes to get outstanding customer comments on our travel nurse team. Here is a small sampling:

1 They have strong clinical skills.

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2 They are willing to go above and beyond.

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3 They truly enjoy taking the best care of their patients.

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4 They work well with the team they are part of.

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5 They always do the right thing because it reaps rewards.

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6 They are not afraid to jump in and do their fair share.

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7 They happily accept the hospital’s holiday policies and do their part.

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8 They realize that they are the hospital’s ambassadors to their patients.

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9 They have helpful attitudes – even when going on break -they ask if staff/their patients/patient’s family members need anything brought back.

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10 They never identify themselves as anything other than a part of the hospital team.

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11 They are flexible when taking lunch.

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12 If there is a question or a problem, they always handle it professionally. They would never raise their voice in anger.

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13 They are there to work not share personal problems or talk about other issues.

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14 They don’t gossip or talk negatively about their work team, supervisor, or hospital.

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15 They are dependable.

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16 They are flexible when the hospital is asking them to help out and willing to flip shifts.

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17 They don’t create crisis or conflict.

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18 They are honest and you can believe what they tell you.

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19 Even when the going gets tough, they smile and have a good attitude about getting their job done.

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20 They would only call off for a legitimate emergency.

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21 They can work independently while still being part of the team.

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22 They appropriately document what they do.

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23 They follow the policies and procedures of the company and the hospital.

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24 They are great communicators. Not only with the hospital, their patients, and the hospital’s team but with our office team as well.

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25 They know the bottom line is patient care. Everything they do and say is an example of excellence in patient care.

25 Reasons to Love Travel Nursing

We asked our team of travel nurses what they liked best about Travel Nursing. Here are some of their responses.

1 I think the main thing I love about travel nursing is diversity. I get the opportunity to work with different people, in different settings, and with different policies and protocols every few months! It keeps things fresh, and it has helped me develop a wider scope of experiences and learning. I love it! – Gillian

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2 I love travel nursing because I get to see how different hospitals, units and team members approach patient care. – Brittany

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3 The thing that I love most about travel nursing is the flexibility to make the best choices that balance my work and personal life. – Adrianne

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4 The flexible schedules, endless experience, and frequent changes prevent the “burnout” feeling! Coming from a mother of two young children, it is the best decision I made. I am home every night and never miss a school function! – Natasha

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5 I love the challenges and friendships that travel nursing brings! – Amanda

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6 What I love about travel nursing for Fidelity On Call is that I am driven to be a beacon of excellence for myself, my peers, and most importantly, my patients. – Lambert

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7 I love collaborating with different healthcare teams from the various facilities I contract with. They are able to utilize my knowledge and expertise to streamline a process or policy. – Leslie

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8 I love the freedom and flexibility of travel nursing. Traveling has allowed me to work while pursuing my educational goals. I love travel nursing because of the professional growth I’ve experienced. Adapting in each experience has added to my skill sets. I have learned so much since becoming a travel nurse. – Amy

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9 One of the things I love about travel nursing is the ability to simply take care of my patients without all the drama of the politics that interfere with nursing care from staff nurses! – Kayleigh

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10 I love the flexibility of travel nursing . I am able to choose contracts that allow me to maximize the time I can spend with my family. I also love getting to work with so many different people. – Chad

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11 I have been traveling now for over 18 years. What I love about my job is all the places I have seen, the people I have met and the different ways to do the same things medically that I have learned. I have worked in a total of 8 different states with multiple assignments in most of them. I have met world renowned doctors and wonderful nurses and support staff. I have many friends all across this wonderful national of ours. What I love about working for Fidelity is the personal treatment I receive from all the staff. I have never had a problem or concern my recruiter or support staff hasn’t taken care of. I truly love being an RN, further I know I work for the best company ever. Thank you for coming along with me on my journey. – Lonna

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12 Travel nursing to me means being in control of my nursing journey. Working with Fidelity has allowed me to grow not only as a nurse, but as a person. Although I don’t travel far in mileage, I have stepped out of my comfort zone and it has been amazing. I look forward to many more adventures with Fidelity. – Mary

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13 Working for Fidelity On Call allows me to love what I do. I get to take care of my patients and give the best possible care. I also can make an income capable of supporting my family of five and not have to work enormous amounts of overtime doing so. – Natalie

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14 Travel nursing is a great way for nurses to expand their professional resumes while they enjoy exciting new experiences around the country. The thing I love is that I am given the opportunity to learn new skills and techniques that each different hospital uses as well as meet amazing staff members. – Chelsie

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15 What I love about travel nursing is the opportunity to experience life beyond the hospital, meeting new people, and let’s not forget that the pay is great also . . . #IAmANurse – Tamika

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16 Being a nurse has impacted my life on so many levels. As a travel RN, the constant diversity has me learning, changing and growing on a daily basis. Travel nursing brings it all together and opens opportunity to grow. The knowledge, skills and life experiences I have gained through my journey have shaped the nurse I am today. Travel nursing pushes you outside your comfort zone making you a jack of all trades. Professionally, I have never felt stronger and more proficient than I do now. – Jess

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17 I love travel nursing because I get to meet new people and see new places. I also get to see a variety of different diagnoses and that helps keep my skills up to date. – Michelle

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18 True love is not an emotion. It’s a decision, sometimes hourly, to stay. – Christine

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19 I love the opportunity to explore a different facility, work with new people, and care for patients from different aspects of nursing. – Morgan

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20 What I love about travel nursing is it allows me to travel the world! – Bronwyn

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21 I enjoy travel nursing because of the opportunity to build so many wonderful friendships! – Charis

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22 I love the challenge of being a travel nurse. It seems that there is always something new and exciting. – Lisa

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23 I love the freedom of traveling nursing – not tied down after one contract and you get to do what you want. – Gary

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24 I have been a travel nurse for many years and would never go back to working at just one hospital again. It is great to have someone who advocates for me – not only the assignment but they have my back if there is a question or problem that needs to be addressed. – Tammy

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25 I love travel nursing because I get to meet new people and learn new things/views instead of getting “stuck” in the same routines/treatments which allows me to better care and advocate for my patients. – Jennifer

Bonus Answers to 25 Reasons to Love Travel Nursing

We received an overwhelming response from our team about why they love travel nursing. Here are some bonus comments:

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I like meeting new people. – Kole; I like to meet new people. – Abbi; I love the different people I meet. – Diana

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My absolute favorite thing about travel nursing is the flexibility it allows me in all aspects of my career. – Ben

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I love the scheduling flexibility. – Holly; I love the flexibility of travel nursing. – Lorna

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The things I love most are meeting new people and new patients to help out. – John

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I like that I can work three days and be home with my family for four days. – Lorena

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I love learning new things. – Tiffany

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I love travel nursing because it gives me the opportunity to work in a variety of places doing a variety of nursing jobs. – Beth

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I love the flexibility it allows me to have and meeting new people. – Ebony

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Travel nursing offers you much more experience because you get a wide diversity of patients. – Stephanie

25 Lessons Learned

After being in business for 25 years, we’ve learned a lot! Here are some of the lessons learned about travel nursing that have stood the test of time.

1 Not every great nurse makes a great traveler.

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2 Not all travel nurses make great Fidelity On Call travel nurses.

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3 Trust only those who have proven to be trustworthy.

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4 Never hire someone whose first concern is the amount of money they will make.

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5 Always do the right thing. . . it will reap rewards.

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6 It is our job to knock on doors – we cannot MAKE them open.

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7 Don’t work with customers who won’t pay their bills without being hounded. It wears you out and they are using you.

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8 You cannot be all things to all people. Be targeted . . stay on your mission.

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9 Don’t staff at facilities that don’t share your mission. When we care and they don’t, it just burns our employees out.

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10 There are external factors that affect your business. Just keep targeted, continually research, change what needs changing, grow, and update.

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11 If you hire a staff member that complains about everything, it is not worth the energy it takes to keep them on board.

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12 Don’t take things too personally. Potential customers and nurses say no, they leave, they don’t always behave as we would like. Ultimately we cannot control them. We are only responsible for the way we react.

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13 Lies will always be found out. We have had employees who gave excuses for not being at work or failed to tell the truth about an event at their assigned facility. Needless to say, the real reason is always revealed. It is just better to say what is happening and deal with the facts.

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14 Sometimes you have to wait a long time to see your efforts pay off. Be patient. Don’t lose hope.

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15 Treat your employees fairly. Never break a promise.

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16 If someone is motivated by greed, they are not the right person for the job.

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17 Communication is the essence of every good business. And, your employees need to be good communicators – to our customers, while in the hospital and as a member of our team.

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18 When an employee thinks the grass is greener on the other side, let them go and find out.

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19 Continually invest in your business.

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20 Not all business is good business. It is okay to walk away from a customer.

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21 Agencies that are not reliable or honest don’t last. Eventually the word gets out.

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22 When in doubt – check it out (compliance issues). Documentation can be forged!

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23 Life is easier when you hire good people.

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24 You might not be the biggest company, but you can stand apart from others with your quality and integrity.

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25 Never, never, never give up – good advise from Winston Churchill.

25 New Year’s Resolutions

Fidelity On Call has reached its 25th Anniversary year and we are celebrating with all things “25.” As we get ready to begin a new year, here are 25 resolutions we encourage travel nurses to consider:

1 I will take care of myself this year as proactively as I take care of my patients and customers.

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2 I will not let the little stressors of life upset me.

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3 I will be more patient when driving.

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4 I will treat myself to fresh new work shoes.

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5 I will pack a healthy lunch instead of eating out.

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6 I will go for a walk every day for at least 20 minutes.

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7 I will stay on top of my car maintenance – oil changes, tires, service appointments.

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8 I will laugh more and and enjoy each day that has been given to me.

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9 I will not hang out with negative people who drag me down.

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10 I will have REAL conversations and not rely on texting, messaging and more to interact with friends, family and work.

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11 I will watch less TV and instead read a book, work on a hobby, etc.

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12 I won’t let other people’s attitudes at work pull me down.

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13 I will not gossip. It is counter productive.

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14 I will plan better so I don’t always have to be in a rush.

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15 I will give up smoking.

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16 I will make sure that my health documentation and other annual responsibilities are promptly handled.

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17 I will say yes more. I will say no more.

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18 My self-talk will be like a friend talking with me and not negative or a put-down.

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19 I will not procrastinate or wait until the last minute to accomplish a task or assignment.

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20 I will drink less or not at all.

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21 I will learn to let go of grudges and forgive others. By forgiving them, I give myself a gift.

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22 I will spend less time on social media and more time interacting with my family and friends.

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23 I will overcome a fear that I have. For example, if I am afraid of heights or public speaking, I will be proactive on working through my fear.

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24 I will gain control over my feelings so I can think with a level head.

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25 I will volunteer more and give more to charity.