Travel nurse life is all about that paper(work): How to land jobs…fast!

Learn travel healthcare like a from fellow travelers (unbiased and honest)

As a travel nurse, you have likely learned by now there are so many options and things to consider when deciding to go for this adventurous lifestyle. So, other than being informed about tax homes, contracts, stipends, and being empowered to do this amazing work, there’s another element we have to account for: SPEED! Yep, travel nurse jobs can move FAST. To give you an idea: a job can be available for applications and be filled 45 minutes later. No joke!

What is something that can help us land jobs when they can close so quickly? Flexibility and incredible work ethic help, but first and foremost, we must have our paperwork in order and submitted on time. For real, we can’t get a job without it! As healthcare professionals, we know we can’t get anything done without proper and expedient paperwork now, don’t we? Travel life is no different!

There are two areas of paperwork that we need to have prepared for landing assignments:

  1. Job Submission paperwork (before you get the job)
  2. Credentialing paperwork (after you get the job)

Job submission paperwork

This is the list of paperwork your recruiter will likely need in order to submit you to jobs as a travel nurse. The sooner you get these to your recruiter, the better.

  • Updated Resume
  • Skills Checklist
  • Copy of Licenses: include the states they are held and the dates
  • References: at least two names with phone numbers. They must be from a manager in the same specialty as the job you’re applying for.
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Other proof of identity
  • Certifications

Even if there isn’t a travel job that’s available to you at first, get as much of this as possible to your recruiter as soon as you know you want to work with them. That way when something comes up, they can submit you right away (and as soon as you say to!). You don’t want to miss opportunities just because your recruiter doesn’t have your resume!

Credentialing paperwork

Since you are so incredible at submitting your paperwork to your recruiter, you likely will soon land a sweet assignment! And just like when you’ve worked perm or in a hospital or facility, they require certain criteria that must be met (and with proof!) before travel nurses can work there.

Your recruiter will need to submit the following to the hospital or facility who has the contract you’re taking:

  • Copy of your Immunization Records: Most likely showing your HepB, MMR, Varicella/Chicken Pox, Flu, and some others
  • Proof of a Physical Examination: per the hospital’s criteria
  • Copy of TB test record: You probably know this, but the TB test has multiple parts – one visit to receive the injection and a 2 day waiting period until your results can be read. Some hospitals have you do this test twice, so give yourself the time to get this done.
  • Drug screen paperwork: If needed, sometimes this is done on-site
  • Background check paperwork: If needed for a certain population.

Try to get all your credentialing clarified with your recruiter as soon as possible. Then complete it all as soon as you possibly can. Yes, your start day can be held up by not having your credentials completed! Make sure your recruiter also tells you if the hospital has specific forms you need to fill out to confirm your records, too.

The travel nurse secret to success: staying organized

Staying organized is the best way for a travel nurse to work well with their recruiters AND land jobs. It also helps you look good when going to new hospitals or facilities if you get all your paperwork in on time and in an organized way!

Use tools like Kamanahealth.com which keeps every secure and easy to share with recruiters. Or DIY with Dropbox. If you use Kamana this is done for you but if you use Dropbox here are some extra tips:

  1. Organize your files by the categories: Job Submission and Credentialing
  2. Label documents clearly (e.g. Resume, California License with date, TB test with date)
  3. Share your files electronically with your recruiters ASAP
  4. Keep EVERYTHING up to date so it’s always ready to send
  5. Try not to change file locations often (in case you sent links out to your recruiter)

Cheers to preparing paperwork in advance! (Whoever thought we’d say that?!)

xo Laura

Keep learning, empowered travelers 💪

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Additional Reimbursements

Did your offer come with something extra that would cost the staffing agency money? This may include a CEU class, scrubs, or sign on bonuses. Don’t worry if this section is blank, most offers don’t have extra reimbursements.

Travel Reimbursements

This is tax-free money that is paid to you to help you pay for the expense of traveling to your assignment. Many staffing agencies pay for this per mile up to a certain amount. They will usually pay this on your first paycheck or split between your first paycheck and last. If you are traveling a short distance this could be a very small amount.

Also, it’s becoming more popular for an agency to not offer this at all. It’s really not a big deal though. If you don’t get travel reimbursement money you should make a bit more in your weekly pay so many times it all equals out.

Weekly Housing Stipends

If you have a tax home you can get money in two ways: Your taxable base pay per hour + tax-free stipends that help pay for your housing and meals in your new city. This is usually presented to travelers on a weekly or per shift basis.

The government tells the staffing agency the maximum they are allowed to pay travelers based on the cost of living in each zip code.

The staffing company does not usually get to pay us the full amount since they only have the amount the facility is willing to pay for us. That may end up being less than the government’s max, if so, no worries. This is okay as long as the total package is fair.

Weekly Meal Stipends

If you have a tax home you can get money in two ways: Your taxable base pay per hour + tax-free stipends that help pay for your housing and meals in your new city. This is usually presented to travelers on a weekly or per shift basis.

The government tells the staffing agency the maximum they are allowed to pay travelers based on the cost of living in each zip code. The staffing company does not usually get to pay us the full amount since they only have the amount the facility is willing to pay for us. That may end up being less than the government’s max, if so, no worries. This is okay as long as the total package is fair.

Weekly Insurance Costs

Medical insurance can impact your final paycheck a lot since it will deduct pay from your check each week. If you are taking the company health insurance, you are going to want to know up front about how much this will cost you per week.

The average is around $30 a week but some companies charge as much as $100 a week to their travelers and some offer some health insurance options for free. If you are not taking their insurance just set this to zero.

Hours per week

For this calculation, put the hours per week you are expecting to work. And then feel free to run it again with the hours you are guaranteed. Many times contracts have guaranteed hours that are lower than the expected hours.

Guaranteed hours means if the facility doesn’t need you to come in, you will still get paid as long as it was their choice and not yours to not work.

Also, find out if this contract has any “call off shifts” where the hospital can call you off without pay a certain number of times per contract. This is common and not a deal breaker but just good to know!

Length of assignment

In travel nurses and allied health the most common length of a travel assignment is 13 weeks. If you are looking for a contract shorter or longer just ask! Sometimes facilities or hospitals who hire you will be flexible.

Taxable rate per hour

If you have a tax home you can get money in two ways: Your taxable base pay per hour + tax-free stipends that help pay for your housing and meals in your new city.

If you do not have a tax home all of your pay will be taxed and put in this field.

Good to know: Your taxable base pay is the only part of your paycheck that is legally considered income. The average taxable base pay is $20 but you might get offers higher or lower than this. It’s the only part of your paycheck that is taxed

Nomadicare’s purpose is to empower. It’s the lifeblood that flows through every single thing we create. We are here to make sure every traveler has all the transparent knowledge they need to make empowered decisions. We want you to feel confident so you can live your dream!

Nomadicare is partnered with dozens of companies and each of those companies have access to different settings, locations, and exclusive contracts. We know their benefit options and who have jobs in each location. We will match you to the best recruiters for you and your goals. Every single recruiter has been vetted and comes with the Nomadicare guarantee.
You can browse the open jobs from many of our company partners on the Nomadicare’s anti bait and switch job board. When you see one that catches your eye, the goal is to apply asap. Jobs are closing faster than ever with all the craziness this year so speed is our best friend. When you request an interview, we’ll instantly match you with the vetted recruiter who posted that job.
Typically 0-3 months before you are ready to start your next assignment is best. A short quiz will give us a picture of who you are, and what you are looking for. After the quiz we’ll have everything we need to match you with the perfect recruirer for your travel goals
If you know where you want to go and you’re ready to travel, Instant Matching is perfect for you. You can browse the open jobs from many of our company partners on the Nomadicare’s anti bait-and-switch job board. When you see one that catches your eye, the goal is to apply asap. Jobs are closing faster than ever with all the craziness this year so speed is our best friend.
We highly recommended being ready! Having all of your documents and being super responsive are key. Speed is the biggest factor in getting the job you want. We recommend using a free service like Kamana, which you can share your online resume, credentials, and licenses with a single link to any of our vetted recruiters when requesting an interview.
Graph Café, Chiang Mai, Thailand 🥇