We hear it all the time from nurses interested about travel nursing, “So travel nurse pay… What is the rate?” There are a few things you should know about the “rate” when viewing travel nurse job pay packages.
One travel nurse agency lists the rate for the job as $40/hour. Another agency might offer the very same job for $43/hour and another lists the rate as $36/hour. Well, obviously instinct tells us to choose the highest amount, and consider the others to be “ripping us off.” The problem with analyzing the travel nurse pay that way is that the “rate” doesn’t tell the whole story. When it comes to accepting an assignment, the nurse needs to know everything that rate covers.
One nurse making $2200/week might bring home less than the nurse making $2000 for the same job. The rate does not include whether the agency is offering you housing and health insurance. The agency might not be offering meals, incidental stipends, or moving expenses in their “rate.”
The assumption about what is included in the rate is where travel nurses go wrong. Having to pay for all of the other expenses not included in the rate is far more expensive than $5-10/hour.
Before you go ahead and choose a job based off of the highest “rate”, be sure to evaluate everything. Budget out your finances for everything else that you will need during your assignment. Remember to ask questions and don’t judge a pay package solely by its hourly sum.