If you are looking for a lucrative career that will allow you to go and explore different places, then you should highly consider being a traveling nurse. This job is one of the most in-demand specialties for a lot of reasons.
By taking a 13-week (give or take a few) assignment in hospitals across the country, you can live the dream of caring for patients in a myriad of locales. If you work three 12-hour shifts, that will leave you with four whole days each week to explore. You can sunbathe on the beach, hike the mountains or explore the city- all in the same year.
Temporary Housing For Travel Nurses
Another thing you’ll love about being a traveling nurse is the temporary housing in which you’ll live during your assignment. Traveling nurse housing can vary widely based on location and agency. There are generally two housing options for traveling nurses.
The first option is to have your agency find you an apartment, house or hotel room to live in while you’re completing your assignment. Clearly, there are distinct pros and cons to agency-provided housing. The most obvious pro is that it takes much of the uncertainty and guesswork out of travel nursing. Provided housing will most likely be in a safe part of town and in decent shape but it will almost certainly be no-frills living.
The second option in traveling nurse’s housing is to take the agreed-upon housing stipend and secure your own living quarters. This is where you can really bank some good money.
If your living stipend is $2000 per month and you find a place to stay for $1000, you get to pocket that extra grand. Apart from saving money, choosing this option can also allow you to immerse yourself deeper into the culture of your temporary home. While this is something that will take time and effort, your agency should be able to assist you in seeking short-term housing options.
Now, the best part about travel nursing? You can change tactics with each contract.
If you are traveling to a familiar city, take the stipend and check out Craigslist options in your favorite neighborhood. You can also check out if you have relatives living in your next contract’s location. You can just crash in their extra bedroom for the duration of your contract. If your next contract takes you to a completely unfamiliar city, allow your agency to find housing for you.
Regardless of your decision, there are definitely some do’s and don’ts of traveling nurse housing. Read on to learn how to get the most out of your travel nursing experience.
The Do’s of Traveling Nurse Housing
Consider taking agency-provided housing for your first assignment
Your first assignment in a new hospital in a new city with a new agency can easily make you feel anxious. So, to make sure you can stay focused on enjoying your new work and lifestyle, take out one of the most stressful parts of being a traveling nurse- picking your housing.
Tell your recruiter immediately if you’re traveling with a significant other
Some housing options may only provide one bedroom while others do not allow pets. If you are searching for your own housing, be upfront with the landlord or leasing agent. Make sure to let them know that you are seeking a short-term lease and clarify what their rules are regarding pets and having someone else live with you. Be prepared to pay deposits and extra fees if needed.
Ask about early termination policies
If you are staying in an agency-obtained housing, this is less of an issue. It’s a good idea to have some money set aside in case you need to pay for cancellation.
Join traveling nurse housing Facebook groups as well as other social media outlets
You can find tons of resources and advice from other traveling nurses on the Internet. Ask questions, learn from other nurses’ experiences and share your hard-earned knowledge with other traveling nurses.
You might even make contact with other nurses who will be at the same hospital as you. A familiar face in an unfamiliar place is great. You can even consider lodging together if you’d rather not live alone.
Remember that where you stay during your contract is only part of the travel nursing experience
Obviously, it’s important to have a safe, comfortable place to rest and recharge after your shift. The memories you make outside your apartment, though, will stay with you for a lifetime.
Contact your recruiter/agency immediately if you have an issue with your housing
They can facilitate repairs if the issue can be fixed. If the problem can’t be corrected, your agency can help you find a new place to stay. You are your own best advocate so you must speak up if you need something changed. Unless you ask, expect the answer to always be a “no”.
See Also: 10 Best Places To Travel Nurse
The Don’ts of Traveling Nurse Housing
Don’t pass up discounts at hotels
They can offer great rates for extended contracts so be sure to speak with the manager rather than the front desk to get the best deals. Additionally, your hotel may have hospital or government discounts that can apply to you. You can ask about any reward programs they have where you can earn points and get free nights during your current or future assignment.
Extended stay hotels are fully furnished and usually in decent neighborhoods. If you have a few days lag-time between when you get to town and when your lease for another apartment starts, extended stay hotels can be an economical option to bridge that gap.
Don’t forget Craigslist, Airbnb, Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade pages and good ol’ Google
There are a lot of options if you search for traveling nurse housing. If you’re leaning towards Airbnb, be sure to contact the owners of any place that interests you. There will almost certainly be a lower rate for extended contracts (more than a week’s vacay, that is) than what is posted on the site.
You can even post an “In search of” ad for housing on Craigslist. This might come with wading through some junk being sent to you, but you just might find an awesome apartment.
Don’t think you have to rent a U-Haul to move all of your stuff each time you change cities
Craigslist and the Buy/Sell/Trade pages on Facebook can be helpful when furnishing and un-furnishing your apartment. If you’re not picky about your room’s interior, you can comfortably furnish your apartment for a few hundred dollars. When you move on to your next contract, you can take the stuff with you if you become attached to it.
If you don’t have the space, you can either sell it or give it away through those same sites. Your apartment might give you the option to rent a furniture package. Additionally, furniture/appliance rental stores can help make your temporary house a home.
Don’t assume anything about your traveling nurse housing contract
You must carefully review the contract before signing it. If it’s not written in stone in your contract, it probably doesn’t exist. In-unit laundry, microwaves, plates, furniture – if your contract doesn’t explicitly mention any of them, you can request for them or just bring or buy your own.
Don’t enter contract negotiations unprepared
Make a list of all of your housing requirements.
Want to be near public transportation or the hospital? Need to have immediate access to a park or green space to walk your dog?
Separate your list into must-haves and nice-to-haves. Contract negotiations can get complicate. A list can keep you focused and ensure your needs are met in regards to traveling nurse housing.
Whether you choose to find your own housing or stay in an agency apartment, travel nursing is an excellent use of your RN license. You will experience new cultures, see beautiful sights and build relationships with other nurses and healthcare professionals across the country.
Even if your days as a traveling nurse are just a brief hiatus from a long and happy hospital-based career, you will gain invaluable experience working in units different from your own.
HealthCare Pros is a Nurse staffing and management company with 25 years of industry-specific knowledge, experience, and care. We pride ourselves on delivering exceptional service and producing positive results for our clients.