By Sarah Wengert
There are many reasons RNs choose to become travel nurses, and a common deciding factor is a bigger paycheck. But, while being a travel nurse can be more lucrative, not all assignments and locations pay more than perm positions. Factors like the city/state of your assignment, your specialty, and even the shift you’re willing to work have significant influence on your paycheck as a travel nurse. Here are a few key factors healthcare travelers should consider when seeking out the highest paying travel nurse jobs.
Your assignment location has a major influence on your hourly wage. For example, cities with a higher cost of living typically pay higher wages — but keep in mind that you do then have to pay to live in that city.
It’s also common to see a trade-off between desirable locations and pay rates. For example, Hawaii is a highly desirable state for many travel nurses, so you may find pay rates there are inversely a bit lower. On the other hand, a less desirable location, like North Dakota in January, may inversely offer a higher pay rate.
The big takeaway about location is that your flexibility is key. The more flexible you are regarding location, the more likely you are to go where current demand takes you — and that often means a higher paycheck. If you can be uber-flexible on location, it’s wise to maintain multiple state licenses and also know your way around the nurse licensure compact. That way, you can more swiftly apply for and accept high-demand jobs wherever they may be.
As with perm nursing jobs, your specialty plays a big role in how much you get paid. If you’re set on a larger travel nurse salary, consider one of the following higher-paying specialties — as any travel nurse with the proper certifications and experience in these fields can find themselves in a position to make a lot more money traveling.
- Oncology Nurse – Hospitals are consistently seeking travelers with hands-on experience caring for patients (both medical and surgical) with different varieties of cancer.
- NICU III Nurse – NICU III travel nurses are always in high demand, as hospitals need people who can care for critically ill babies and provide support for emotional parents and family members.
- Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) Nurse – Qualifications for and experience working with young patients in the PICU of a children’s hospital will keep you in high demand filling a need that hospitals consistently have.
- Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) Nurse – If you have specific experience in cardiac and neuro ICUs, you’ll most definitely have an edge above other critical care nurses when it comes to getting placed on assignment.
- Cardiovascular Operating Room (CVOR) Nurse – As a part of the cardiovascular surgical team, CVOR nurses tend to make more per hour because surgeries bring in a large portion of hospital revenue.
- Cardiac Catheterization Lab Nurse – Hospitals struggle to find nurses with experience in procedural areas like cath lab. That makes these jobs in higher demand and their hourly rate reflects that.
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) – CRNAs require more education than many other nurse specialties due to the added risk & accountability associated with anesthetics. Due to this requirement CRNAs are often in short supply.
Type of Assignment
Regardless of location and specialty, unexpected circumstances can also present financial opportunities for travel nurses. And when you travel with Medical Solutions, our expert team is always here to help you quickly acquire the licenses and certifications you may need in order to respond to a rapid response, crisis, or strike assignment. Plus, we offer licensure and specialty certification reimbursement!
Crisis and Rapid Response Assignments
Hospitals and medical facilities are willing to pay travel nurses top dollar to fill roles when there’s an urgent need. If you have the flexibility to arrive quickly and stay as long as the need keeps you there — and if you’re open to traveling anywhere the need may take you — you can find yourself with assignments that are rewarding in pay and experience. These assignments look great on a resume, making you even more appealing to future employers.
Strikes most often occur when a hospital and union cannot come to an agreement on a labor contract that’s up for renewal or when workers face unsafe conditions. Despite the reason for a strike, continuity of care is crucial for patients in affected facilities and travel nurses can make a good sum of money in strike assignments because of the urgent need.
If you’re wondering if Medical Solutions currently has any high-paying assignments for travel nurses or allied health professionals, feel free to contact your recruiter or call our 24-hour customer care line at 1.866.633.3548. We’re always hard at work placing talented travel nurses and negotiating to get them the competitive pay they deserve.