Should I be my own agent or work with a travel nursing company?
A recent comment to another blog posts suggested that a nurse could be better off being self-employed rather than working with a travel nursing company. The argument was that then you could keep all the money for yourself.
That may be true. When a hospital hires a travel nurse through a travel nursing agency, the agency takes a cut. So the idea that you could have more earning potential as an independent travel nurse is not unfounded. But before you decide to go that route, weigh the pros and cons. The pros are not numerous, however the one pro that does exist is one of the main reasons people get into travel nursing in the first place… money. The cons are numerous, and in the end earnings with an agency can be comparable to being independent.
Being Your Own Agent
The main benefit is the opportunity to earn more. With that said there are some difficulties. Agencies employ staff who’s job is to get the best deals possible. As your own agent you will have to take on the role of a salesperson, negotiating for your contract. Agencies have established relationships with hospital systems, vendor management services, and other partnerships that allow them to have access to thousands of available positions. As your own agent, you will have to find the jobs yourself. Add prospecting to the list of jobs you will be doing as your own agent. As your own agent you will also have to worry about handling your own insurance, taxes, housing, etc. You wont have the support provided by working with an agency. This can add to the stress of traveling so much more. Arranging travel, housing, and all the other aspects of the travel nursing assignment is a full-time job on it’s own. With nurse burnout and the stress from nursing already taking its toll, it can be extremely difficult being your own agent.
Working With An Agency
There are several advantages to working with a company that are difficult for a nurse to handle on their own. For starters you would have to carry your own own insurance (general, professional, worker’s comp) which is more expensive and sometimes individuals cannot qualify or afford the levels a hospital requires. You would also have to worry about your own housing, which can be difficult to set up for a three month period, but travel nursing companies have entire departments devoted to setting this up for you. By working with a company you also have access to a 401k program and health and dental insurance.
So yes you may get more money, but the work on the back end and lack of insurance would be pretty difficult to overcome.