Travel Nurse Resources

I was a travel nurse in 2020-2022 all across the West Coast completing 5 assignments having the time of my life! My specialty is Medical-Surgical/Telemetry and most of my assignments I took were in MS/Tele Float Pools.

I will list below qualifications to be a travel nurse and all of the important resources I used along my journey.

How to Become a Travel Nurse

In general, to be a traveler you must have 2 years of experience in your specialty. Before I started, I had been an RN for 2 1/2 yrs, with 1 yr in a Sub-Acute Rehab and 1 1/2 yrs on a Medical Surgical/Telemetry floor.

I can’t emphasize enough that you must have 1-2 years of experience before becoming a traveler. Typically, you will only receive 1-3 shifts of orientation. You have to be able to hit the ground running and be a fast learner.

But- this is why you are paid the big bucks. You are being used to fill a spot when a unit is need of staffing. Never expect to walk into your assignment expecting a cake walk. But even when my shift or assignment was difficult, the whole travel experience and pay more than made up for it.

Best Travel Nurse Agencies

I’m not sure there is any ‘best’ agency since every person might have different experiences with each agency based off of their recruiter. I have personally gone through Aya Healthcare twice, Trusted Health once, and did two internal contracts. Each time I had a fine assignment with no complaints.

I reached out on social media to fellow travelers and heard really great things about both Prolink and Atlas for best pay, quick contracts, and kind recruiters.

My Favorite Travel Nurse Resources

The Travel Nurse Facebook Page– This Facebook page has over 180K members in it with many helpful pinned & featured guides on housing, agencies, what to include in your contract, etc. You can post questions/ask for advice from others. In general I found this Facebook page very helpful.

Medventure– I detail more about this app below about making social connections. There is also a part of the app that has facility reviews which is helpful.

Housing Resources

Obviously you’re not going to be a travel nurse driving a U-Haul everywhere moving in and out every few months- you must rent furnished apartments. I do not recommend Airbnb. There are ridiculous excessive fees, no lease/rental agreements, and I wouldn’t count on Airbnb to get out of a 90 day booking if you hate when you walk in. I also don’t recommend long stay hotels for this reason either, and I’ve heard negative experiences from those staying in extended stays.

Furnished Finder– I’ve used this site for 5 different housing choices and have had great experiences.

Specific Facebook Pages/Groups or Facebook Marketplace- I have found two different places through Facebook with great experiences. I found my apartment in Philly through Marketplace, and found my Seattle apartment through the page ‘Seattle Travel Nurses’.

Tax Resources

It’s hard being a travel nurse as it is with being in a new city every few months learning a new hospital and EHR. You know what makes it even harder and confusing? Understanding taxes, tax home rules, and nontaxable stipends!

Travel Tax– This is the company I have used 3 years in a row to file my taxes. You can also schedule a tax home consult with them to see if you qualify for non taxable stipends.

Learning about if you qualify for a tax home– A good resource for travel nurses & taxes. But be sure to consult a tax professional for your own personal situation.

I am NOT a tax professional. I am not imparting any personal tax advice and am not personally responsible for any tax advice. I do not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice.

How to Make Friends & Social Connections

Medventure– A fantastic app created for traveling healthcare professionals that was created by a travel nurse! You can find other travelers where you’re taking your assignment and fill out what your hobbies are. They also have meetups in multiple cities that you can attend to meet more people, and events like Friendsgiving. It’s really such a great niche resource for meeting people while traveling and can’t recommend it enough.

Best Cities to Take an Assignment

I suppose this question requires a very individual response. I would recommend every hospital and city I worked in, but those cities might not appeal to others. I took assignments in: Denver, CO, Prescott, AZ, San Francisco, CA, Seattle, WA, & San Diego, CA.

There are some general known places that don’t pay well such as Colorado, Florida, and other Southern states. Kaiser is also known to float their travelers every 4 hours which sounds brutal.

I tended to stick to reputable large teaching hospitals as these will usually have stricter ratios and more resources. California is also the only state that has mandated breaks and nurse to patient ratios. I dearly miss my night shifts at UCSF where I got a one hour uninterrupted break!

Again I would recommend becoming a member of the Travel Nurse Facebook Page to see what others have to say about a city or hospital you’re considering.