Why is it Important to Negotiate Your Travel Nursing Salary?
There are plenty of reasons to pursue a career in travel nursing. You might be passionate about travel, eager to help patients in underserved areas, or looking to expand your skillset. Whatever your motivations are, it’s safe to say there’s a travel nursing position that fits the bill.
One factor to keep top of mind, though, is compensation. As our demand for healthcare workers continues to rise, nurses are making more money than ever before. This trend is even stronger for travel positions – the average salary of a travel nurse keeps climbing.
That being said, negotiating your salary as a travel nurse is still important. Job-seekers that demand higher pay from healthcare staffing agencies will set themselves up to earn exponentially more over the course of their career. Keep reading for travel nursing salary negotiation tips.
Things to Negotiate in Addition to Your Travel Nursing Salary
Money isn’t the only offer on the table during negotiations. While your travel nursing salary may be your primary concern, there are other factors to consider. Working is about so much more than just a paycheck, particularly for travel nurses. Even if it’s only temporarily, you’re relocating for a job – which can come with unexpected costs and challenges. With that in mind, you should also try to negotiate these aspects of your job package:
Agencies usually reimburse for travel based on the miles traveled. However, many have a set limit on reimbursement (typically $500 or less) regardless of distance. If you expect your travel costs will more be than what’s being offered, it’s a good idea to request higher travel reimbursement. If this isn’t up for negotiation, you may want to consider looking elsewhere, since travel can come with plenty of hidden fees (wear and tear on your car, tolls, parking costs, etc.)
Everyone has different health care needs, so you should take yours into account when deciding whether to negotiate your health benefits. If you’re just looking for basic coverage, you may be content with the health plan offered by your company. But if you have any chronic health conditions, illnesses, or issues that require expensive care – like regular visits with a specialist or pricey medications – you’ll want to make sure you have a health plan that covers these services.
Housing for Travel Nurses
There are usually two choices when it comes to housing: you can take the housing provided by your company or receive a stipend and arrange housing on your own. The option you choose will depend on what you’re looking for in a living situation. For example, if you’re interested in a specific neighborhood or need certain amenities – like laundry, parking, or a pet-friendly landlord – the housing offered by your company may not suffice. However, if you’re just looking for a safe place to crash – and you’d rather not risk the headache of hunting down housing by yourself – it may be smarter to go with the company’s choice. If you do decide to find your own place, you should thoroughly research the cost of housing in the area and try to negotiate a stipend that covers your rent.
Tips for Negotiating Your Travel Nursing Contract
Remember, when it comes to negotiating your salary as a travel nurse, you hold the cards. Travel nurses are in higher demand than ever before, so you have every right to ask for what you want. If your requests are refused, you can reconsider from there – but don’t feel pressured to just take the first offer you receive. Here are some easy tips to help you prepare for negotiations:
Determine Your True Rate of Pay
To negotiate your salary effectively, you should understand how both you and your travel nursing agency are paid. Your agency has a contract with each facility that determines the salary of a travel nurse. (Unfortunately, this number is firm, so there’s no possibility for negotiating with the facility directly.) Your agency takes that dollar amount and breaks it down into an hourly rate, plus benefits, reimbursements for housing, meals, stipends/incidentals, travel, and finally the agency’s cut. It’s always worth asking an agency for these numbers before negotiating, so you can compare rates of pay between different agencies if you’re considering different positions.
Communicate with Your Travel Staffing Agency
If there are certain non-negotiables that you’re not willing to budge on, communicate them to your travel nursing agency early on. That way, they won’t waste time hunting down jobs that aren’t a good fit, which will land you a position more quickly. Again, the sooner you have this conversation, the better. Try to negotiate everything upfront – ideally before your agency submits your application anywhere.
While you should absolutely stand your ground on the non-negotiables that matter to you, keeping an open mind during negotiations is always a good idea. Rather than approaching negotiations with an argumentative mindset, think about it as collaborating with your travel nursing company to reach the best outcome for everyone.
Our Travel Nursing Agency will Help You Find a Contract with Industry-Leading Pay
If you’re looking for a travel nursing job, we can find your perfect fit. As a leading travel nurse staffing agency in our region, we provide top-notch medical staffing nationwide. Our nursing recruiters will help you negotiate a high-paying contract at a company you love. Contact us today to get started.