Ask a Travel Nurse: Do Travel Nursing companies ever post the hourly rate for jobs on their websites?


Clock by money

Ask a Travel Nurse: Do Travel Nursing companies ever post the hourly rate for jobs on their websites?

Ask a Travel Nurse Question:

Hi David, Do Travel Nursing companies ever post the hourly rate for jobs on their websites?

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

I do not know of any company that does this and could probably tell you the reason.

To do this, a company would have to factor in MANY variables such as, if you were participating in their “tax advantage program, if you were taking a stipend rather than housing, and even how many deductions you would claim on your W2. When you add to that, that the rates could change, which would require constant updating from their IT department, and you should be able to see why no company I know of does this.

Plus, if they did, you might be tempted to just pick the highest hourly, which is NOT always your best compensation package.

I think the companies are actually wise NOT to do this as no “hourly rate” can exist in a vacuum. There are too many other factors that can influence your total compensation on any given assignment.

Sorry I couldn’t answer your question directly, but hopefully you understand why just shopping rates could actually prevent you from making the best deal.


Why Nurses are the Best


A video surfaced this week that in just one minute and 21 seconds shows exactly why nurses are the best.

Sure, nurses can do it all. But what stands out time and again — and what truly makes nurses so extraordinary — is how much they care.

That ability to care so deeply and be so invested in their patients is perfectly displayed in the video below. Check out this nurse’s reaction after the 17-year-old Texas girl, who was the nurse’s patient, surprises her by walking after being mysteriously paralyzed for 11 days.

The girl in the video, Bailey Murrill, told the New York Daily News that she and the unnamed nurse had bonded over their faith and other matters during her stay at Dallas’ Zale Lipshy University Hospital. Murrill said she wanted to think of a fun way to surprise her “favorite nurse” with the good news.

“She had brought me so much joy at a time I needed it that I decided to bring her some,” Murrill told the New York Daily News.

The look on the nurse’s face when Murrill stands to walk towards her is absolutely priceless and very moving. The nurse then hugs her patient and says how happy she is for her.

“See there, I told you,” says the nurse. “Just keep the faith.”

That’s why nurses are the best!

Tafford 2015 Spring Medical Scholarship


Books apple stethoscope

Click here to learn more about the Tafford 2015 Spring Medical Scholarship.

Tafford Uniforms is pleased to announce the opening of the 2015 Spring Medical Scholarship application period. This scholarship fund will assist students who are enrolled in medical school by offsetting the costs of books or tuition with a $500 cash award. The application process is simple — just answer the following question, in 300 words or less: “What impacted your decision to become a medical professional?” The winner will be chosen by an award committee.

Essays should be thoughtful and well written to be considered. You will also need to include current proof of your enrollment in an accredited nursing school, dental technician, or veterinarian program. All related occupations for students in these industries are encouraged to apply. That also includes Travel Nurses who are still in school or are working to further their education!

Just visit to learn more about requirements, official rules, and documentation needed, and to fill out the form to request an application. Applications will be accepted through June 30th at midnight — so you have plenty of time to write an essay and get your paperwork together for submission. Best of luck to all the hardworking Travel Nurses and other medical professionals out there!

Ask a Travel Nurse: Are companies willing to negotiate Travel Nursing pay?


Ask a Travel Nurse

Ask a Travel Nurse: Are companies willing to negotiate Travel Nursing pay?

Ask a Travel Nurse Question:

When it comes to pay, are most offers for hospital jobs set in stone? Are companies willing to negotiate Travel Nursing pay?

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

In Travel Nursing, many assignments simply pay what they pay. While you may have a little wiggle room on your hourly rate, that will likely not change more than a few dollars per hour.    

Most hospitals draft a “blanket agreement” (or contract) when dealing with travel companies. This means that every travel company essentially makes the same compensation for providing the facility with a Travel Nurse. The travel company then puts together a package for the nurse, and then presents that, in a contract that you sign with the travel company. The reason that different companies might have a different hourly rate for the same position is due to allocation.

While one company might provide a higher hourly rate, another might provide better housing or health benefits. No ONE company offers the best housing, the highest hourly rate, AND the cheapest, most comprehensive medical insurance. If there was such a company, it would be the ONLY travel company as EVERYONE would travel with them.

Another factor could be the travel company’s profit margin on the traveler; this is why there could be a little wiggle room on the hourly rate. Yes, travel companies want to make money off of you, no surprise there. But they are also paying a lot of people to make sure that your assignment comes together. If you have been with your company for a few assignments and are a loyal traveler, a company should always do what they can to retain you. This could mean making a lower profit margin on your employment and offering you more in compensation.    

However, every company will have a certain margin that they will not exceed (otherwise, they could actually LOSE money on your contract). The recruiters I use are very good about being up front about this and there have been times where I have asked for more of an hourly rate only to be told that it is just not “doable.” If you feel you should be getting more, or require more than they are offering, then just ask. You are only going to get one of two answers.

If you do require more than a travel company is willing to pay on any given assignment, if you have a good recruiter, they should simply say, “I’m sorry, but on that assignment, I just cannot meet your quote. However, let me know what figure you need and we can look for an assignment that will work for you.”

I hope this helps :-)


Radamenes the Amazing Nurse Cat


Here’s a great story for animal lovers as well as compassionate types everywhere.

Meet Radamenes the Amazing Nurse Cat.Radamenes Polish Nurse Cat

He was delivered to an animal shelter in Bydgoszcz, Poland suffering from a severe upper respiratory infection and in pretty rough condition. When he arrived the vets who first saw him didn’t have much hope for his recovery and considered putting him down to end his suffering. But, when Radamenes began to purr they recognized his will to survive and began treatment.

Radamenes Polish Nurse CatOnce Radamenes was up and around, feeling healthier and stronger, he began to make friends with other animals at the shelter. The staff said they started to notice that Radamenes was especially warmhearted towards animals who were in immediate recovery from major surgeries and other procedures. He dotes on these animals; visiting to help clean, hug, and cuddle them, and sometimes he even gives them massages!Radamenes Polish Nurse Cat

The vets at the shelter say Radamenes has become their mascot and they joke that he’s a full-time nurse. He certainly does display the compassionate care that nurses are known for.

Radamenes Polish Nurse CatWhether through his own experience with recovery or perhaps on some other level, he seems to understand the importance to recovery and the overall comfort of a loving touch and presence for those who are ill.

Way to pay it forward, Radamenes the amazing nurse cat! You make nurses everywhere proud.

Ram nurse Cat 5Have you ever had an animal help “nurse” you or another of your pets back to health? Share your story in the comments.

Image credits: TNV Meteo

Women on 20s


20 dollar bill

Fun fact: Four of the top 15 Women On 20s candidates were nurses!

While it’s true that American women have “come a long way, baby” over the past century, there are still large and small ways that we as a society can proceed towards equality.

For example, women comprised 91% of all nurses as of 2011, according to the United States Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, yet male nurses continue to earn more than females in the profession. (Click here to learn more about the nursing gender pay gap.)

Speaking of money, a group called Women On 20s is working on a change that’s part symbolic and partially about equal representation: Getting a woman’s face on U.S. paper currency, specifically the 20 dollar bill. After an extensive selection and voting process, the organization will present one woman to the White House as the people’s choice for the new $20 bill. And how cool is the fact that four of the top 15 candidates were nurses!?

Women On 20s started with 100 important American women and worked it down to 15 primary round candidates, including pioneering nurse Clara Barton, author Betty Friedan, nurse and family planning pioneer Margaret Sanger, politician Shirley Chisholm, suffragist Alice Paul, and nurse and activist Sojourner Truth, among other awesome women.

The primary round resulted in more than 256,000 votes narrowing down to the final four:

  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Harriet Tubman
  • Rosa Parks
  • Wilma Mankiller

The final candidates page provides bios on each of these women with all kinds of great information about the many impacts they each made in America. One interesting tidbit: A lot of people don’t know that in addition to her many other talents Harriet Tubman served as a nurse during the Civil War. She continued on as a healer after the war and even helped found a home for the elderly.

Why the $20? Women On 20s has several reasons for this choice, including the fact that 2020 will mark the centennial celebration of the 19th Amendment’s passage, which gave women the right to vote. They argue on their website that while Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea have graced coins, it’s time for a woman on a bill. Additionally, Andrew Jackson has become popular as the one to replace due to his legacy of the “Indian Removal Act of 1830” which led to mass Native American relocation and the Trail of Tears, as well as the fact that he actually vigorously opposed the central banking system and favored gold and silver coin above paper currency.

You can vote for your Women On 20s choice here. Be sure to click around the website to learn more about the Women On 20s process and the original 100 women who were considered.

Which finalist are you backing? Be sure to share your opinion in the comments, and in the meantime, check out this great video where kids explore U.S. currency with poignant results.

Ask a Travel Nurse: Should my housing stipend be taxed?


Travel Question

Ask a Travel Nurse: Should my housing stipend be taxed?

Ask a Travel Nurse Question:

I am currently on contract in California for three more months and chose to take my own housing. My permanent residence in Illinois is listed with my company, where I have numerous things registered to that address (car, voter’s registration, etc.) and also have many belongings there including two cats. Since my mom usually handles my finances (I can save lives but am terrible with tax numbers) I do not pay rent. My mom and her tax consultant believe that my housing should be taxed and think I’m technically a transient. My understanding from the company is that I am not and I should get my California housing stipend tax free. In your opinion, should my housing stipend be taxed? Thanks so much!

My mom and her tax consultant believe that my housing should be taxed and think I’m technically a transient. My understanding from the company is that I am not and I should get my California housing stipend tax free. In your opinion, should my housing stipend be taxed? Thanks so much!

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

This question would be much better suited for the people over at

Joseph Smith, who was once a traveling healthcare professional, is an enrolled agent with the IRS and while I can answer many questions regarding taxes and the traveling healthcare professional, when it comes to specific cases, the people at would be best to advise you.

You can always email then a question through their site, but understandably, you may currently have a bit of a delay in their response due to it being “tax time.”

Just from what you have stated, although many others in your situation would certainly claim they were eligible to take the stipend tax free, I believe your mom and tax consultant may be correct in their assessment of your situation. 

The tax exempt status comes from the assumption that you are duplicating living expenses due to working away from the area in which you normally do business. Without paying rent, in the eyes of the IRS, it could be argued that you are not really duplicating your living expenses while out on the road.  

But again, run it by the people over at and see what they think.


Nurses Week 2015 Preview


Nurse with coffee

Get a jump on the festivities with this Nurses Week 2015 preview.

It seems like 2015 just began … but time flies when you’re having fun Travel Nursing,  and Nurses Week is almost upon us!

I’ll do a post in a couple of weeks with a whole bunch of awesome Nurses Week steals and deals for you to take advantage of (here’s hoping for free Cinnabon again!), but for now I wanted to share a brief Nurses Week 2015 preview.

ANA National Nurses Week Free Webinar 

The theme of this year’s Nurses Week is “Ethical Practice. Quality Care,” which, according to the ANA, is meant to recognize “the importance of ethics in nursing and acknowledges the strong commitment, compassion and care nurses display in their practice and profession. The theme is an important part of ANA’s 2015 Year of Ethics outreach to promote and advocate for the rights, health and safety of nurses and patients.”

You can click here to register now for a free webinar, “My Patient, My Code, My Practice: Ethical Decision-making and Action,” which will take place May 7, 2015, at 1 p.m. EDT. The webinar will be led by Anna Dermenchyan, BSN, RN, CCRN-CSC, Clinical Quality Specialist UCLA Medical Center, and Eileen Weber, DNP, JD, PHN, BSN, RN, Clinical Assistant Professor University of Minnesota.

At that same page you’ll find the link to ANA’s National Nurses Week 2015 toolkit, a helpful resource for administrations wanting to celebrate their nursing staff (hint-hint!).

The American Nurse Screenings

The American Nurse, is an award-winning documentary that tells the stories of the personal and professional lives of five American nurses in different specialties. The film also highlights issues like poverty, the prison system, war, and aging. The American Nurse does a great job of communicating what an important role nurses play throughout diverse settings such as the hospital, home, community, classroom, and more.

Click here to learn more about the film, to purchase or rent it, and to look for a Nurses Week screening near your area. And, you can check the trailer out right here.

Nurses Week 2015 Gifts

If you want to splurge on some gifts for yourself, friends, or colleagues, the ANA has some Nurses Week 2015-specific items available here.

If you prefer gifts that are a little more unique and varied, click here to explore nurse gifts on Etsy.

You could also try Zazzle, Stitches, or keep it super simple with something nearly every nurse loves — coffee!

I hope this Nurses Week 2015 preview helped get you amped for the big celebration. Be sure to subscribe to to get upcoming updates!

Call the Midwife is Back with Season 4


call the midwife

Call the Midwife is back with season four!

Last Sunday, March 29th, everyone’s favorite BBC drama returned as its characters were catapulted into the 1960s. That’s right, Call the Midwife is back with season four!

The series follows the work and lives of a group of midwives and nuns at Nonnatus House, a nursing convent which serves a very low-income population in 1950s and 1960s East End London. While the main focus is, as the title indicates, delivering babies and ensuring safe childbirths, the sisters and midwives perform a host of additional nursing duties throughout the deprived community. Like most nurses, the characters of Call the Midwife often go far beyond the call of duty for their patients.

Besides providing excellent entertainment and period drama panache in the same vein of Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife also touches on a lot of important social issues. And, with its focus on the challenges and fruits of a career in nursing, the show has gained a substantial following amongst nurses and other healthcare professionals.

Here something really cool I just read about on the Call the Midwife Facebook page: On Nashville’s Public Television website, faculty from the Vanderbilt School of Nursing have been posting guest blogs recapping each episode ever since Call the Midwife’s first season. There are spoilers, so you’ll want to watch before reading, but these guest blogs are a really cool companion to the show — especially for nurses and midwives — because they discuss the show’s happenings in the context of clinical concerns and associated issues. You can check these awesome recaps out here.

If you are a fan who is stoked that Call the Midwife is back with season four, you can check your local listings or catch up on season three and the new episodes of season four as they are posted here at

If you’re a nurse and you’ve never watched Call the Midwife, you can get hooked on the first season at Netflix. The whole series is also available for purchase or rental on Amazon.

Whether it’s reality, comedy, or drama, what’s your favorite television show about or featuring nurses?

Ask a Travel Nurse: Is there a certain number of assignments Travel Nurses typically take per year?


Travel Nurse Smiling

Ask a Travel Nurse: Is there a certain number of assignments Travel Nurses typically take per year?

Ask a Travel Nurse Question:

Hi, David! Is there a certain number of assignments Travel Nurses typically take per year?

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

The short answer is, no.

I strongly caution nurses against ever signing any contracts or agreements that mandate that they take a certain number of assignments with any given company. Fortunately, I am not aware of any travel companies that currently do this. With most companies, it even states in their contract, that you are only obligated to them, and they to you, for a single contract.

It really all depends on the Traveler. For me, I enjoyed the aspect of seeing new places; however, I didn’t always relish the idea of having to pack up all my stuff every 13 weeks and move somewhere else. For many of my contracts, I would extend for at least one or two more assignments. In several locations, I stayed for more than a year.

Additionally, when I was living in Ohio, I used to enjoy going back and seeing all my friends and family during the summer. I had a local hospital that kept me on their payroll so that when I was back, it was as simple as picking up the phone and saying, “I’m back. What do your scheduling needs look like for the next month?”

So, it’s up to you. If you want to hit as many destinations as possible, feel free to take an assignment every 13 weeks. But if you like the facility and people with whom you work, also feel free to stay put for a while.

In closing, I will mention one thing about staying in a location for a long period of time. If you are participating in any tax advantage program through your company, you do need to be aware of the tax implications in staying in any given location for more than a year.

The very minute that you agree to stay in a location past a year, the IRS no longer categorizes you as a traveler that is entitled to take the deductions allowed for maintaining a ”tax home” and you can be taxed on any housing stipends or even company provided housing.

Obviously, tax situations are very complex thing, and not every travel nurse will fit into the same situation. But if you do plan to stay in any given location beyond a year, be sure you understand the tax implications of that decision.

I hope this helps.