By Christine Whitmarsh, RN, BSN
Now is the time to review your travel nursing agency’s policy on overtime along with your current assignment contract. One of the temporary fixes for the nursing shortage that appears to be benefiting both staff and travel nurses is increased opportunities for working lucrative overtime hours (double time in some rare cases). Since the pay scale for traveling nurses is predominantly higher than it is for staff nurses overtime has the potential of catapulting the travel nurse into an entirely new salary bracket – the six figure kind.
If you’re looking for assignment destinations, travel nursing assignments in California are among the highest paying nursing positions in the country. California is among the states with the greatest need for nurses to staff the state’s abundance of hospitals. At some hospitals in the Sacramento area, for instance, rates, take effect after 8 hours.
Questions about a hospital’s overtime policy are some of the most important ones to ask your recruiting contact prior to starting a new assignment. It is also important to remember that hospitals are facing the same economic downturn as the rest of us. Asking about a hospital’s overtime policy, in the midst of your other questions, is entirely different than “demanding” overtime pay. Discuss the matter of working extra shifts and how you will be reimbursed (hospital or agency) with your travel nurse recruiter. Your agency can also assist you with the rest of your pre-assignment checklist, including important questions to ask your new nurse manager.
Travel Nurses: How do you handle the issue of reimbursement? What kinds of experiences, positive and negative, are you experiencing in regards to overtime hours to help with the nursing shortage?
Christine Whitmarsh is a Registered Nurse with a BSN from the University of Rhode Island. She is a freelance health journalist and medical writer and a contributor to Travel Nurse Source and Allied Travel Careers.