5 Warning Signs That a Travel Nursing Pay Package is Too Good to Be True
As a travel nurse, if you see a pay package that seems a little high for the specialty or location, it’s time to do some investigating. The total earnings on an assignment might not be representative of how much you can expect in your weekly paycheck. Here are 5 signs that your compensation package is too good to be true.
1. Your recruiter hasn’t broken down the numbers for you
An assignment’s total package may seem like a lot of money, but it’s important to slow down and examine what you’ll really make before you sign on the dotted line.
- What is the base pay?
- What other rates are included?
- What is the gross pay each week?
- What is the per diem?
Be sure to ask your recruiter to give you a clear picture of what you’ll take home every week.
2. The estimated tax rate is unrealistic
Often times, the tax rate in your pay package offer is just an estimate. This can lead to disappointment come pay day, as many travel nurses complain they make less than they anticipated. Inquire about the exact rate you will be taxed, including any agency taxes that might affect your pay.
3. Untaxed income is unlisted or unclear
As a travel nurse, you have more to consider than just your tax rate. You want to make sure you understand how much of your income is untaxed entirely. Is it half of your gross pay or just a quarter? This will make a huge difference in your take-home pay.
4. It’s at a hospital with a reputation
If you’ve been in the game for awhile, you’ve heard stories from other travel nurses about hospitals that don’t treat their travelers well. Perhaps they push you to float into units that you aren’t comfortable staffing, give you a crushing patient load, or pressure you to work shifts outside your contract. If a hospital is really difficult to staff, they may raise their rates to attract travelers. But at what cost? If base rates seem unusually high, be sure to research a hospital’s reputation with fellow travel nurses and with your recruiter.
5. Your contract over-emphasizes the crisis rate, overtime, or on-call requirements
If you’re expected to work overtime, be on-call, or work in a crisis, be sure you know that upfront. You want the pay you expect to be commensurate with the work you’re committing to. A large pay package may be less attractive if you’ll only cash in on it by working much more than you expected.
Looking for more on travel nursing pay? Check out our blog on how to boost your negotiating power as a travel nurse.