Unemployment benefits for travelers?
It may come as a surprise that travelers are eligible for unemployment at the end of every completed contract and in certain other circumstances. This is true in every state, and all wages earned in multiple states go towards your eligibility and weekly compensation. While you may consider it either unethical or demeaning to apply for and draw unemployment, it is an insurance pool that you have been paying into all your life with every hour worked, and it certainly should be considered in a time of financial need.
It is not difficult to picture a healthcare traveler in many of the scenarios listed below. It can happen to anyone. While it is not necessary to read this article closely just now (unless you are in such a situation), just skim it and recognize that unemployment compensation is a legitimate option that may prove of use to you in the future.
In 1980 a nurse traveler could expect to earn up to $11.00 per hour. Nurses generally stayed in hospital provided housing.
The 1970's ushered in a persistent nursing shortage that created the foundation for the travel nurse industry. The ready ability to find jobs in a shortage allowed nurses from the northern states to winter in Florida, finding work at hospitals whose census could double in the wintertime. The census increase came from a seasonal influx of so-called Snowbirds, who also wanted to get away from harsh northern winters.
These work arrangements for nurses in Florida were informal and there were no contracts, nor was housing provided. Basically these nurses were regular permanent employees but everyone understood that they would leave (quit) when the season was over. This worked well for the Florida hospitals involved who could not really afford to hire year round employees for seasonal needs.
Fall-off rate is an industry term that in real English translates to the number of assignments that fail to complete for any reason. The commonly accepted industry average fall-off rate is 10 percent for all agencies combined. That number will surprise many experienced and prospective travelers, and should give everyone some pause to consider the implications. 10 percent means 1 out of every 10 contracts fails to complete, a staggering number.
Obviously, this is a topic that should provoke the interest of travelers, and not just agency insiders. Some long term travelers have never been canceled, but the odds are against that for most travelers who travel over many years. Some long term travelers note that they are canceled pretty much in step with the industry average. But your personal odds can be improved dramatically with some simple steps.
It just never ends. As healthcare travelers we must repeatedly prove our ability to deliver expert patient care at every stop along the road. Our accumulated clinical experience, solid references and glowing performance evaluations are necessary keys to opening the door to new assignments, but each encounter with a client facility brings with it a new burden to demonstrate our skills.
In most cases we will begin the first day of orientation when we are handed a stack of tests and a #2 pencil - or the computer equivalent. New travelers may be surprised and dismayed to learn they will face a fresh barrage of competency tests with each assignment. Here is the breakdown of what to expect: