Thursday, June 6, 2013

What Kind of Housing Can I Expect as a Travel Nurse?

By Aaron J. Moore, MSN, RN, travel nurse expert

Q. What kind of housing can I expect as a travel nurse? Do I have choices?

A. One of the big benefits of travel nursing is the premier, furnished housing you get to stay in for, get this, no cost!!  While traveling I have stayed in all different kinds of housing, from lofts to hotel rooms, apartments on the beach, and even one place that allowed me to watch major league baseball games from my patio window.

Here are some tips to make sure you get awesome housing with your next assignment:

First, it all starts with an honest relationship…and I’m not talking about marriage.  I know I keep repeating myself, but I can’t overemphasize how important it is to have a great working relationship with your recruiter.  Your recruiter can be your best friend and ally if you work with them and show some flexibility.

Be honest with your recruiter up front.  Once I picked a location, I would start looking around at apartments.  Ask your recruiter where they usually house travelers in the town where you are headed, and most of the time he or she can give you a few ideas of where you might stay.  Don’t be afraid to ask for something different if you want.  But, don’t get too selfish, and remember, it’s free housing!

It is important to research the places your recruiter tells you about in advance.  There is nothing worse than getting to your destination and realizing it’s not going to work for you.  Check commute times to your assignment facility as well as proximity to supermarkets, public transportation, and general stuff like that.

When it came to my housing, I loved to live right in the heart of the city.  It put everything at my doorstep and allowed me to walk to almost everything I wanted to see.  Don’t get me wrong: I love the road trip, but you have to think about your day-to-day stuff.  What do you do most? That is what you should keep close by.

I also hated long commutes.  Working nights, I found it hard to drive home long distances in the morning.  Most assignments I lived close enough to walk to work or take public transportation.  Carpooling was also a favorite of mine; when I met fellow travelers in orientation, we used to always compare housing and see if we lived close to each other.

Housing can be the highlight of your assignment.  Not just because you get an awesome view and great amenities, but mostly because of the location.

Some of my favorite memories include my four-month stay in a hotel room in New York City that was blocks from everything cool NYC had to offer (which is everything).  I already mentioned my place in Baltimore that allowed me to see most Oriole home games.  And then there was the apartment on the Bay in San Fran.  I spent many a night sitting on my porch watching the ducks swim by and enjoying a sunset over the water.  Oh, and did I mention my place in Portland that overlooked a local fountain where local community theaters would put on Shakespeare once a month?

Now not all of my housing options had amazing stuff like I mentioned above, but there was not a single one I could really complain about.  My recruiter took care of me and I didn’t complain about the little things.  Now if there was a major problem, or I felt like it was an unsafe area for my wife to be alone at night, I would speak up.  And so should you. But if you’re unhappy because the place has a tiny gym, or you wish you had a porch, suck it up and remember you can get out and enjoy a lot of things around you whenever you’re not sleeping.

And one important thing to remember: if you research your agency’s housing options and don’t see anything you like―or you have relatives or friends in the area who you would like to stay with―you can usually make your own housing plans and ask the agency for a housing stipend, instead.  Just ask your recruiter about their policy on that.

Everyone has their own opinion of what good housing is, so don’t be afraid to let your recruiter know your tastes.  Most likely they will work with you, because they want you to enjoy life and stay traveling.  So go, live the (housing) dream that is travel nursing.

Do You Have a Question About Travel Nursing?
Submit a question to Aaron, our travel nursing expert, today.
Or apply now to get started on a travel nursing assignment.

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