One of the biggest factors for consideration when searching for travel nursing assignments is the housing arrangements. What is the housing like? How much is the housing stipend going to be? Where will the housing be located in relation to the hospital or healthcare facility I work at?
Many questions about housing arise when looking at travel nursing jobs. There are also a lot of things you might want to know about travel nurse housing in general. I’ve taken the initiative to compile all of the possible questions and answers you might have about travel nursing housing, and put it all right here, for your convenience. Without further ado, let’s get to it!
Q: Is the agency-provided housing 100% covered?
A. Generally speaking, yes. If you accept the agency housing option, then everything you need on very basic terms is covered. However, if you choose to get upgrades (nicer apartment, two bedrooms, washer and dryer unit, upgraded packages for furnishings, etc.) – then you will be expected to pay the extra cost for those upgrades. Also, if you choose to take the travel housing stipend and you find something to rent for under the budget provided, then the answer to this question is also yes. However, if you take the stipend but do not find anything under this budget, then you are also spending more out of pocket for your travel nurse housing.
Q. Will agency-sponsored housing come fully-furnished?
A. Furnished? Yes. Fully-furnished? Depends on what you consider “fully”. Generally speaking, agency-provided housing will have the following:
- Bedroom: Queen-size bed, one dresser, night stand, a lamp
- Dining room: Small kitchen table with four chairs
- Living room: Sofa, chair, coffee table, end table, a lamp, a TV stand
A. Anything else that you want to be there when you arrive, such as linens, dishes, bedding, and a vacuum cleaner would be considered extra and therefore cost more. You also might not have a washer and dryer unit and a microwave available – so those might also be additional expenses if you want to have them there. Agencies can often help you make arrangements to have those extras there for a cost, or you can bring them with you.
Q. How do I set up internet and/or cable?
A. Once you have a housing situation established and a confirmed address (whether this has been done by the travel nursing agency or you) call the landlord or property manager and find out what providers are local to the area. Compare prices of the local providers and make sure they have plans available that are not long-term. Also, be sure you check out all the information about the housing arrangement with your agency for the provided housing, because there is often wifi and/or cable included already. If you are staying in an RV, be sure that you look for camping grounds that have these services available to you.
Q. Does the agency pay for utilities, such as water, electric, gas, cable, etc.?
A. In most situations, the travel nursing agency will pay for most of the utilities (water, gas, electric) up to certain limits. Cable and internet, however, are considered extras in most cases and will require and out-of-pocket expense. It’s not unheard of, but it’s not common either for an agency to cover internet and cable.
Q. If I choose agency-provided housing, do I get any say in where I stay?
A. The general practice in the travel nursing industry is to give a nurse two to three options for housing to choose from. If your travel nursing staffing agency doesn’t give you more than one option, if you ask them, they might be able to. Typically, even if you request a specific one, it’s not going to guarantee that you get it. If you have specific housing requirements, be sure you voice your concerns to your recruiter and stress their importance.
Q. How do I find my own housing if I take the stipend?
Your options are endless. With new websites like Airbnb showing listings for short-term vacation rentals, it has become relatively easy to find housing to rent short-term that often comes fully furnished.
Be sure that you consider your safety, and if you find a housing option that sounds too cheap to be true, carefully research the area to make sure it’s not in a bad part of town where your safety could be compromised.
The following are some great resources you can consider while searching for your own housing arrangements:
- Househunting websites such as forrent.com and apartments.com.
- Vacation rental websites such as VRBO.com and homeaway.com.
- Temporary housing websites such as sublet.com and airbnb.com.
- Non-traditional housing searches like couchsurfing.org or houseboat rentals (Google by city for best results).
- Hotels that offer extended stays such as Candlewood, Extended Stay America, Residence Inn, etc.
- Hire a local realtor to help you find a place.
- Stay with a friend or family member when possible.
Q. What determines the amount of a housing stipend?
Your travel nurse housing stipend will be determined by the contract, the city, and how your travel nursing agency breaks down pay packages.
Q. Do I have to have a roommate?
A. Generally speaking, no. However, there are cases, such as during nursing strike jobs, in which you might have to room with a fellow nurse or receive less pay for a private room. This information will be disclosed to you upfront.
Q. Can I bring a pet?
A. Yes! This is something that can be arranged. Be sure you let your recruiter know upfront about the pet so they can find pet-friendly housing, and be prepared for a small pet deposit.
Q. What if I arrive at my assignment and hate my housing?
A. While agencies will do their best to give you plenty of details about the housing upfront and find nice places for you to stay, everybody has different tastes and this scenario can and does happen. If you find yourself in this situation, the first thing you need to do is contact your recruiter immediately. In most cases, they will fix the situation if it is truly unacceptable.
One more thing before you go…
Be sure that you know in advance what your housing is going to be like before you arrive at your travel nursing assignment. If you do not like any of the housing options the agency has given you, you could either find your own housing or decline the contract. Housing is usually the most stressful part of any travel nursing assignment. Be upfront with your recruiter about what you need in terms of housing from the very beginning of the conversation.
During the planning stages, do your due diligence. Read the reviews of a property, research the new city you’re moving to, ask questions, etc. If you’ve been thorough in your research, this should avoid any unforeseen surprises down the road.
If you are looking for a travel nursing assignment, we want to hear from you! Give us a call today at 208-378-1338.