Archive for the ‘Career Advice’ Category

In my last blog, I discussed some of the unique insurance needs mobile professionals should consider for protecting their homes, vehicles, and personal items while on the road.

This time, I asked insurance expert Valerie Vollmer to share some pointers on evaluating different carriers. Below are some key factors to consider when shopping for insurance.

Reputation counts

Learn about the company’s history and its financial standing. Vollmer says to check out its A.M. Best ratings, and look for at least an A grade. Also, research its fiscal health. You want a company to have the funds readied in case you need to register a claim.

Geographic coverage

It’s not just about what types of insurance a company sells, but where those policies are honored — especially for mobile professionals. If you’re crossing state lines for contracts, make sure your insurance will go with you. Inquire about where the policy is in effect.

Lapse allowance

Of course, the best way to avoid any loss of coverage is to pay the premiums on time. Still, be informed on what kind of “forgiveness” period is allowed. Vollmer says most companies offer a 10- to 30-day grace period to get your payment on the books. To avoid that situation altogether, set up an automatic withdrawal program; chances are, you already have one with some of your regular bills.

Align with an agent

Because travelers move around so much, Vollmer says developing a relationship with an agent who understands your unique circumstances is even more important than for “regular” customers. Your agent can act as a surrogate in your absence, or at least an informed resource if you have to file a claim while on assignment. A single point of contact helps alleviate some stress or frustration. And, let’s face it; if you’re filing a claim, you’re already in a stressful situation.

Look for loyalty perks

While not every carrier offers every type of insurance, many sell multiple plans and offer discount premiums if you purchase a grouping, like home and auto. Others may reward long-term customers with loyalty discounts.

Good to know

Insurance may not be a topic you think about frequently — that is, until you need it. Regardless, if you’re in the market for a new company or it’s been a while since you reviewed your policies, it pays (or saves) to know that you and your belongings are protected if something happens on an assignment or at home.

Special thanks to Valerie Vollmer of Vollmer Insurance Services in Agoura Hills, Calif.

Anne Baye Ericksen has written for Healthcare Traveler Magazine since 1996. She resides with her family in Simi Valley, Calif. 

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Photo: dbking via Flickr.com

On Monday, March 26, the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments regarding the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that every American purchase health insurance. Luckily, most staffing companies offer travelers employer-sponsored medical insurance. Still, that’s only one kind of insurance policy.

With auto, home, and renter’s insurance policies available for purchase, there are many types to protect you and your belongings.

For some insight into the finer points of insurance, and how to cater certain policies to a mobile lifestyle, insurance expert Valerie Vollmer offers the following advice.


Driving to assignments every few months means spending more time behind the wheel than the average car owner. Vollmer suggests carrying full, comprehensive theft and vandalism, as well as collision with a low deductible. The more time your auto is out and about, the greater risk something could happen — like dings or accidents.

However, don’t neglect bodily injury and property damage liability. This not only covers you, the person you hit, and his/her passengers if they are injured in an accident, but having higher limits also protects your assets in the event that the other driver files a lawsuit against you. The damage element also reimburses others for any destruction of their property you caused.

Vollmer recommends travelers look for policies that provide a temporary rental car so you won’t be out of commission even if your vehicle is. These policies often include roadside services, too.

Recreational Vehicles

If you travel in a recreational vehicle or motor home, then you’re talking about another type of insurance altogether. Vollmer says to ask your agent about certain specifics, like what personal items are and are not covered. Are there comprehensive limits? Does it include breakdown services? Also, find out if a loss-of-use clause compensates you for temporary living accommodations.

Homeowner’s & Renter’s

If you own a home, you’re in luck. Homeowner’s insurance policies protect your belongings even if you are thousands of miles away on assignment. A notable exception is if you’ve turned your home into a rental property. If that’s the case, or if you don’t own a permanent residence, Vollmer suggests taking out a renter’s insurance policy at each new location. Generally speaking, this will replace items damaged or destroyed by burglary, water, smoke, and loss of use.

Travelers may also want to consider a personal article policy insuring valuables such as jewelry, cameras, and computers. However, cell phones, tablets, and e-readers aren’t usually covered.

Did you know that some carriers are dropping dog bite liability from homeowner’s policies? Other companies will exclude that coverage after the first incident. So before taking Fido on assignments, it’s important to know what is and isn’t included in your policy.

Stay tuned

Watch for the second half of this post next month, including tips on how to shop for insurance companies. Special thanks to Valerie Vollmer of Vollmer Insurance Services in Agoura Hills, Calif.

Anne Baye Ericksen has written for Healthcare Traveler since 1996. She resides with her family in Simi Valley, Calif. 

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Photo: New York Public Library via Flickr.com

There are some amazing perks to living in Southern California: proximity to the beach, mountains, and legendary tourist sites. There’s a lot of fun in the sun to be had, but getting to the beach, mountains, or attractions means driving and filling up at the pump. At $4.29 per gallon (the posted price today), that makes for a costly day trip.

According to GasBuddy.com, California claims the highest gas prices in the country right now and my wallet knows it all too well.

Californians are not alone in feeling pain at the pumps. Other regions have experienced sticker shock, too. Higher gas prices also tend to trickle down to other areas, like food prices going up or airfares taking off. It seems like the ripple effect impacts many areas of everyday life.

While there are certain financial advantages to working as a healthcare traveler—namely having your housing, as well as some utilities and travel expenses covered by your staffing company—it doesn’t mean you don’t incur certain costs while on assignment.

You still have to drive to work, right? You have to eat, too.

We want to know what YOU think are some of the more expensive aspects of life on the road. And, more importantly, how do you cut costs?

Do you ask for housing closer to the hospital?

Do you eat in more often?

What are some of your tricks for keeping cash in your wallet?

Drop us a comment below. Then, watch for a compilation of all the tricks and tips to saving cash while on the road in the next issue of Healthcare Traveler.

Anne Baye Ericksen is a freelance writer based in Simi Valley, Calif. 

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A helpful new infographic has been circulating the web for those new to travel nursing and students aspiring to become one. The Student Guide to Travel Nursing is an easy-to-follow guide that details information on the required education, experience, and necessary skills to become a successful travel nurse.

According to Healthcare Traveler, the origin of the travel nursing industry occurred in 1978 when the city of New Orleans experienced a short-term population burst during Mardi Gras. A contract nurse was called in to help with the surge of partygoers.

Since then, the demand for travel nurses has been consistently high and has become a popular career choice for students due to its competitive benefits. Travel nurses get to explore the country, receive great pay, and gain valuable work experience — all while helping others.

The student guide is currently posted on the Medical Solutions website and is also available in a printable version.

Jeff Long is the Marketing Manager at Medical Solutions, a travel nursing company. He has never been a nurse and is not a recruiter; his goal is to help you meet your career goals by sharing information, advice, and the benefits of travel nursing with you. He also blogs regularly at TravelNursingBlogs.com.

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When it comes to deciding which travel nursing company to work with, a lot of experienced travelers will recommend you work with two or three companies at a time. Have you ever wondered why that it is? Well here are four of the most common reasons for that:

  • There is not one company that is best for everyone. Every traveler has different needs, whether it is high pay, great locations, or great trust with your recruiter. Ideally you would love to find a company that can offer all of these things, but companies are all built differently and excel in different things. That is why working with multiple companies, especially when you are just starting out, can be a good idea until you find out what it is you really need from a travel nursing company to feel comfortable.
  • If your goal is to be working 100% of the time then having multiple companies on your side is the safest way to do that, particularly if the locations of your travel nursing jobs are most important to you. Hard as they try, not every travel nursing company can get you to the location you want every time, but having another company to fall back on will help ensure you are going to be able to get the location you want.
  • If you choose the wrong company off the bat without talking to any others on a continual basis you are setting yourself up for a real headache if that relationship does not work out. Much of a successful and rewarding travel career is built on the relationship you have with your recruiter and how much you trust your company. If that connection doesn’t happen for you with your first choice of companies then you have to start the process all over again for your next assignment.
  • It is also a good idea to work with multiple companies early on in your travel nursing career as a way to check them against each other and make sure you are truly getting a good deal and being treated right as a traveler. It is a good gauge to see how things are supposed to work.

As you mature as a travel nurse and experience a few different companies you will most likely settle on your favorite because of the relationship you have with them and their ability to find you what you want. But as you start to explore travel nursing as a career choice or are just starting out on your first or second assignment don’t underestimate the positive impact that working with multiple agencies can have on your enjoyment and success.

Jeff Long is the Marketing Manager at Medical Solutions, one of the leading travel nursing companies in the industry. He has never been a nurse and is not a recruiter; his goal is to help you meet your career goals by sharing information, advice, and the benefits of travel nursing with you. He also blogs regularly at TravelNursingBlogs.com.

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Technology is starting to catch up with travel nurses and providing more and more options for those that prefer to look for jobs via their smart phones or texting. Here are just some examples I have seen out there lately.

Smart Phone Apps for Travel Nurses

Opportunity Drive: This new iPhone and Blackberry app (and soon Android) lets travel nurses and allied health professionals search for jobs from multiple companies. In addition it offers features like:

  • Letting you set alerts to notify you when a job that meets your qualifications is posting
  • Making it easy to forward job openings to your friends and colleagues
  • Allowing you to easily save your favorite jobs to view later

Keep in mind not every company is posting jobs on it, but it’s just another tool to add to your travel nurse job search arsenal, especially because it’s free for travelers.

Learn more about Opportunity Drive at OpportunityDrive.com.

Cross Country’s Go CCTC Mobile App: This free app is a job search tool to make seeing all of Cross Country Trav Corps’ jobs easier.  It’s a good option if you already work with them or prefer to travel with larger companies.

You can learn more about it here.

Mobile Websites for Travel Nurses

Medical Solutions Mobile Website: Medical Solutions recently launched the travel nursing industry’s first and only mobile website. It works like a travel nursing job search app for smart phones, but is instead accessed through a smart phone’s web browser. This distinction makes it easily accessible from any smart phone or mobile device without having to download anything.

You can learn more about Medical Solutions’ mobile travel nursing website here.

Also, to encourage nurses to experience their mobile website, right now they’re hosting a sweepstakes for any travel nurse who use his or her smart phone to enter.

Learn more about the Room 2 Roam Sweepstakes at medicalsolutions.com/room2roam-sweepstakes

Text Alerts for Travel Nurses

Both American Mobile and Cross Country are now offering text alerts for jobs if you don’t have a smart phone yet and texting is more your speed.

Here are the links to each of their programs:

American Mobile Job Text Alerts

Cross Country Job Text Alerts


It’s nice to see that the mobile technology out there is starting to be applied to the traveling nurse. It should be interesting to see how this shift affects travelers looking for jobs and the industry in the future.

Jeff Long is the Marketing Manager at Medical Solutions, one of the leading travel nursing companies in the industry. He has never been a nurse and is not a recruiter; his goal is to help you meet your career goals by sharing information, advice, and the benefits of travel nursing with you. He also blogs regularly at TravelNursingBlogs.com.

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A luxury hotel package, GoMobile!, is the ticket to an affordable weekend getaway in Mobile, Alabama.  Stay in an AAA 4-Diamond hotel and enjoy some of the area’s most fascinating attractions starting at $159 per night.

Choose between the modern Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel overlooking Mobile Bay or the fully restored historic Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa, which originally opened in 1852.  Both properties are conveniently located in the city’s entertainment district.

Spend one night and receive tickets to two attractions or stay for two nights and visit all four of the following: The Battleship USS Alabama in Battleship Parkway (home to 20 historic aircrafts and the USS Submarine DRUM), the luscious 65-acre Bellingrath Gardens and Home, the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center, and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab with a living marsh boardwalk.

Reservations at the Renaissance Riverview Plaza can be made by calling 800-922-3298 or visiting its website.

For reservations at the Battle House, call 866-316-5957 or visit the website. Use code ILNW for the One Night Package and use code ILNY for the Two Night Package. More information on Mobile and its attractions can be found at mobile.org and mobile.org/gomobile.

The packages are not valid with existing reservations or other promotions. They are based on availability and some blackout dates apply. Reservations must be booked by October 31, 2011, for a stay through December 31, 2011. Additional attraction tickets may be purchased at the individual locations.

Jim Twardowski, RN, is a travel writer based in New Orleans.

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