Can You Pick Up Extra Shifts as a Travel Nurse? - Trusted Nurse Staffing 987839088534212 [9:30 AM] Katie Iglewski

Nursing is a lucrative career, and travel nursing offers many benefits. But can you make even more money by picking up extra shifts as a travel nurse?

You sure can. If you’re willing, there are usually many overtime hours available for travel nurses. And extra cash isn’t the only benefit you’ll gain from working more.

Keep reading to find out what the other perks are and what you should be careful about when working extra shifts as a travel nurse.


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Can You Pick Up Extra Shifts as a Travel Nurse?

You know that you have guaranteed hours as a travel nurse, but what if you want even more work beyond that? Is it possible to work extra hours during your assignment?

The answer is yes — with a caveat. It may depend on the agency you’re working with and the facility where your assignment is. 

But most of the time, it is possible to get more hours in the form of overtime at your contracted workplace or per diem assignments from other facilities in the area. If this is something you’re interested in, you should bring it up with your travel nurse agency or recruiter.


can a travel nurse pick up extra shifts


Should Overtime Pay for Extra Shifts Be Negotiated Into My Contract? 

Since travel nurse staffing agencies have different agreements with each facility where they place nurses, the billable rates can vary. This includes regular and overtime pay.

If you’re only interested in picking up extra shifts if the pay rate is something you consider worth giving up your time for, then you’ll definitely want to address this before signing your contract. That way you’ll know how much money you can possibly make ahead of time. 

A great agency, such as Trusted Nurse Staffing, will do everything it can to get you the best possible terms for overtime pay.


Can You Pick Up Extra Shifts From a Travel Nurse Assignment? 

You should be able to pick up extra shifts while on a travel nursing assignment, but again, you should check with your agency in each case. Since they have relationships with hospitals and other medical facilities, they’ll be able to give you an idea of what you can expect for overtime hours.

You may also be able to branch out to other facilities for extra hours during your assignment. Many travel nurses can find per diem nursing jobs at other hospitals or clinics where they can pick up work on an as-needed basis.

You may also be able to get per diem jobs near your home base, so you’ll still be able to work when you’re between travel nursing assignments. With any per diem job, you should make sure you know and are meeting the requirements to be eligible for these shifts.


travel nurse extra shifts


Our Top 3 Tips for Picking Up Extra Shifts as a Travel Nurse

So, it’s most likely possible that you’ll be able to pick up extra shifts as a travel nurse. Now you want to make sure you’re smart about how to do that. Here are some of our tips.


#1: Understand How You’ll Be Paid

Every agency or facility doesn’t pay the same rate for extra shifts. Because there are often so many extras involved in a travel nursing contract, your pay rate may not be what you expect for overtime hours worked. Or the pay may be higher, but perks such as meal stipends or travel expenses won’t be covered.

You should also make sure you understand how your overtime pay will be taxed. Some companies may raise the taxable wage base for extra hours worked. Your travel nurse staffing agency should be able to help you work through these numbers to figure out how much money you’ll be making overall.


#2: Pick Up Shifts on Holidays or Weekends

As a nurse, you know it’s common to miss family events or holiday gatherings because of your work schedule. But if you’re already away from home because you’re on a travel assignment, you have a great opportunity to take over those shifts for other nurses.

Not only will this garner you some extra cash, but it will also make the day of a local nurse who gets to take that time off. And as an extra perk, you should know that many facilities pay higher rates for working on holidays.


#3: Let Management Know You’d Like To Be Contacted When Call-Outs Happen

If you’re trying to pick up extra shifts at your assigned facility, your nurse manager will consider you a lifesaver if you volunteer to be on call when a fellow nurse gets sick or has some other emergency preventing them from coming to work.

One drawback of this method is that you will often be called to work at the last minute and possibly have to cancel plans for your day off. But when you see those extra hours on your paycheck, you probably won’t mind.


travel nurse pick up extra shifts


Is Picking Up Extra Shifts as a Travel Nurse Worth It? 

You’ll have to judge for yourself if picking up overtime hours as a travel nurse is worth it. If you’re stashing away money for a rainy day or have a specific goal in mind — like a new car or house — you will be excited to see how your bank account grows with every extra shift.

Or maybe your goal isn’t monetary, but it’s the experience you’re looking for. If you want to gain skills in a variety of healthcare environments, or you just thrive when you’re working as much as you can, picking up extra shifts may be ideal for you.

Either way, there are definitely benefits. But there can be downsides as well. Let’s explore a couple of things to look out for when working overtime.


Don’t Risk Burnout

While extra pay is always nice, nursing is a balancing act. Pay attention to how you feel as you pick up extra hours. 

If you’re beginning to feel the signs of burnout, such as …

  • Being constantly tired
  • Feeling insensitive and unable to show compassion to your patients
  • Deteriorating physical health; or
  • Experiencing paralyzing work-related anxiety

… it’s important that you reevaluate what your needs are instead of your wants

Is picking up shifts putting a toll on your mental health? Are you too tired to focus on your patients? Then you may want to take a break from extra shifts for a while.

If money is a concern but you’re not able to pick up extra shifts, consider coordinating with your agency to see if they can help meet your needs. 


Remember To Enjoy Your Travel Nursing Experience

Don’t forget why you became a travel nurse in the first place. This career offers a unique opportunity to travel and explore different parts of the country. If you’re constantly working, you won’t be able to take advantage of that perk.

Money is important, but so is taking care of yourself and doing what you love on your off days. Remember that you should always make time for yourself.


travel nurse extra shifts


What Are the Benefits of Picking Up Shifts as a Travel Nurse? 

#1: Extra Cash When You Need It

Making more money isn’t the only advantage of picking up extra shifts as a travel nurse, but it’s a pretty big one.

Whether you’re a part-time travel nurse, working somewhere else during your “off” time between assignments, or working overtime, the money you bring in from picking up extra shifts can really make a dent in your bills — or build up nicely in your savings account. 


#2: Build Your Reputation at Your Assigned Facility

If you love the facility where your current assignment is and want to extend your contract or even come back in the future, it’s important to make a good impression on your nurse manager and colleagues.

Picking up extra shifts when needed is a great way to show the staff that you are committed to your job and are willing to go the extra mile to help the team. 


#3: Explore Different Specialties 

Sometimes a facility may ask you to pick up a shift on a different floor or department — or even at a partner facility. This is a great opportunity for travel nurses to explore other specialties.

If you are interested in a different area of nursing than what you’re currently doing, picking up an extra shift in that field is a great way to see if it’s a fit for you without committing to an entire contract.

You can also gain experience at a variety of hospitals or clinics. Maybe you’ll find that you love working in a different setting, or you’ll be able to decide whether you want to pursue an assignment there in the future. 


travel nurse extra shifts


#4: Get To Know Your Co-Workers

If you have never worked in your assigned facility and are at the beginning of your contract, you’re the new kid in town. After you’ve done your initial training, you may not feel like you are a part of the “group” in your new workplace. 

Picking up extra shifts can help you get to know your coworkers and build relationships with them a little bit faster. Plus, they’ll love you for covering for them when they need to be out.


#5: Developing Cultural Competence Becomes Easier

The more you work as a travel nurse, the more you get used to having to navigate new environments — not only different cities and states but also various medical facilities and the patients they serve.

Extra travel nursing work allows you to learn how to adjust to new locations or demographics more quickly. Picking up shifts can provide you with more time to do this and boost your confidence each time you transition to a new assignment. 


Trusted Nurse Staffing: Helping Travel Nurses Find the Ideal Work-Life Balance for Their Unique Lifestyles

Trusted Nurse Staffing wants to help its nurses get to do all the things they enjoy, and we work hard to meet the needs of our clients. If one of your goals is picking up extra shifts and getting overtime hours, we’ll help you negotiate with your chosen facility — or point you toward one that encourages this.

A career in travel nursing means you have more time to do whatever you love, and if you love picking up extra shifts and padding your paycheck, you should have that opportunity. Use our Pronto app to create your profile and find available jobs now.


travel nurse extra shifts