Healthcare Traveler

Healthcare Traveler Lingo: Terms to Know

healthcare traveler lingoIf you’re new to the world of healthcare traveling, you may not be familiar with all the terms involved. It seems that healthcare travel contracts may have a language of their own. With all the terms involved, it can get a little confusing.

Before you sign your first healthcare travel contract, make sure you have a good understanding of all the terms and conditions. Below is some of the common lingo you should know about healthcare traveling.


Stipend refers to the money you are paid with a travel assignment if you do not take the provided housing. Typically, the staffing agency arranges your housing. It usually involves an apartment or a room at an extended stay hotel. In some cases, you may prefer to arrange housing yourself or stay with a friend. If that is the case, you are paid a stipend to compensate for not taking the housing benefit.

Completion Bonus

A completion bonus is self-explanatory. It is extra money you are given if you finish your travel assignment per your contract. Some agencies may also pay a sign-on bonus, especially if the assignment is hard to fill. If you are given a sign-on bonus, it is often paid out in your first check. Not all travel agencies provide a completion bonus, but it may be something you can negotiate.

Interim Benefits

Interim benefits typically involve insurance coverage in between travel assignments. Usually, when you accept a healthcare travel assignment, your insurance benefits kick in when you start your job. When a contract is over, insurance coverage ends. Some staffing agencies also offer an option in which you can continue your health insurance coverage between assignments for a certain amount of time. Make sure you review how long your benefits continue when your contract is completed since it can vary by agency.

Composite Rates

Although it may not be offered with every assignment, you might be paid a composite rate for assignments that involve 12-hour shifts. Rules for overtime may vary by state, so check with your agency. The way it works is you may be paid one rate for the first eight hours of your shift. After eight hours, you are paid an overtime rate. Usually, the rate is time and a half. After 12 hours, you earn double time. Jobs that include composite rates often result in higher overall wages, so it can be a great assignment perk.

Rapid Response Assignments

Rapid response assignments refer to jobs that need to be filled urgently. This type of assignment often pays more than you typically earn with a standard job. Rapid response contracts may be needed in cases when several workers are needed quickly and unexpectedly, such as in the event of a strike or natural disaster. If you accept a rapid response assignment, expect to jump right in and get to work. Depending on the need, assignments may be shorter than usual travel jobs.  Some jobs may be as short as four weeks.

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