Understanding Travel Nurse Per Diem Rates

Health Carousel Travel Nursing
February 8, 2013
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A common question among travelers is how do agencies come up with my travel nurse per diems. Well, believe it or not, there is a science (and Federal regulations) behind these rates.


Many, but not all, travelers, on assignment qualify for a per diem for meals & Incidentals and housing (if your agency is not paying the bill directly). The General Services Administration (GSA) establishes per diem rates for destinations within the Continental United States (CONUS) and this system was initially used for Federal government employees but its use has expanded widely and is now the standard rates allowable for all types of non-government employees including healthcare travelers.

Your recruiter and our credentialing specialists will help you determine if you qualify for per diems and you will be required to complete a worksheet and attest to the fact that you do in fact qualify or not.


CONUS per diems can be either for non-standard and standard CONUS locations. Non-standard areas (NSAs) are frequently traveled by the federal community and are reviewed on an annual basis. Standard CONUS locations are less frequently traveled by the federal community and are not specifically listed on our web site. Currently, the standard CONUS per diem rate is $77 for lodging, $46 for meals and incidental expenses. You can look up an area and determine the maximum per diem allowable online at  the U.S. General Services Administration website.


Health Carousel Travel Nursing takes every step possible to comply with all Federal regulations regarding pay and per diems. This protects you personally and our organization as well. In the past healthcare travel agencies have provided extremely high per diems coupled with drastically low hour pay rates. This strategy has resulted in legal issues for the companies offending the regulations and exposes the healthcare traveler to tax audit and fines as well. As an example RNs should not be paid $12 per hour and be paid more than the CONUS rates for the are in which their assignment is located. This strategy is sometimes used to win travelers over to an assignment but can have dire results in the end. Traveler beware!

Rest assured Health Carousel Travel Nursing follows all the guidelines and will not put your long-term financial stability at risk for short term, tax-free gains.

Health Carousel Travel Nursing

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