What to do When Your Travel Nursing Contract Gets Cut Short
Travel nursing is a lucrative business, it pays well and you can have a lot of fun. Typical contracts are anywhere from 8 to 13 weeks with the option to extend after each contract. We are hearing a lot of nurses getting canceled mid-contract or even during their first shift. We’re going to provide some insight on how to make your cancelation a little bit manageable.
- Know how long you want to stay in one location
- Don’t sign a long term lease
- 2 week grace period
- Look for jobs before the contract expires
- Be financially smart
- Have profiles with multiple agencies
Know how long you want to stay in one location
The most efficient and effective way to get the most out of a travel nursing run is to stay at a place for multiple contracts. Why? Because when you extend your contract it is usually accompanied by a pay increase. Hospitals do this because you’ve already completed orientation and it is more cost-effective to keep a nurse than train a new one.
Another reason it is a good idea to know how long you want to stay is that your recruiter can keep looking for jobs in the area. If your recruiter knows you want to stay in a location longer then they will keep looking at contracts. This works out good when you do get canceled mid-assignment, it will be easier for you to find a job on shorter notice.
During your contract let your recruiter and the manager know you want to extend your contract once it’s up that way they don’t have to look for a nurse that may fill a future position and it may avoid you being cut because they know you are willing to commit longer.
Don’t sign a long-term lease
One mistake nurses make is signing a long-term lease. They go in thinking they’ll be in one location for a year, that isn’t always the case. If you really want to be somewhere for a year we’d recommend letting your recruiter know and the facility so they can potentially work on it with you. A facility might be able to keep renewing your contract but let them know ahead of time.
We don’t recommend signing such a long-term lease because things change very quickly. You might be better off doing a 3-month lease and renewing it each time. You might not even like the facility or the location.
You can lose a lot of money by breaking the lease agreement, the money you could have even saved by signing short-term leases.
Make sure your contract has a 2-week grace period
Look through your contract and if it doesn’t have a clause stating that you’ll get a 2-week notice before your cut, make sure you get one. This way you at least have 2 weeks to find another job. Some places don’t offer 2-week notice but I would still push for one because you never know what can happen. Getting cut short is stressful and you need ample time to make adjustments.
Look for other jobs before your contract ends
Your contract has an end date, have your recruiter already start lining you up with jobs as soon as they can. This way if you get cut you already have something lined up and they may even be able to take you on early. You should always have a job lined up at least a month before your contract expires, that way you aren’t chasing time and working yourself up about job security. Travel nursing jobs do have a specific start date but that can always be worked around, if your applying for jobs a month out and you get cut 2 weeks early the next facility might be able to hire you earlier.
Be financially smart
Just because you can afford a nicer place because you have a bigger income coming in doesn’t mean you should take it. Nursing is a stable career but you should still be prepared for the worst. Getting cut puts you in a financial hole and it’s a lot harder to get out if you always live in luxury. Make sure to have an emergency fund that covers at least 1 month of travel nursing expenses, this is different than your standard emergency fund which should cover about 3 months worth of bills.
Work with multiple agencies
Different agencies have different locations and contracts. Even if you enjoy working with 1 keep your foot in the door of others. It’s a lot easier to find a quick contract after you get canceled when you work with multiple agencies because you’ll have more offers. It is common for nurses to find a home with 1 agency but don’t get stuck in that one forever because there will be times where you’ll have to reach out to others, and when you already have your paperwork filled out it makes for a smoother process.