By August 4, 2010 1 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: What can I do ahead of time in case my contract is cancelled?

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I have posted a few times before on things you might be able to do should you be in the unfortunate situation of having a travel contract canceled. Although this situation is far from the norm (it has happened to me twice in over 15 years of travel), it can have some pretty dire consequences and this week we’ll show how to prepare for the worst.

worried travel nurseFirst, I want to stress that no one should go into a contract feeling as if it could be terminated at any second. The hospitals have a staffing shortage and they have a staffing need. That is why you are there. Plus, if a hospital canceled contracts on a routine basis, not only would word of mouth get out amongst travelers, but word of mouth would get out between the travel companies. I have actually had recruiters tell me of positions in a certain hospital and tell me they “could” submit me if I wanted, but would also caution me about certain unfavorable actions the hospital might have taken in the past.

Let’s face it, the hospital does not want the reputation of canceling contracts, but still, it does happen. When it does, you must be prepared. I’m not going to rehash everything I have written before, but here is a quick list with a few new things to think about:

 Talk to anyone who has had a contract canceled; it was not a good time in their life. But, with a little forethought, some of the devastation can be managed.

1.  Have some cash on hand- This is something you should consider before ever starting an assignment. Do not put yourself in the position where a week or two without pay could totally cripple you financially. Sure, it’s hard for each of us to store away for a rainy day. However, let’s not kid ourselves about the profession of travel nursing. Contracts do get canceled and if you are not prepared monetarily, it can have serious consequences.

2.  Make sure you are with a company you can trust- Honestly, this should go without saying. If you constantly have trouble getting a hold of your recruiter on good days, how responsive do you think they’ll be when things go south?! Travel with someone responsive to your concerns and someone who handles “the little things” in a timely manner. Because again, if they can’t get the little things taken care of……

3.  Have a few other travel companies in your back pocket- If you’ve read any of my blogs, you know that I advise being on file with at least a few different travel companies. When I was in California, I loved the housing I was in. I wanted to stay and work in the area, but my travel nursing company couldn’t find me another assignment. I called another agency (with which I was already on file) and not only did they find me an assignment, but they took over the apartment lease from the other company and I switched companies and assignments and never had to move a thing.

If you have a contract canceled, call your recruiter immediately and see if they can get you another assignment in the area. If not, call another company and see what they can do. If they can get you another assignment in the same area, you might not even need to move.

4. Consider letting your company find your housing- In both of my contract cancellations, I was in company arranged housing. If I were not, I would have been out my deposit and possibly even be held to my lease. In both contract cancellations, I paid nothing out of pocket for any housing consequences.

5. Finally, have a good network of people to rely on- Whether it be needing a place to stay for a bit when you get home, or just having someone to talk to about all the chaos, it helps to have friends and family that you can rely on during tough times.

Talk to anyone who has had a contract cancelled; it was not a good time in their life. But, with a little forethought, some of the devastation can be managed.

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About the Author:

Hello everyone. I’m a travel nurse originally from Ohio who graduated in 1993 from Mount Carmel School of Nursing in Columbus. I completed a critical care fellowship at Riverside Methodist Hospital in 1994 and started traveling in that specialty a year later. My first travel assignment was in Maui and since that time I have completed close to 40 different contracts in various states with multiple travel companies. I am the author of Travel Nurse’s Bible (A Guide to Everything on Travel Nursing), in addition to my writings here and in the pages of Travel Nursing publications such as Healthcare Traveler Magazine and American Nurse Today. I am presently on assignment in Phoenix, AZ and travel anywhere from six to eleven months of the year.

1 Comment on "Ask a Travel Nurse: What can I do ahead of time in case my contract is cancelled?"

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  1. I have been traveling for about 3 years I find that my age 56 has really been crippling my jobs as a traveler. Seems the younger nurses want to report you all the time and get you cancelled. Maybe jealousy, I can’t say I have really enjoyed many contracts been cancelled 3 times and I have cancelled 2 contracts not what I thought it was going to be at all. Seems travelers have no say in hospitals working say one negative thing next day your gone. Not really sure why people do this I financially no better off. In between jobs looking for places to live no home now. Not sure will do this much longer not really appreciated not even given orientation at most hospitals but expected to work your butt off everyday. Never thanyou for coming or helping just want to get your contract cancelled it seems to me. Very friendly in beginning next few weeks trying to find ways to fire you. Is there a secret to this I don’t know about travel nursing? I am ready to go back to permanent staff anywhere. Sandy

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