By July 27, 2012 3 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: My contract was cancelled, now what?


they cancelled my travel nursing contract- travel nursing blogs.comAsk a Travel Nurse Question:

I have just had my first travel assignment with a company called AMN Healthcare; 8 weeks into the assignment, my contract was cancelled. I have very limited experience as a travel nurse and I am very frightened about what will happen to me now. I did not get much information except that they did not think that it was a good fit; they were upset that I was pushing back to get dates off that I had negotiated and included in my contract that they agreed to before hand. I had to change airline flights in order to try and be a team player and they still cancelled my contract. What do I need to be concerned about in terms of outstanding expenses to me? Do I have any recourse since my initial contract was broken when they failed to give me the dates off that were agreed to in the original contract?

Thanks; I appreciate your expertise.

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

I am sorry that your first experience as a traveler ended with a canceled contract. They do not occur often, but they can happen. In over fifteen years as a traveler, I have had the unfortunate experience of having two contracts canceled on me for what were seemingly personal differences.

I always tell nurses that the first thing they should do in the event of a cancellation is consult their contract. What does it say regarding cancellations? From what you explained to me, it does not appear as if the facility has “cause” to fire you, but you need to ask your travel company what they officially list as the reason for dismissal.

Not having “cause” might net AMH some money as penalty clauses are becoming more frequent in contracts between the travel companies and the facilities. However, I have never heard of any of this money being passed on to the traveler. It simply protects the company from facilities canceling travelers without merit.

As far as outstanding expenses, that really depends on your company and your contract. Some travel companies have it written into their contract that the traveler could be responsible for “fees or expenses” when the contract is canceled with cause, but some offer no protection and can leave the traveler on the line for expenses even if the facility does not show cause. That is why I always express to travelers the importance of reading their entire contract and understanding what can happen in the instance of cancellation. If I am going to take an assignment thousands of miles from home and the contract states that I will be charged housing and other fees in any event of a cancellation (where no cause is needed), I will decline the contract; it just offers me NO protection whatsoever.

Unfortunately, the contract that was dissolved was between you and your travel company. The hospital had a contract that they broke with your travel company. This is one of the industry’s dirty little injustices. The hospitals isolate themselves legally from the traveler because they are contracting with the travel company. If you were to bring action against anyone, it would be against your travel company and it’s very likely that your contract with them states that it may be dissolved at any time. It’s one horrible aspect of travel nursing that nurses have come to accept.

Talk to your recruiter and see what your next move might be. If they can find you another assignment in that area, there is a possibility that you can jump into another contract and not even have to move from your housing (this happened to me on my first cancellation). See what options you have and if you are willing to take another contract with the company right away, it could also minimize the fees they will impose.

If you are with other companies, you might also try them to see if they have assignments in the area. I wanted to stay in L.A., but my travel company had no positions available. I called another company I was with (coincidentally, AMH) and they were able to find me an assignment in the area and they even took over my lease from my previous company so that I didn’t even have to move.

If you need some contacts at other companies, please email me at and I can give you a few names you can call immediately to see if they can get you another quick assignment.

If you would, please do the readers of this website a favor and let us know what happens. So often, we read about the problems encountered on the road, but never really know the full outcome.

I hope this helps and I am sorry that you had to start your travel career in this way.



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.

3 Comments on "Ask a Travel Nurse: My contract was cancelled, now what?"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. luv says:

    On my first contract, I was scapegoated during a narcotic discrepancy. That I was not present for. 10 vails of 10 mg of dilaudid. What Idiot would take that? The new manager’s friend was wotking that day and wanting a contract.

    My contract was cancelled. Not charges, no discipline, just cancelled. I submitted to lie detector and drug testing asap (before the halflife would be gone). He said, “no we will just do our internal process”. That was it. I know now don’t leave the unit until the count its finished and correct.

    That was in 1999, every contract I every have had, accept for 1, has been cancelled. Registered with several companies over time, same results. I felt like it was haunting. I said, I would just go sell shoes now.

    I have a BSN and 6 specialties. I still travel and do per diem. How do you protect yourself?

  2. David says:

    I would honestly have to know specifics regarding those contracts. Something doesn’t add up. I’ve been traveling for close to twenty years now and only had two cancelled contracts.

    What contract does your travel company sign with the facilities that allows them to do this? Most companies will work penalty clauses into their contracts with the hospitals should they cancel. Do the companies you work with do this?

    You can also have a heart to heart with your recruiter on which facilities have a habit of doing this. I can’t believe that some of these facilities do not have a reputation for doing this if it is happening to you that frequently.

    Had to say exactly without knowing specifics.


  3. Kelli says:

    I just had a contract cancelled too, and I am devastated. Even though it was a difficult unit to work and nurses leave that unit all the time (which I didn’t realize until I got there), I was in it for the thirteen weeks and did my best to make it work. First contract ever cancelled in 5 years of travel nursing. How do you learn of such facilities ahead of time and before you take the contract? Actually I think it is a blessing in disguise…this facility expects a nurse to insert an NGT and start tube feeding without doing an xray to confirm placement. Also they keep pressure on the suction all the way up the patients trachea. They think it is ok to scream at travel nurses in front of patients and family. They criticized my charting, accused me of giving a patient a cold bath, and then said it was a bad fit. Oh, and that they were so disappointed. Wah!! Well how do they think I feel? What a terrible experience! But I would rather have a contract terminated than be getting ready for a court date because the NGT placement was not confirmed and the patients lungs got filled with tube feeding. We were taught perseverence in nursing school for a reason which would be these types of situations. Not sure what else to do at this point but hang tough and search for another travel company. I suspect my current travel company is not too anxious to find me another travel job with this on my work record.

Post a Comment