Ask 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.