Posts Tagged ‘nursing contracts’

Negotiating a Travel Nursing Contract

Posted in Travel Nursing, Uncategorized

Negotiating a Travel Nursing Contract

There are a few essential points to consider about travel nursing contracts. When interviewing a potential travel nursing agency, ask for a blank contract to get a feel for the things they typically include and negotiate.

Next, ALWAYS read each contract before you sign it. Don’t ever assume they are all the same, no matter how long you’ve been with this agency. Know what you’re agreeing to. So take a few minutes of quiet time to read it through carefully.

Before you ever accept an assignment, be sure you understand exactly what the assignment is. What type/size hospital is it? Which unit will you be assigned to? Who’s the nurse manager? What shift you’re expected to work; how many days/hours, which holidays, weekends, etc. What kind of orientation is included? What’s the dress code? Do you need scrubs, uniforms, or any special equipment? Will you be expected to draw your own labs? What is the float policy? What are the nurse-to-patient ratios? How many RNs, LPNs, and CNAs or unlicensed assistants will you be working with?

What is the actual pay? Are you salaried or hourly? What benefits are included and when do they start? What is the cost? Do they cover your family? What about liability insurance? Who pays for your travel expenses? Who arranges your itinerary? Can you work more hours?

Then you’ll need to do some research about the city and the hospital. What’s the population? What’s the median: age, level of education and income? What do local nurses make? What’s the cost of living? What’s the crime rate in this community? What kind of weather conditions can you expect?

You’ll also want to know all the details of the housing arrangements. Sometimes you’ll have a small apartment. Will it be furnished? Sometimes it will be an extended stay residence hotel. Sometimes it will be a standard motel or hotel room. Is there a per diem for meals? Will you have a kitchen and is it equipped? Are you expected to have a roommate? Who actually pays for this? Are you expected to pay and be reimbursed? What amenities are available or nearby? Will you have a rental car? What about security issues? Where do you park? Is it a secure or gated building or community?

Other considerations include any family or pets you may have and expect to accompany you on this assignment. Make sure the agency knows about them and makes necessary arrangements. You don’t want to find yourself in a strange city with your Labrador only to find out you’re not allowed to have him in your new apartment or hotel.

Discuss your own arrangements that may save the travel company money. Occasionally, you may have some of your own plans in a location. You may have a relative to stay with and don’t need housing. Sometimes your spouse carries the medical/dental benefits and you don’t need those. Perhaps you have an RV and won’t need housing, but will need RV hookups which cost considerably less than an apartment or hotel room. You should receive a stipend or an increase in your salary or hourly wages to cover these cost savings to the travel agency.

Make a list of all the things you need want and expect in your travel assignment and make sure they are all included in the contract. Don’t rely on an oral agreement.

Don’t ever accept an assignment until you understand it fully and are seriously ready to live up to the agreement. Hospitals depend on these agencies to provide quality nurses. The agencies depend on the nurses to fulfill their obligations. Life happens and there will be times when a travel nurse has to back out of a commitment, but these should be rare.

By Kathy Quan RN BSN

Kathy is the author of The Everything New Nurse Book, and author/owner of