There’s a lot of fun to be had in the nomadic lifestyle of travel nursing. It can be exhilarating to pack your suitcases and head to a new destination every 13 weeks. But what if you’re loving your current facility, or just need extra time before jumping on the road again? Securing an extension for your current travel healthcare contract can keep you out and about while still giving you a breather, and it’s mutually beneficial for both you and your healthcare staffing agency. Check out some of the things you should consider when debating a travel nursing contract extension, and why it could be a good next move for you on your journey.
Benefits of a Travel Nursing Contract Extension:
Extending your contract is advantageous to you, your staffing agency, and the facility. There are a lot fewer unknowns when extending a travel contract. You can skip packing up the car and relocating because you are already established at your current destination. Less time and effort will be spent in all aspects of your traditional travel RN or LPN job search, as you will already be fully credentialed and fingerprinted, trained for the current position, and have housing. All that’s left for you to do is chat with your leadership and your recruiter, review the contract extension, and keep on working!
Your bank account will also benefit by not incurring the added expenses of moving to a new location. You will also avoid time off without pay like most travel nurses do between contracts. It is also quite common for travel nursing contract extensions to be more flexible regarding the length of the contract. There are several reasons for this. First, because you’re already oriented and acclimated to the unit, the hospital recognizes that 100% of your time will be productive. Moreover, they understand that bringing on new people is always more expensive, so they’d like to keep experienced people on the schedule for longer periods if they have the need.
When to Start Inquiring About a Travel Nursing Contract Extension:
Most agencies and recruiters will tell you that discussing extensions shouldn’t be done until 4 to 5 weeks before the contract is scheduled to come to an end. This advice is based on the widely held belief that hospitals won’t consider an extension until 4 to 5 weeks before the current contract ends. However, if you’re passionate about staying at that facility, it never hurts to inquire sooner. Letting your recruiter know your interest in staying on the staff will go a long way in getting the ball rolling for an extension.
Factors to Consider When Debating a Travel Nursing Contract Extension:
- Do you like working at the facility?
- Is the work-load manageable?
- Do you like your coworkers?
- Are there still things that you want to explore/do in the local area?
- Do you have any family or other obligations that will require you to be in a different area?
- Are there upcoming holidays that would affect a possible extension?
Negotiating the Contract Extension:
There are costs that occur at the start of a contract that aren’t valid on a travel nursing contract extension. These additional costs can add up to money in your pocket for an extension. There are a few items that you can and should consider when negotiating an extension:
- Flight home (travel stipends)
- Housing changes
- Length of extension
Keep in mind that it is most likely that the bill rate will be the same for the extension contract as it was for the original contract. This may not be true if the first contract was offered at a crisis rate and the extension is offered at the lower standard rate, but that is rarely the case.
Many amazing nursing journeys begin with a contract extension. Extending your contract is a great way to build your rapport with a facility and expand your skills. Considering starting your travel nursing career? Fill out an application below!