By Elena Barker
As a travel nurse, you’re no stranger to the art of negotiation. That’s because roughly every 13 weeks you’re discussing a new contract for a new assignment. However, no two travel nurse contracts are alike, so it’s always a good idea to thoroughly read through each one and then ask the right questions before you sign on the dotted line. That being said, here are 7 questions every travel nurse should ask during contract negotiations:
While the industry standard length of a travel nurse assignment is 13 weeks, this is not always the case. To make sure there are no surprises, you should confirm with your recruiter and the facility how long the assignment will be. It’s also a great idea to ask about the possibility of a contract extension. If the facility in question does offer extensions, and you like your assignment, staying on could be an easy “second” assignment for you. You can read more about contract extensions here.
This is critical because if you have questions leading up to your start date, and/or issues after your contract starts, you’ll want to know whom to call for help.
Most staffing agencies will reimburse you for the state licensures you need to practice nursing in different states. However, you’ll want to know when and how you can expect those reimbursements to hit your bank account. Again, asking these questions now can help you avoid any potential surprises while on assignment.
Depending on which staffing company you work for, you can take a housing stipend or ask the company to find housing for you. There are pros and cons to both housing routes. However, if you decide to take the stipend—and many travel nurses do—then you need to know how much the stipend will be, and what that process looks like. For example, will your stipends be prorated per shift? The idea is to make housing as stress-free as possible for yourself.
Health, dental, and vision coverage are pretty standard these days, and many healthcare companies offer day-one coverage. Great news! Just make sure you understand what “day-one” means. Is it day-one of your contract or is it day-one on the day you sign?
While benefits and stipends are great perks, your pay package is just as important. Don’t be afraid to ask your recruiter for a pay package breakdown. In that breakdown, you’ll want to know if your pay package is based on a 36-hours contract or a 48-hours contract. Also, remember to ask your recruiter if your pay quote is a gross or take-home amount.
Again, the idea behind this question is to make sure both you and your potential new facility are on the same page. Some travel nurses enjoy the learning experiences that floating to another nursing unit can provide, while others are uncomfortable with these types of requests. No matter where you are on this spectrum, be sure to get your preferences written into your contract.
At PPR, we’re here to help you fulfill both your personal and professional goals, whatever they are. If you have questions about starting your travel nursing career, we’d love to hear from you! Contact us today!