One of the perks of being a travel nurse is getting to travel the world.
But what happens when you love a nursing assignment so much you decide you’d like to extend the date of your contract?
You might be wondering, “How long do travel nurses stay in one place?”
Can contracts only be one length? Can you work in one facility more than once or for a longer term? Can you extend your contract if you love where you’re working?
We’ll fill you in on the answers to those questions plus everything you need to know about travel nurse contract extensions, stipend and tax implications, and more so you can make the decision that is right for you.
Table of Contents
- How Long Are Travel Nurse Contracts?
- 4 Reasons You May Want To Extend Your Travel Nurse Contract
- FAQs About the Length of Travel Nurse Assignments
- Get Started On Your Travel Nurse Assignments Today With Trusted Nurse Staffing
How Long Are Travel Nurse Contracts?
The length of a travel nursing assignment can vary depending on the type of assignment you apply for and what contract lengths your travel nursing agency offers.
A travel nurse assignment can be as short as six or eight weeks or as long as a year, but 13-week positions are the most common.
Trusted Nurse Staffing works with nurses and facilities to find the assignment length that works best for everyone involved. Once you sign up with our Pronto app, you can get key information pulled from thousands of available jobs and pick the travel nursing positions that are just right for you.
With our services, you can choose a contract that is six, eight, or 13 weeks long. If you decide you’d like to stay in one location a little longer, our team can help you extend your contract.
Why Is the Typical Travel Nursing Assignment 13 Weeks Long?
There are many possible reasons 13 has become the “magic number” for a travel nursing assignment length.
One big reason is that, as the New York Times reported, the past few decades have seen hospitals following a staffing model to match the number of occupied beds. Since this number constantly changes, flexibility is required.
Enter travel nurses. Over time, as they were being integrated into these staffing ratios, the 13-week contract became popular.
Other suggested reasons for this contract length being the most common include:
- It helps fill positions as new permanent staff members complete orientation.
- It allows travel nurses to cover for full-time staff members taking advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
- It matches many standard apartment contracts.
- It’s long enough for travel nurses to become familiar with the area and visit desired destinations.
- It’s long enough to pick up new skills or learn more about a specialty.
- It’s short enough to allow nurses to move on to a new adventure.
4 Reasons You May Want To Extend Your Travel Nurse Contract
One of the best parts of extending a travel nurse contract is all the “nos” that come along with it.
We’re talking about no:
- Application to fill out
- Phone interview
- Orientation at a new facility
- House hunting
- Getting acclimated to a new city; or
- Trying to make new friends
It is also convenient for the travel nurse agency and the nursing facility since they will be able to avoid extra paperwork and additional staff needed for orientation.
As every travel nurse knows, not every location or position pays the same.
If you are hoping to pay off some school loans or pad your bank account, seeking an extension in a high-paying position is a great option. You may even be able to extend your contract to 52 weeks and really bank some cash!
Some of the highest-paying travel nurse positions and their salaries include:
- NICU nurse: $2,426 per week
- PACU nurse: $2,520 per week
- Oncology nurse: $2,438 per week
- ICU nurse: $2,426
Maybe you feel like the hospital or clinic you are working in is the perfect fit for you.
The longer you stay, the more familiar you may become with the hospital and its policies/procedures. You may have even cultivated the ideal working relationship with the staff or have always wanted a position in this specialty, and the hours are exactly what you had hoped for.
If you feel at home in your current facility, why not stay a little longer?
Whether it’s the view of the mountains, the salty scent of the sea, or the energy of city life, location is everything.
You might still have a bucket list of places you’re hoping to explore. Or maybe you would like to stick around for a local festival or experience a different season of the year.
Loving your current location is a great reason to look into a travel nurse contract extension.
FAQs About the Length of Travel Nurse Assignments
How Do You Extend a Travel Nursing Contract?
Communication is the key.
If you’re interested in extending your travel nursing assignment, reach out to your Travel Nurse Staffing recruiter three to four weeks before your contract’s end date.
Trusted Nurse Staffing takes care of the rest.
Your recruiter will get in touch with your current facility to inquire about the possibility of extending your assignment. If the facility okays an extension, you will be able to stay on for as long as they agree to extend your contract.
The earlier you can communicate with your recruiter, the better chance you’ll have of landing a contract extension. Our recruiters can be available for you 24/7 to answer any questions and help you meet all your contract needs.
Can a Travel Nurse Choose to Stay in One Place Even After Their Contract Is Over?
Your current travel nursing assignment has been so fulfilling, and you’re wondering, “How long can a travel nurse stay in one place?”
Is there a possibility of extending your contract?
Great news. As long as your current facility agrees, the answer is yes.
You will simply need to get in touch with your Trusted Nurse Staffing recruiter and they’ll work out all the details.
Since opportunities for contract extensions aren’t always a possibility, you should contact your recruiter as soon as possible so they can get the ball rolling on your behalf.
If You Choose Not To Extend Your Contract but Would Like to Return to a Healthcare Facility as a Travel Nurse in the Future, Is That Possible?
It sure is.
Have you loved your work at your current facility, formed good relationships with the staff, and done exemplary work during your contract assignment? If so, they’ll be happy to have you back when Trusted Nurse Staffing mentions your name again.
How Long Can a Travel Nurse Work in One State?
A travel nurse may work in one state for as long as they like.
However, for tax purposes, they will want to move to a different facility to avoid spending more than 12 months working in the same location in any consecutive 24-month period.
Can a Travel Nurse Stay in the Same Place for Too Long?
Yes, working in one place for longer than a year means you will lose your stipends and increase your taxes.
From the viewpoint of the IRS, travel nurses receive reimbursement due to duplicate expenses. So if you stay in one place for more than a year, the IRS assumes you have moved there and will start taxing you on both your permanent and travel locations.
Can I Take Time Off Between Travel Nurse Assignments?
Perhaps you’re really enjoying staying in one location but are coming close to your one-year mark. You don’t want to lose your stipends and tax benefits, but you’d like to stick around for a while.
Feel free to take some downtime between travel nurse assignments and enjoy a vacation before you decide where you’re headed next.
Taking time off between travel nurse assignments is also beneficial if you would like to:
- Spend more time with friends and family
- Plan a wedding
- Go back to school
- And more
Does Staying In One Place as a Travel Nurse Affect Your Stipends?
It does, but only after 12 months.
A travel nurse who remains in the same location for more than 12 months will lose their stipends.
Why is this?
For a travel nurse to maintain non-taxed stipends, they must be viewed by the IRS as a temporary employee. The IRS defines temporary employees as, “time-limited appointment to a competitive service position for a specific period not to exceed one year.”
Losing your temporary employee state could result in your tax home shifting. If you tax home shifts, then your stipends lose their tax-free status.
Does Extending a Travel Nursing Contract Impact Your Taxes?
In the words of Albert Einstein, “The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.”
While this may be the case, the following information should make travel nursing taxes a bit easier to understand.
The IRS has set specific guidelines for those temporarily traveling away from home. However, they have not created hard-and-fast rules for the traveling healthcare industry due to the unusual scenarios found in this line of work.
We highly recommend that you seek advice from a certified tax professional to maintain tax compliance as a travel nurse.
You will want to ask them several questions to ensure that they are familiar with:
- Temporary travel nurse assignments
- Travel taxation rules
- Multi-state taxation; and
- Your specific situation
In the meantime, here are some of the basic things you will want to know about travel nursing contracts and income taxes.
What Tax Form Do Travel Nurses Fill Out?
Travel nurses may be required to file a 1099 or a W-2, it just depends on whether the travel nurse agency considers travel nurses as employees of the agency or contractors.
As a travel nurse, you can choose to file your taxes on your own or through a tax accountant. Trusted Nurse Staffing encourages its nurses to choose a trusted tax representative to help them navigate taxes as a travel nurse.
Be sure to keep the following documents to help make filing your taxes as a travel nurse easier:
- Mileage log
- Copies of your travel contracts
- Expense receipts for:
- Continuing education expenses
A tax specialist will be able to tell you what you may use for tax breaks like credits and deductions.
How To Create a Tax Home To Help With Tax Relief
A tax home is defined by the IRS as “the entire city or general area in which your business or work is located, regardless of where you maintain your family home.”
To prove your tax home you will need to show that you:
- Perform a portion of your business near your home
- Use your home for lodging while you are doing business in the area
- Incur living expenses such as rent, mortgage, and utilities at that home
This means your tax home refers less to where you call home and is more about where you work.
Here is the bottom line — If your tax home changes, you will be required to pay taxes on any and all tax-free reimbursements you collected for the entire time you lived there.
And since this occurs retroactively, you could wind up with a huge unexpected expense.
This is why it’s a big deal for travel nurses to remember they need to have a permanent tax home to continue to enjoy the benefits of the untaxed portion of their income.
Do Travel Nurses Have To File a Tax Return in Each State They Work In?
Yes, travel nurses must file a tax return in each state they work in.
You will also want to claim tax credits on your home state tax return, to avoid being taxed twice. You should ensure that the available tax credits you take on your home state income tax return are equal to the tax credits you take in the other states. If they are not, you could potentially be double-taxed.
How To Deal With Tax Compliance Questions
Taxes are not something to mess around with.
Your Trusted Nurse Staffing recruiter can help answer your compliance questions.
Ultimately, however, you must find an experienced tax accountant who understands the nuances of travel nurse contracts and your specific tax situation.
A tax professional will be able to guide you through the tax process to get the best return and avoid potential tax penalties.
Is There a Minimum Number of Contracts You Must Accept as a Travel Nurse?
There is no set minimum number of contracts a travel nurse has to work. Take as many as you can fit in or stay an entire year in each location to see how you like it.
Trusted Nurse Staffing helps travel nurses find as many contracts as they would like in a year. Simply use Pronto to view a variety of travel nursing assignments across the nation. Sign up and get started today.
Get Started On Your Travel Nurse Assignments Today With Trusted Nurse Staffing
Whether you are looking to get started on your first travel nurse assignment or are hoping to extend the one you currently have, Trusted Nurse Staffing is here for you.
Our goal is to help you reach YOUR goals, both personal and professional.
Trusted Nurse Staffing offers top pay rates and the best benefits packages in the industry.
Use the Pronto app to fill in your search terms and find the travel nurse assignment of your dreams. Your adventure begins with Trusted Nurse Staffing.