Travel nurses in the United States enjoy the variety and excitement associated with working short-term assignments all around the nation. An average contract duration of 13 weeks allows travel nurses to gain valuable experience while enjoying the adventure of exploring a new city.
With so many diverse work environments, nurses are bound to find an assignment they love.
If you’re passionate about the location, facility, or team of healthcare professionals you’ve been assigned to, you may benefit from exploring a contract extension.
In this article, we’ll share practical tips for extending travel nurse contracts and address some of the most common questions regarding contract extensions.
Table of Contents
- Is It Possible To Extend a Travel Nurse Contract?
- Benefits of Extending Travel Nurse Contracts
- 7 Tips for Extending Travel Nurse Contracts
- FAQs About Extending Travel Nurse Contracts
- Trusted Nurse Staffing: Going To Bat for You To Negotiate the Best Travel Nurse Contract Extension Terms
Is It Possible To Extend a Travel Nurse Contract?
Yes, extending your travel nurse contract is possible, and the process may be more straightforward than you think.
Contract extensions allow nurses to remain on an assignment they love and skip searching for the next opportunity.
In the United States, travel nurse contracts are typically 13 weeks in duration. With every new assignment comes the inevitable process of interviewing, moving cities, and completing onboarding and orientation for a new facility.
If you love your current assignment and prefer not to deal with the hassle of beginning a new contract, your recruiter can help you understand your options and act as a facilitator between you and the hospital during potential negotiations.
At Trusted Nurse Staffing, our recruiters are dedicated to helping you at every step in your journey as a travel nurse — from securing a contract to extending it.
Ready to get started with Trusted Nurse Staffing?
Benefits of Extending Travel Nurse Contracts
- Extensions offer more stability – As contract workers, travel nurses are often in a constant cycle of interviewing, moving to a new city, onboarding, completing a 13-week-long assignment, and repeating the process for the next job. Securing a contract extension for a job you enjoy can offer a welcome change of pace for some. It allows nurses to maintain stability while working in an enriching environment.
- You will already be familiar with the facility and your coworkers – After you’ve completed the duration of your initial contract, you’ve likely found yourself familiar with the ebb and flow of the building and have a firm grasp on facility protocols. In addition, you’ve built up a rapport with your coworkers and understand how they typically operate.
- You can likely negotiate for higher pay – Contract extensions open the door for negotiating higher compensation, stipends, and better work schedules. Some hospitals looking to retain staff may also offer bonuses to those extending their contracts.
- You can choose the length of your extension – While your initial contract may have been set for the standard 13-week duration, you can negotiate for an extension that works around your schedule. The time frame can be as short or as long as you would like. Some extensions can be as short as two to three weeks, while others may be for up to 26 weeks.
- Time-off can be scheduled before the extension begins – In the chaos of traveling for work, it’s sometimes necessary to take a vacation or visit home between assignments. Recruiters and unit managers can often accommodate important time-off dates.
- It makes you look more desirable – Securing a contract extension shows future employers that your work ethic and job performance were impressive enough to keep you around.
7 Tips for Extending Travel Nurse Contracts
#1: Review the Details of Your Current Contract
Each new assignment comes with a new contract detailing unique compensation, benefits, assignment details, and responsibilities. Your current contract may also include higher compensation and benefits for extensions as an incentive. Take note of pertinent details in your current contract before proceeding with extension and negotiation.
If you need some guidance, remember that your recruiter is always there to help you understand the terms of your contract and identify potential opportunities.
#2: Be Aware of Time Constraints and Tax Implications
Travel nurses often have the option of extending their contracts repeatedly but should be aware of the potential loss of benefits associated with extended employment.
Once you’ve remained on a work assignment for 12 months beyond the original contract start date, you will no longer be considered a “temporary” resident by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The IRS’s one-year limit rule is based on cumulative time spent on a work assignment, so taking time off between extensions will not affect the chances of losing your temporary tax status.
#3: Know the Terms of Your Contract Regarding Extensions
Travel nurse contracts can often include policies regarding contract extensions that help you set realistic expectations.
Contract extensions help healthcare facilities save money on onboarding costs since they will not have to replace you with a new candidate. Because of this, your original contract may offer predetermined benefits for extension, such as increased compensation, stipends, or bonuses. The initial agreement may also detail extension deadlines and terms of negotiation.
Your recruiter can help you understand the terms of your contract and what opportunities may be available to you.
#4: Think About Job Satisfaction
A 2023 study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that toxic or unsupportive workplaces had a strong association with diminished psychological well-being.
Meanwhile, engagement in meaningful work in a respectful environment improved the overall psychological well-being of the employees surveyed.
The link between job satisfaction and overall happiness should always be considered when facing a decision regarding your employment.
Before deciding whether to extend your travel nurse contract, ask yourself:
Do you like the job you’ve been doing enough to continue doing it?
#5: Research the Possibility of Extending Your Housing Arrangements
Sometimes, extending your lease to cover housing for the duration of your contract extension may not be possible.
Be sure to take this into account before making a decision. It is generally recommended that you ensure adequate housing before your extension is approved.
#6: Consider Location and Social Aspects
While some may prefer to spend their free time on the beaches of Florida, others may opt for a location nestled in the mountains. An area’s landscape, activities, and atmosphere may inspire exploration you couldn’t accomplish during your initial contract duration.
Luckily, the length of contract extensions can be negotiated. Whether you stay for a couple of weeks or months, it’s never a bad idea to make some memories or foster new friendships in a city you’ve come to love.
#7: Be a Clever Negotiator
When negotiating the terms of your contract, remember that higher salaries and benefits are feasible due to lower onboarding costs incurred by the healthcare facility. Extending your contract and reaching a compromise is more cost-effective than training and certifying a new employee from scratch.
FAQs About Extending Travel Nurse Contracts
Should I Extend My Travel Nurse Contract?
There are many factors that you should take into consideration when deciding whether or not to extend your travel nurse contract.
If you deeply enjoy the facility, staff, and city of your current assignment and would prefer to avoid rushing into another lengthy interview and onboarding process, contact your recruiter to discuss a potential contract extension.
Need more help deciding if a contract extension is right for you? Check out our guide to evaluating the pros and cons of staying with your current assignment.
How Long Can I Extend My Travel Nurse Contract?
One of the benefits of being a travel nurse is receiving tax-free stipends as part of your compensation plan. The stipend can help immensely with living expenses, maximizing your total income.
Unfortunately, the one-year limit rule imposed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) disqualifies travel nurses from receiving further tax-free stipends after a work assignment has been extended beyond 12 months.
The IRS states that a work assignment lasting more than one year is no longer defined as “temporary,” whether or not that time is sequential.
This means that travel nurses can extend their contract up to one year from the original start date before moving on to the next assignment.
When Should I Start Thinking About Extending My Travel Nurse Contract?
It is generally recommended that travel nurses begin exploring options for contract extensions within the first few weeks of the original contract period. If your position will be open after your assignment is complete, expressing early interest in a contract extension may prevent employers from seeking other candidates.
Acting fast on an extension can also give you more flexibility in contract negotiations. It allows nurses to ask for higher compensation, more time off, or shorter extensions.
How Do I Extend My Travel Nurse Contract?
If your position is in high demand or the hospital is looking to save on onboarding costs, they may contact you directly about the possibility of a contract extension.
Otherwise, you can begin the process by consulting your unit nurse manager and recruiter.
If you’re ready for a recruiter who will work to get you the best terms for a contract extension, contact Trusted Nurse Staffing today.
#1: Discuss Extending Your Contract With Your Current Nurse Supervisor
Once you decide that you’d like to extend your travel nurse contract, express your interest to the unit nurse manager. Leadership may need more help in the weeks after your contract ends – even if it’s for a short period. Requesting an extension early can ensure that you are prioritized for upcoming availability.
#2: Communicate With Your Travel Nurse Recruiter
If you’re happy working in a particular location, speak to your recruiter about your interest in extending your travel nurse assignment.
Your recruiter acts as a liaison between you and the healthcare facility. They will help you understand the terms of your current contract and opportunities for extension. They can also provide you with an upfront quote for a contract extension and negotiate the extension terms on your behalf.
#3: Negotiate the Terms of Your Travel Nurse Extension
Just like with new assignments, contract extensions are subject to negotiation.
This gives employees the opportunity to:
- Adjust work schedules
- Reevaluate pay packages and stipends
- Arrange for additional time off
- Adjust the length of the contract extension
Some hospitals looking to retain staff offer bonuses to travel nurses if they extend their contract. Bonuses may be in the form of additional compensation, stipends, or paid time off. Be sure to discuss these extension offers with your recruiter.
When it’s time to negotiate the terms of your contract extension, you may consider conducting preemptive research into standard contract terms and negotiation techniques. Being confident and knowledgeable can make all the difference in achieving higher compensation and benefits for travel nurses.
Trusted Nurse Staffing: Going To Bat for You To Negotiate the Best Travel Nurse Contract Extension Terms
Having a dedicated team of professionals makes all the difference in navigating the world of travel nursing with ease.
At Trusted Nurse Staffing, our experienced recruiters will support you every step of the way – from customizing your resume for the position you want to negotiate and extending your assignments.
When you choose Trusted Nurse Staffing, you’ll receive unparalleled professional services such as:
- Resume customization
- Sign-on bonuses
- High pay rates
- Stipends for travel, housing, and meals
- Flexible contracts
- Full or part-time work
- Referral and completion bonuses
- Dental, health, and vision benefits
- 24/7 access to your recruiter
Contact us to get started today.