What Happens if You Get Sick on a Travel Nurse Assignment? - TNS 987839088534212 [9:30 AM] Katie Iglewski

Coughing. Sneezing. Chills. Fever.

For a travel nurse, these are things nightmares are made of. 

Viruses have a knack for attacking at the worst possible time, and no one ever plans to get sick.  

As travel assignments typically last for a few months, it is certainly not ideal to have to cancel and leave the team without you. Also, being sick in a foreign city is not at all comforting.

What do you do if you get sick on an assignment? We have gathered some tips to help you prepare and know what to do in case of illness.

Keep reading because, in this article, you will learn: 

  • What happens if you get sick while on assignment
  • Steps to take if you get sick 
  • Considerations to make before missing a shift
  • And much more


what happens if i get sick on travel nursing assignment


Table of Contents



Can Travel Nurses Call Out Sick? 

Can a travel nurse call out sick? 

Just like any other employee, travel nurses can call in sick; however, there are a few things to keep in mind: 

  • Travel nurses usually have a limited number of vacation days
  • Multiple hospitals and patients may be impacted; and
  • There is a risk of your contract not being renewed


What Happens if You Get Sick on a Travel Nurse Assignment? 

At some point in their career, most nurses have had to deal with illness. Even though hygienic practices are in place, it’s still very easy to catch a cold or the flu. 

This can be even more problematic for travel nurses — it means missing shifts. 

If you get sick and miss a shift, you can usually make it up the following week or the week after. Depending on your availability and the unit’s needs, your supervisor can schedule you for a make-up shift. 

If you are having difficulty with scheduling a make-up shift, contact your travel agency’s recruiter; they may be able to arrange one with the facility. In addition, your recruiter might be able to negotiate to add extra days to your contract. 

With Trusted Nurse Staffing, we can help you find your next travel nurse assignment and support you every step of the way.

If you are concerned with having to make up sick days during an assignment, do not worry — you will have access to your recruiter 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Additionally, your recruiter will ensure that everything runs smoothly during your assignment. 

Find the perfect travel assignment with Trusted Nurse Staffing. 




Do Travel Nurses Get Sick Time? 

You should ask travel nurse agencies about paid time off if it is essential to you. 

However, thirteen states and the District of Columbia have passed laws requiring paid sick leave for employees, including travel nurses, who meet specific requirements. 

These states include: 

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont; and
  • Washington

It is important to note that each state has its rules regarding paid sick leave. Therefore, state-specific requirements and employee eligibility vary from one state to another.


Steps To Take if You Get Sick on a Travel Nurse Assignment

You should always be prepared for any situation, so we’ve compiled some tips below on what to do if illness strikes.


#1: Contact Your Travel Nurse Agency

If you’re sick and need to miss a shift, follow your agency’s call-off procedures. Typically, this includes contacting your recruiter or agency on-call line as soon as possible. 

In this way, your recruiter might be able to get a jump on filling the open shift with another nurse who is on contract or PRN at the same hospital.


#2: Contact Your Scheduled Facility

While on assignment, maintaining courtesy and professionalism is essential. It may be a good idea to let the facility know you are sick even if your agency says they will contact them for you. 

Additionally, if an illness outbreak threatens vulnerable patients, your organization may need to implement infectious disease protocols immediately. Contacting your supervisor immediately is therefore crucial.


#3: Follow Up With Any Necessary Requirements or Documentation Stated in Your Contract

Depending on the agency or assignment, this might vary.  Be sure to ask the agency or facility if they require a doctor’s note when you call in sick. Also, ask if you have to complete any paperwork with the travel nurse agency. 


what happens if you get sick on a travel nurse assignment


3 Considerations to Make Before Missing a Shift on a Travel Nurse Assignment

There is always the possibility of missing work due to illness or unforeseen circumstances. When faced with these issues in our regular jobs, we all know what to do; however, what happens when we are on an assignment? 

Before missing shifts on a travel nurse assignment, consider the following three factors.  


#1: Are You Sick or Just Not Feeling Your Shift? 

There is a difference between being genuinely sick and not wanting to go to work. When you don’t want to go to work, you must decide whether your reputation and future contracts are worth a day off.

If you are not physically sick but suffering from mental health issues or burnout, it’s essential to chat with a professional to receive help until you feel like yourself again. 

Keeping these tips in mind while traveling in nursing can help you avoid nursing burnout: 

  1. Find a hobby — Find something you enjoy doing after a long day at work. Your body will be recharged, and your stress levels will be reduced
  2. Be proactive — As soon as you begin to notice the signs of nursing burnout, you should take action to stop it.
  3. Prioritize your health — Make sure you drink enough water and move your body.
  4. Get quality sleep — As well as being very important to your health, sleep provides a great mental break. 

With Trusted Nurse Staffing, travel nursing can be a great way to minimize burnout or recover from it. Nurses are our top priority here. 

Yes, nurses come first, before: 

  • Patients
  • Staffing needs; and 
  • Facility preferences

Are you interested in learning more? Then, we invite you to contact Trusted Nurse Staffing today.




#2: How Will Calling Out Sick Affect Your Paycheck? 

When you call in sick, it’s essential to consider the financial implications.

Company-provided services, like housing or travel expenses, depend on you working all your contracted hours — they base all of their financial calculations on your contracted hours.  

When signing a contract, be sure to ask the agency how sick days are handled and if there are any penalties. There will be different policies for handling sick days and related issues at each agency. 

Aside from that, you should know how missing hours might affect your bonus. The bonus minimum is set at the total number of hours for the contract, so even missing one hour could negate the bonus.


#3: How Will Calling Out Sick Affect Your Relationship With the Facility?

In travel nursing, assignments usually last about three months, so taking off three or four days can affect your attendance record. Unfortunately, even though it might be the only three or four days you have missed in five years, the hospital might perceive you as unreliable. 

An unsatisfactory attendance record at a facility will negatively impact any references from the hospital or clinic. Even though it may seem unfair, it’s the way things are.


How To Prepare for Getting Sick on a Travel Nurse Assignment

When on assignment, getting sick is incredibly inconvenient. When you are ill and bedridden, you miss shifts and have to take care of yourself in an unfamiliar place. 

Following are a few tips for what you should do if you feel unwell or sick while on assignment.


Know the Terms of Your Contract

The agency recruiter might be there for you every step of the way; however, nurses must read and reread their contracts before signing. This is not the case with every travel nurse agency. 

Following are some things to look for in your contract: 

  • Does it specify any procedures for calling off? 
  • How does the agency fare?; and
  • Can you miss so many shifts? 

When getting ready to accept a new assignment, read your contract carefully to know what you might be liable for, and if it seems too risky, decline it.


Understand Your Rights

As an employee, it’s essential to understand your rights. 

As stated above, some states require sick leave for employees. However, some states may require certain benefits (such as sick time) to be based on 30 hours of work rather than 40. You are responsible for being aware of the requirements for the state you will be working in. 

Furthermore, some states may not have statewide sick leave policies, but certain cities may. 


Have a Plan in Place

It is most common for travelers to travel alone on assignment, so knowing how to care for yourself is essential. 

First, you should familiarize yourself with the area you’re in case you need medical help or medicine. By doing this, you’ll be able to find local pharmacies and urgent care.

Additionally, making a list of emergency contacts can be very helpful once you arrive at your assignment. 

If this is the case, you will need to reach out to your …

  • Floor manager
  • Recruiter; or 
  • Recruiter admin

…  and keep their phone numbers and emails handy. 

You will also want to check with those contacts to find out how they prefer to be contacted.  


what happens if you get sick on a travel nurse assignments


Trusted Nurse Staffing: Providing Our Travel Nurses Flexible Contracts and Support 

Our team at Trusted Nurse Staffing can help you find your next travel nurse assignment and provide support at every step.

As a leading travel nurse staffing agency, we help nurses find the proper assignment by:

  • Considering your work preferences and lifestyle
  • Helping you find a job that meets your needs; and
  • Providing you with 24/7 access to a recruiter

When Trusted Nurse Staffing finds you an assignment that meets your needs, we will provide you with all the necessary information. 

Additionally, we will ensure that your assignment runs smoothly.

Count on Trusted Nurse Staffing to help you find the best travel assignment for you.