How Long Is a Travel Nursing Contract?

April 1 / Posted by Christi Hintz

Planning your year looks a little different as a travel nurse, since you’ll be filling your schedule with assignments located at different hospitals. While the standard length of contract for a travel nurse is 13 weeks, you may have more options if you’re looking to extend or shorten your contract. This can provide you with more stability or variety, or a schedule that better fits your needs. Your recruiter can help you find the options that work best for you.


A Shorter Contract


If you’re filling out your schedule and find that you’d like a little more variety in length of assignment, you may have other options. Some hospitals have short term needs such as replacing a nurse on temporary leave. In these cases, you may be able to find a shorter contract. You may also be able to negotiate standard length contracts. It never hurts to ask, so let your recruiter know what you’re looking for. They may be able to find a solution that works for you.


A Longer Contract


Some hospitals have long term needs that exceed the standard 13 week contract. If you’re looking for a little more consistency, this may be a good option for you. If you’re looking to stay in the same place for a longer period of time, you can ask your recruiter to look for long term contracts or ask to negotiate with a hospital that’s seeking a 13 week contract. Alternatively, some hospitals will agree to extend contracts with a nurse working a standard contract if their need still exists and they like the travel nurse. This is a great way for you to get a feel for the hospital before committing to a longer term contract.  


Be aware that if you extend a contract longer than a year, there may be tax implications for both you and the hospital. This may affect a hospital’s decision to extend your contract, and it’s important for you to understand the implications so there are no surprises come tax time.


The Standard Contract


Standard contracts last 13 weeks, and these assignments will be the easiest ones to find. It is less common for contracts to vary in length, so if you want one that is shorter or longer, you may need to be more flexible with other details like location and start date. However, these lengths are not always set in stone so it never hurts to ask about changes in length during the negotiation process.


If you’re counting on all your contracts being standard length, make sure you plan accordingly to leave enough time for travelling between contracts. You can load up your year with as many contracts as you can handle, or take some time off in between, whichever works best for your situation.


What has your experience been with assignments of varying lengths? What’s the longest you’ve ever stayed with one hospital? What are your tips for other travel nurses looking for assignments of different lengths? Leave your own thoughts in the comments below, and help out your fellow travel nurses!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *