Take the Time to Read Your Contract!

Written by Rose Torrento on Thursday, August 01, 2019 Posted in Travel Nurse Tips

People tend to sign contracts without much thought. When was the last time you read the “terms of service agreement” when downloading an app? While it might be okay to skim some contracts and agreements, others demand your full and complete attention — including your travel nursing contract. This is one document you need to read thoroughly and understand with total clarity. After all, it will dictate the next eight to thirteen weeks of your life.

nursing contract

Reading the contract is step No. 1

Whether this is your first assignment or your 50th, it’s important to thoroughly read your contract. Doing so gives you a full view of the details regarding your travel nursing assignment.

There is a lot of information in your contract you don’t want to miss, such as information about payment, placement, job responsibilities, schedule, and more. Of course, every assignment is a little different, so you’ll want to get the specific details for every job you take.

Don’t miss these important details

Reading through your contract not only helps you understand what is in store for you over the next 13 weeks. It also helps you navigate any potential challenges and answer a lot of questions you may have.

With these details, you’re better able to discuss challenges with your recruiter, negotiate, and know your rights when it comes to solving problems.

Pay package

One key aspect of your contract is your pay package. Your contract has a detailed breakdown about your hourly wage and any stipends you’re entitled to for the duration of the assignment. Going over this section with a fine-toothed comb ensures that you’re paid appropriately for your work.

Reimbursements

The contract also includes information about reimbursements from your agency. Things such as reimbursed parking, lodging, or fees, as well as housing and travel reimbursements are laid out in detail for you to examine and compare.

Assignment details

Important details about the duration of your assignment should answer most of your questions, such as “What facility am I working in?” or “Where will I live?” The contract dictates the facility and the location you’re assigned to. If you are using agency-provided housing, your contract also includes these details.

Clauses

Most importantly, your contract includes clauses regarding accountability, for both you and the hospital. These clauses ensure that all parties abide by the contract specifications. They include information about what happens if a contract is breached or cancelled, including penalties, fees, and terms.

Stay vigilant during contract review

As you’re reviewing your contract, remember that it isn’t enough to simply read it through. You also need to understand it.

For this reason, jot down questions to ask your recruiter as you review the contract. As your point of contact throughout the hiring process, your recruiter can answer any questions and help you through challenging periods on assignment.

Also take time to double-check the most important aspects of your contract: guaranteed hours, wages, and reimbursements, to ensure you’re able to maintain your standard of living. Note the minimum hour requirement and whether there is a penalty for missing shifts, as well as whether or not you’re subject to a non-compete agreement.

All these items may come up during or after your assignment, and it’s up to you to understand them so you’re setting proper expectations. With thorough contract review and help from your recruiter, you’ll be totally prepared to begin your assignment.

Questions about your contract? Your recruiter is happy to help by answering questions and providing clarity. Even if you’re an experienced travel nurse, it never hurts to ask the important questions about your next assignment. Contact us online or call us today at 888-299-9800 for more information.

About the Author

Rose Torrento

Rose Torrento

Rosemarie Torrento has worked in health care for more than 26 years, beginning as a registered nurse in 1988. Early in her nursing career, Torrento worked as a freelance contract nurse before accepting a position in nursing administration. During her 17-year tenure in that role, she oversaw nursing employment and travel nurse contracting at a Level 1 Trauma Hospital in Michigan. Understanding the challenges travel nurses faced, Torrento founded Health Providers Choice Inc. (HPC) in 2003. Through Torrento’s extensive experience and her role as President and CEO, HPC provides travel placement of registered nurses and allied health professionals to hospital systems nationally.