travel nurse contracts

travel nurse contractsThere is nothing more important in travel nursing is than a travel nurse contracts, and if you don’t have time to read what I’m going to say, let me leave you with this golden rule:

It doesn’t exist unless it’s included in your contract.

Due to the sheer variety of locations and roles, as well as the excellent travel nurse compensation, many travel nurses like their work. Your contract, on the other hand, serves as a tax document that you’ll need to verify the nature of your tax-free travel reimbursements. It lays out your job specifications, obligations, and the details of your rate of pay.

So, let’s get started. Here’s my “checklist” of what should (or may) be included in your travel nursing contract:

Components of Travel Nurse Contracts

The Basics

When it comes to signing your first travel nurse contract, there are a few basic guidelines to follow:

  • Whenever you start working or traveling to a job site, make sure you have a signed contract beforehand.
  • Make sure your hourly rate is specified in your contract. 
  • Make sure your contract outlines how long it will last. 
  • Ensure that your contract contains essential information about your job and obligations.

Contract Duration

Travel nursing assignments are often pre-arranged for a period of 13 weeks. There are, however, contracts that are only for eight weeks and others that are for 26 weeks or longer. It’s possible that the healthcare provider could use your abilities for a little longer than you anticipated at the end of your contract. They might give you an extension on your task, usually for three to five weeks (if your schedule allows).

This might be a good fit for you, especially if you feel at ease in your team and facilities and are honing a skill you appreciate.

travel nurse contracts

The Confirmation Must Align with the Conversation

Travelers are in the unusual situation of working for both their agency (which is also working for them) and the hospital with whom they signed a contract. A nurse will typically interview with a hospital, the hospital will make an offer to the agency, and the agency will accept the offer with a “Confirmation” (which is essentially an addendum to the contract) that includes all of the basic information (such as your name, license number, hospital location, and so on) as well as any verbal agreements you made with the hospital during your interview.

For example, suppose you agreed to only one float shift per week at your hospital interview. Make sure you tell your travel nursing agency about these discussions so they can include them in your confirmation when it’s time to accept the offer.

The Essentials

By course, this will differ slightly from one travel nursing agency to the next, but here is a list of what you should look for at the very least on every contact:

  • Agency name, address, and phone number
  • Name of hospital, address, and phone number
  • Your full name and mailing address
  • A hospital ward
  • Dates of start and finish
  • Shifts: (including start and end time). You’ll want to make sure you get a certain number of hours per week. Especially before driving the lengthy distance to your new location. Many contracts will pay for a shift even if it’s canceled. Seriously, this is critical. Many inexperienced travelers don’t get those hours in writing and as a result, have multiple gigs canceled on them, substantially lowering their earning potential.
  • Number of shifts each week:  Includes contracted hours per week. Don’t be deceived by someone who claims things like “well, we NEVER cancel ANY shifts because we’re WAY too busy.” 
  • Overtime hours worked under contract
  • Pay period details: Weekly, bimonthly, or monthly pay cycles, as well as how frequently payroll is processed. If you’re hired for 36 hours per week, be sure your contract states that you’ll be paid for all 36 hours. Even if a shift is canceled. 
  • Timesheet reporting requirements
  • For regular, overtime, and on-call hours, your hourly taxable rate
  • Your rates for meals and incidental expenses (M&IE), accommodation, and travel reimbursement
  • Details on any benefits you may be eligible for (medical, dental, vision, retirement, PTO, sick leave, etc.)
  • Guaranteed hours information (see section on hours below)

Others include:

  • Penalties for hours missed: If you call out for any reason, your contract may include a “missed hours penalty” (which commonly translates to dollar signs) since your agency has guaranteed the hospital a particular number of hours.
  • Canceled hours penalties: This is a win-win situation for you. Because your agency guaranteed you a specific number of hours, your contract may include a “canceled hours penalty,” which implies the hospital must pay you the amount you would have earned if you had worked the canceled shift.
  • Clause of cancellation: This can help protect both the facility and the nurse on the road. A penalty may be imposed if the hospital cancels the contract for any reason, and vice versa if the nurse cancels the contract for any reason.
  • Clause of non-competition: The truth is that these are going away because (1) tracking all past nurse travelers is extremely difficult for agencies, and (2) nurse travelers dislike them. What exactly is a non-compete agreement? It’s essentially a contract clause that prohibits you from working for another travel nursing agency for “X” amount of time and/or from working for the hospital with which you had a nurse travel contract for “X” period of time.

Breaking travel nurse contract

Understanding the implications of breaking a travel nurse contract is crucial, especially when considering the relationships between nurses and companies in the travel nursing industry. You learn how to break out of a travel nurse contract.


Let’s say I’ve got itchy feet after putting this article together for you. Keeping put because I love seeing amazing travel nurses succeeding in their jobs while knowing they’re well supported.

You’re fantastic at what you do, and hospitals around the country need your expertise. Always here to help you connect the dots all throughout the country.

Remember! This checklist should be used as a guide for travel nurse contracts. As a result, I’d be grateful if you could assist in improving this checklist. Please let me know if I missed anything in the comments section below! 

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