On Travel Nursing: Pros And Cons Of Extending A Contract
Right now, I’m on my last week of my first ever travel nursing assignment. It’s been a crazy ride for our career and this blog, I must say. Everything seemed to happen so fast that I missed tracking some important events in this journey. But for now, I’m going to share with you the things we considered when extending our contract.
November of last year when Luis and I finally took the leap of faith and ventured into this journey that is travel nursing. Many wonderful things happened since. Fast forward to this day and five months after, here we are: finally leaving Lufkin and moving on to our next destination. But aren’t you supposed to only have 13 weeks? I know, I get that question a lot.
Travel assignments usually last for 8-13 weeks. The contract depends on patient load, season, and overall need of the hospital.
Initially, we signed up for a thirteen-week assignment. And we loved it! I couldn’t explain this more but everything about workload and work environment are amazing.
Why did we stay?
After our 13 weeks, we received an email saying that we are eligible to extend. To be able to qualify for an extension, travel nurses should be able to pass according to the facility’s standards. Some staff are generally asked about our performance, work ethics, and how we carry ourselves. Are we knowledgable enough? Are we competent enough? Do we follow hospital policy? Do we break house rules? Are we good with our patients? Do we communicate well with staff?
Those were just sample questions that I heard from staff and management. To keep it short, it basically assesses whether the hospital wants to keep us or not. So being able to receive the extension offer, we are really elated! It’s our first assignment so we didn’t really expect much.
Here are the reasons we extended aka the pros of extending our travel nursing assignment:
1. No need for adjustment
We already know the different policies of the hospital. Where to get stuff. Who to call for this. How their equipment work. How people coordinate with other staff. Everything seems to be easy peasy when you familiarize yourself with these little bumps while working.
2. Higher paycheck, same expenses
When we accepted the extension offer, we tried to negotiate. If they wanted us real bad, they should be able to give us what we want. We were able to agree with $100 increase per week. It’s not much compared to what other travel nurses are requiring when they ask for a deal, but it’s already enough for us. From $1,400+ take home (tax already excluded) per week, we’re able to earn $1,500/wk.
3. More time to explore the place
Lufkin is a small city but is strategically located between Houston and Louisiana. There is not much to see in Lufkin, honestly. However, it is only two hours away from Houston so we were able to go in that amazing city whenever we like.
I even got the chance to experience Rodeo Houston!
And even watch THE Alicia Keys!
It is truly one for the books! Five months in this place but it is still too short to try their incredible and amazing local restaurants! I promise to make a post about it. They are just so good!
4. Getting to know people on a deeper level
During our whole stay, we got the chance to befriend some of the coolest and friendliest people on earth. We’re really happy that our coworkers in Woodland Heights are accommodating and simply amazing! More time staying means more time to be with these awesome people.
5. No need to pack. Again.
The only hassle of traveling often is the whole preparation thing. I just hate packing.
Packing sheet! lol ok. It’s meant to be a pun because I don’t swear. It’s a breeze not to load all your stuff at the back of the car and squeeze them to bits just to fit everything we have. We’re still new at this and no matter how many pinterest boards I make to keep me organized, it just takes so much time. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
All is well, right? But…
Why do we need to go?
No matter how many pros I include in this list, extending a contract has its fair share of consequences as well. The gypsy in us is going to agree with these cons:
1. Homesickness will eventually kick in.
Travel is a great way to explore the world and find yourself. But being away from home for too long doesn’t do you good also. You miss events, family gatherings, and the feeling of being in your comfort zone. Luis told me that this is one thing that he’d never outgrow and I totally get it. If I’m given the chance to be with my family, sign me up! Good thing we were able to have our two-week off after our thirteen weeks assignment. Our recruiter is the best. We super love her! #TeamKelly
2. Limits in professional growth
One of the many reasons I signed up for travel nursing is discovering more of my potential. With different sets of people/coworkers, I learn more techniques and nursing interventions that enable me to become a better nurse. If I stay in one place, I’m afraid I’d miss out on that chance to improve my skills and knowledge.
There is no wrong being comfortable in your work space, however, when you see yourself starting to become complacent, it’s asking for danger. Nursing is not the profession for “routine work.” Nothing is ever a routine. And when it feels like it does, that means you’re doing something wrong or something that doesn’t contribute to your patient care. When you see yourself doing the same thing over and over, and you feel like it’s “getting old,” it’s the gypsy soul saying, “it’s time to move.”
4. Workplace politics
When you start working in a new facility, you don’t know anybody. You don’t know whose team is late or early at work. You don’t know who’s the most hated nurse or the most strict nurse leader, or basically the center of every gossip. But when you stay longer than you should, believe me, you’re gonna play favorites eventually, and you wouldn’t want that. Peace of mind while at work is my jive. Taking care of sick people is already stressful. Spare me from negativities!
5. More destinations
When you extend a contract, that means that’s another contract in another place that you didn’t apply for. And while everything is doing great in Lufkin, I just feel like there is so much more in the US that I want to explore! When I first got here, I didn’t even know where Lufkin is. I didn’t have any idea how much good vibes this place would bring me. And I know there are more places like this that I need to discover! So we hopped on to our next destination— VIRGINIA!
I am so excited to go there and I’m already pinning locations that we are planning to visit. Follow me on Pinterest to see these boards!
To travel nurses reading this, what are your thoughts on extending a contract?
Also, let me know your pet peeves when packing.
I badly need to avoid those for our next road trip.