You’re near the end of a travel nurse assignment when you wonder, “Can I just extend the assignment and stay here longer?” The answer depends on the assignment and facility, but the most common answer is that you probably can. Facilities recruit travel nursing to fill their demand for registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. Thus, if the demand remains after your assignment ends, then the facility may appreciate an extension.
If you find a facility that you love in an area, we encourage you to try extending your assignment. While the extension depends on the demand in the area, here are some tips for the process.
First Steps To Extension
Your first step to extending the assignment should be to contact us. Your assigned Traveler Advocate will help ensure your documentation, stipends, health insurance, and everything else is updated to your extended assignment. After letting us know, reach out to the hiring manager to let them know your interest. We generally recommend you do this within a month of contract completion, as four weeks gives everyone plenty of time to consider the arrangement and prepare after the decision.
In some cases, they may even reach out to you first. However, if you reach out first, try to remain confident and assertive—express that you’ve enjoyed your time working at their facility and explain why you want to extend. Also, consider mentioning challenges you overcame during the assignment or accomplishments you made. Even though the hiring manager will already know how you helped them while you worked at the facility, it doesn’t hurt to have a few examples ready. Show them that extension will be good for them as well. Finally, remember that you can always reach out to your Traveler Advocate. Your advocate will be happy to help with reaching out to the facility, approaching the topic, and negotiating the contract.
Contracts and Paperwork
Is the facility interested in extending your assignment? Great! It’s not over yet, though, because then we must work on the contract, and during this process, the facility can still say no. While many facilities will be happy to avoid the lengthy hiring process, others will want to stay open to other prospects. For example, details in the shift may change, like night shift to day shift, or the facility may adjust the duration. You and your Traveler Advocate will need to discuss these terms to find common ground. Perhaps the facility will recognize what you bring to the table and yield the shift time, but it’s more likely that you will need to choose between adjusting to a different schedule or looking for a new assignment that suits your preferred shift.
Pay and time off are two more important topics to negotiate. A facility may already have plans to change the weekly pay and time off per the contract, but we will help negotiate to ensure that the compensation is to your satisfaction. If it is not, you’ll be left with a difficult choice: is it worth staying, or is it worth going? Only you can decide, but consider how much you enjoy the assignment, whether you get along with your coworkers, and how staying might benefit you from a job growth or networking perspective.
At Nurse First, we strive to ensure that your experience while travel nursing is fun and rewarding. Let us know if you decide to accept or reject the extension, and either way, we’ll continue working with you to find the best assignment for you. This leaves us with our last thing to consider; look forward to the next assignment.
Don’t Lose Hope
Whether you decide not to extend or the facility’s demand for nurses in your specialty is low, some assignments simply won’t extend. If a facility decides not to extend your assignment, look at other available options around the same area. It may not be in the same assignment you previously enjoyed, but travel nursing is all about the journeys—after you experience one great adventure, another waits around the corner.