Blog

How Long Can a Travel Nurse Stay in One Place?

By
Health Carousel Travel Nursing
October 20, 2022
Share this post

So you’ve decided to dive into the world of travel nursing! The perks of being a travel nurse are plenty! You have more freedom, flexibility, and higher pay. You may have chosen travel nursing for the variety of locations and roles, but what happens when you’ve found the perfect travel nursing job and you love it? What are the rules? When travel nursing, how long can you stay? This depends on several factors including how long you’ve been away from home or in the same state. This blog covers everything you need to know about how long a travel nurse can stay in one place. 

Can Travel Nurses Have a Location Preference?

One of the most important details of your travel nurse assignment is the location. Some travel nursing agencies may allow you to choose the location of your travel nursing assignments. If you have a preference, be sure to communicate this upfront and provide your travel nurse agency with a list of preferred locations. Work with your recruiter to see if you can be placed in one of these locations.  

When considering your list of preferred locations, you’ll want to give some thought to the following: 

  • Weather. Do your research on what you can expect for the duration of your assignment. 
  • Transportation to and from work. Will you need to take alternate transportation or can you drive your car? How much will this add to your commute?  
  • How close is the location to your current home? If you need to travel back to your place of residence, consider the closest locations. 
  • Affordability. Can you afford to live in this location? What is the cost of living and will this be worth it with the proposed pay rate? 
  • Activities you will be doing outside of work. Will you be able to do your usual activities in your spare time? 
  • Licensing. How does this affect your licensing requirements? Will there be any changes to your licensing? What are the associated fees, and will your travel nurse agency cover these?

Although you may not get your top preferred location, think of it as a way to experience something new. The best part is, it won’t be for long. As a travel nurse, you have the option to complete your contract and move on to the next location in your travel nursing journey. Who knows what you may find? The opportunities are endless here!  

The key to travel nursing is exploring your options. You are in the driver’s seat and you decide where your travel nursing career will take you. 

How Long Are Travel Nursing Assignments?

The standard travel nurse assignment is 13 weeks. However, contracts can range from as little as 2 to 26 weeks depending on the travel nursing agency and facilities. 

Many travel nurses choose to extend their contracts beyond the initial 13 weeks. An extension is something to consider if you are comfortable in the role and enjoy working in that location. 

Some travel nurses may decide to cancel their contract. First steps should be to read your contract and communicate with your travel nursing agency for the next steps

Extending a Travel Nurse Contract

Here are things to consider when deciding whether or not to extend. 

Your housing situation

When considering extending your contract, consider your housing situation. Do you need to move out of your current home? If so, you may want to consider whether it is easier to just move on to a new location and new assignment. If you don’t have to deal with relocating, it is a huge plus! You already know the area, the facility, and the people you work with. If you enjoy the position and the work, consider extending your contract. You won’t have any travel arrangements to deal with and you won’t need to research any new areas, saving you time.

The negotiation process and job market

Treat a contract extension as a new negotiation. You may or may not be able to negotiate a higher pay rate depending on the original contract terms and your travel nursing agency. If you are not able to negotiate higher pay during a contract extension you may be able to negotiate other terms such as a better schedule, better shifts, or time off. Contact your agency and ask your recruiter about the current job market and compare. Your recruiter should know about open positions, the pay rate and the demand. Another aspect you may want to consider negotiating is the start date of your extension. Just because you are extending your contract does not mean you need to start right away. You can negotiate a start date after taking a break if you choose.

Be proactive

If you are thinking of extending your contract, speak to your recruiter and travel nursing agency well in advance. Ideally, this would be a month or longer before the original contract is set to end. This allows the travel nursing agency to discuss with the facility ahead of time to assess their needs. It also allows you to consider the extension and if it is something you want. 

How Long Can a Travel Nurse Stay in One Place? 

The short answer - is less than 12 months. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has rules around this. As a travel nurse, you are offered tax-free housing and travel reimbursements to have a place to live during your temporary work assignment. The IRS does not consider a work assignment that lasts 12 months as “temporary.” Another part of this rule is that it does not matter if the months occur in sequence. You might be able to work at that location for longer than 12 months, but you would not receive the tax-free stipend and you may lose your “tax home”. 

How Long Does a Travel Nurse Have to Be Away Before Returning to The Same Place?

The answer to this can vary. Some travel nurse agencies may require a break between assignments to ensure you don’t lose your “tax home.” A tax home is your place of residence during the time that you are not traveling, while still allowing you to be eligible for the housing and travel stipends mentioned above. Overall, we go back to the one-year IRS rule, that you cannot work in the same location for greater than 12 months in a 24-month period. Check with your specific travel nurse agency to see what the requirements are for you and ensure you seek advice from a certified tax professional to maintain tax compliance as a travel nurse. 

How Long Can a Travel Nurse Stay at The Same Facility? 

This will be up to the travel nursing agency and the facility. Some facilities may not want you to extend your contract for several reasons, which may include the higher pay rate for travel nurses. Travel nurses are typically more expensive for a facility than staff nurses. Some assignments can last longer than 6 months if your facility is willing to allow for this extension. Either way, keep in mind the one-year IRS rule when deciding whether you would like to stay for a longer period. 

Choosing the right assignment and location as a travel nurse can impact your travel nurse career in a big way. Part of this is also choosing the right travel nursing agency for your travel nursing career.

Health Carousel Travel Nursing delivers the travel nursing experience that you’ve wanted all along—the ability to care for patients and the freedom to do it wherever you want. We help you create a meaningful set of experiences that grow with you and your preferred career path, at your own pace. 

How can you achieve the freedom to live and work the way you want to with Health Carousel Travel Nursing?

  • We give you the option to engage with a recruiter when you’re ready. In addition, our On Demand app offers an always-on, user-friendly, self-directed way to search for assignments and manage all your important documents.
  • Candidates are engaged and informed throughout the entire hiring process. We are transparent about all aspects of your application and credentialing progress.
  • Upon assignment, our clinical team continues to be available 24/7 to provide coaching or resolve any clinical issues that may arise.
  • We check in with our travelers on a regular schedule and use your input and suggestions to continuously improve our service.
  • We have a very high rebooking rate of over 75%, which is one of the highest retention rates in the industry. 

We put our nurses first. We are out to make it as easy and enjoyable as possible to work with us. As your career evolves, your needs may change. There’s no need to feel trapped or compromise on your priorities. You can engage on your terms and timeline, and we’ll follow suit. 

Health Carousel Travel Nursing

Find the Travel Job that’s Right for You

Interested in how the pay stacks up in other states not on this list? Our trusty Super Nurse sidekicks are standing by to answer any questions you have. Click below to get information on opportunities in other states!

Woman standing with suitcase looking out at the city