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How Long Are Travel Nurse Contracts?

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Health Carousel Travel Nursing
June 30, 2022
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A typical travel nurse assignment lasts 13 weeks. However, as you may have already figured out, one of the best things about being a travel nurse is the flexibility. If you’re loving your assignment or the pay is great, you may be able to extend your contract and stay longer.

How Long Can a Travel Nurse Stay in One Place?

This is partially dependent on the IRS and partially dependent on the facility. In order to qualify for the tax-free stipends that make travel nursing lucrative, you have to show that you are working away from your tax home. If you stay in the same city or general area for a year or more, even if you work in multiple different facilities, you will no longer qualify for the stipends. A good rule of thumb for how long you can stay in one city or general location is up to, but not more than a year.

The length of a contract or an extension is also dependent upon the facility. Some facilities allow travel nurses to extend their contracts continuously for up to a year if they are pleased with you and continue to need your help. If so they will likely reach out to your travel company to request an extension a few weeks into your contract. If you haven’t heard anything and want to extend, inquire about an extension with your facility managers or recruiter.

Benefits of Extending Your Contract

Moving Expenses

Let’s face it, even with stipends moving is expensive, time-consuming, and stressful. By extending your contract you will likely reduce the number of times per year you need to physically move.

Increase in Hourly Pay

By extending your contract you may be able to negotiate a higher pay rate for your extension. Negotiating pay with management that already knows you as a reliable traveler may get you better results than trying to negotiate a higher hourly rate with a brand new hospital unfamiliar with your work ethic.  

Comfort in Familiarity

No matter how adaptable you are, it takes time to learn the ins and outs of a new facility. It takes time to learn who your resources are, which doctors work with each specialty, and who to go to with questions. It takes your coworkers time to figure out who you are and what you’re capable of doing. It might take half of your assignment to get comfortable with the unit, so why not extend and have an entire assignment somewhere you’ve learned to work efficiently?

Establish Stronger References and Professional Relationships

After extending a contract once or twice, your coworkers and management will have time to get to know you better as a healthcare professional. More time with them will increase the chances of them remembering you and more opportunities to earn their respect. This could be beneficial later when you need references for future travel assignments or full time jobs.

Benefits of Leaving When Your Contract is Up

You Get to Explore New Places

If you started traveling with the goal of adventuring to new places, don’t give that up just to be comfortable! Truly beginning a new contract every 13 to 14 weeks can be what makes travel nursing exciting.

It Keeps You on Your Toes!

New faces and facilities every few months is a true challenge. You must maintain expertise in your nursing and communication skillsets when you’re moving around every few months.

You’re Tired

You can take breaks between contract extensions. However, if you need a prolonged break from work, leaving when your contract is up and giving yourself some time to relax before starting a new contract could do wonders for your mental and emotional health. And if you’re in a particularly difficult facility, even if it makes good money, leaving when your time is up will help you prevent burnout.

What is the tenure of a travel nursing assignment?

Travel nursing jobs are temporary jobs that last around 13 weeks. However, some healthcare facilities offer shorter contracts that range from six to eight weeks. Other facilities offer long-term contracts of around 26 weeks or extensions to your existing contract.

Is it possible for a travel nurse to stay in one place after their contract expires?

Travel nurses can stay in one place if their contract expires. However, you will need a new travel nurse assignment at a new facility. If you decide you want to permanently move to the area, then you will need to claim state residency.

How long is a travel nurse is allowed to practice in one state?

Travel nurses can practice in the same state for as long as they wish. However, you must change your assignment at the one-year mark. If you don’t, then you are no longer considered travel nurse status.

Why would you need an extension on your travel nurse contract?

Many healthcare facilities offer travel nurses extensions on their travel nursing contracts. This is often due to continued shortages of permanent staff nurses and skilled nurses. The decision is up to you if you would like to stay with one assignment or take a new assignment. Many nurses like to stay with their assignments. This is because you don’t have to select new travel nursing assignments or worry about health insurance changes. You can ask for higher pay and overtime pay.

Is it possible for you to stay in the same place for too long?

The short answer is yes. Travel nurses and travel nursing assignments abide by the “one-year limit rule.” After one year, you are no longer considered a travel nurse since you have stayed in one location for a year. You will not receive non-taxable benefits and your agency will no longer provide housing. If you want to stay in the same location, you will have to look for a permanent staff nurse position and find your own housing.

Find your perfect assignment today with Health Carousel Travel Nursing! Whether this is your first or tenth assignment, our recruiters are here to help you through every step of the process.

FAQ

What is the tenure of a travel nursing assignment?

Travel nursing jobs are temporary jobs that last around 13 weeks. However, some healthcare facilities offer shorter contracts that range from six to eight weeks. Other facilities offer long-term contracts of around 26 weeks or extensions to your existing contract.

Is it possible for a travel nurse to stay in one place after their contract expires?

Travel nurses can stay in one place if their contract expires. However, you will need a new travel nurse assignment at a new facility. If you decide you want to permanently move to the area, then you will need to claim state residency.  

How long is a travel nurse allowed to practice in one state?

Travel nurses can practice in the same state for as long as they wish. However, you must change your assignment at the one-year mark. If you don’t, then you are no longer considered travel nurse status. 

Why would you need an extension on your travel nurse contract?

Many healthcare facilities offer travel nurses extensions on their travel nursing contracts. This is often due to continued shortages of permanent staff nurses and skilled nurses. The decision is up to you if you would like to stay with one assignment or take a new assignment. Many nurses like to stay with their assignments. This is because you don’t have to select new travel nursing assignments or worry about health insurance changes. You can ask for higher pay and overtime pay.

Is it possible for you to stay in the same place for too long?

The short answer is yes. Travel nurses and travel nursing assignments abide by the “one-year limit rule.” After one year, you are no longer considered a travel nurse since you have stayed in one location for a year. You will not receive non-taxable benefits and your agency will no longer provide housing. If you want to stay in the same location, you will have to look for a permanent staff nurse position and find your own housing.

Find your perfect assignment today with Health Carousel Travel Nursing! Whether this is your first or tenth assignment, our recruiters are here to help you through every step of the process. Get it in touch with us today!


Author Bio

A registered nurse since 2016, Mary has experience in internal medicine, international medical aid and emergency medicine where she currently practices. Mary is most passionate about empowering patients through education and creating safe, supportive work environments for nurses. In her free time Mary finds joy in her catholic faith, running, trying new recipes and spending time with friends and family.

Health Carousel Travel Nursing

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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!

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