What the @#$% Do I Do Now That My Assignment Is Canceled?


If you’ve been a traveling nurse for any length of time, it’s likely that at some point your contract has or will be canceled. What? Isn’t there a huge demand for qualified nurses throughout the country? How could a contract get canceled?

Well, let’s just say it happens. Most agencies that hire traveling nurses include an  ‘at will’ employment clause in the contract that essentially means your gig can be canceled at any time for any reason often without compensation for the nurse.

Sometimes the decision comes if a nurse is unable to adapt to a hospital’s policies and procedures.  Other times, it may be for reasons other than your performance or nursing skills and may come down to a personality conflict or a “bad fit.”

Unfortunately, situations like this have become the way of the world – and as great as traveling nursing is as an occupation – it’s no exception.

But before you consider looking for a job as a veterinary acupuncturist, don’t panic. Here are some words of wisdom to best deal with an early end to your contract.

Check That Contract

If your contract has been canceled, be sure to re-read it and check for content regarding cancellations. There may be fees incurred for housing, travel, etc. Also, find out from your recruiter if the hospital gave a cause for cutting short your contract.

Get Mad, Feel Sad, Then Take a Hike!

Because a contract cancellation is often beyond the travel nurse’s control, it’s best to give yourself time to decompress. That includes feeling angry, sad, or even scared. It’s a normal reaction.

Take a few days for yourself to decompress.  Go hiking. Go camping. Go kayaking. Go run on a beach. This is called the recovery phase, and you need time to process what happened and what your next move will be. In terms of finding your next travel position, a good staffing agency will understand contract cancellations can happen and will work with you to find another suitable contract quickly.

Contract Cancellations Happen – Are You Prepared?

As with most careers, @#$&@! happens, and planning for “downtimes” before they occur is extremely prudent. For a travel nurse, that includes:

  • Savings – That means keeping more than $102 in your checking account. You should have enough savings on hand to get yourself through at least three months – hopefully, enough time for you to land your next assignment.
  • References – Travel nursing exists in a small world, and great professional references are worth their weight in gold. This is especially true if your contract cancellation was for reasons such as clinical issues. Great professional references will help the recruiter understand that you’re an excellent candidate who simply had a “professional hiccup.”
  • A Great Recruiter – Not just any recruiter – one that knows the industry, has a stellar reputation, and can quickly respond to your situation. The fact is, keeping in touch with a recruiter even when you’re employed will help you immensely when you’re not. Oh, and while you’re at it, don’t forget to check your recruiter’s references from time to time.

At Focus Staff, we understand the ins and outs of travel nursing and have access to a wide variety of excellent professional opportunities. So, if you love to travel – and love being a nurse – contact us  today.

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