Have you ever wrestled with the idea of extending your travel nurse contract? On one hand, it can be convenient. But on the other hand, are you missing out on a *better* assignment somewhere else? This post will guide you on whether or not extending your travel nurse contract is right for you.
Extending Your Travel Nurse Contract – Should You or Shouldn’t You?
I spent five years of my career travel nursing. When I first started out I continuously grappled with the question of extensions. But after some time, I quickly got the hang of whether or not an extension was right for me. Below you’ll find the things that I consider when deciding whether or not to sign an extension.
Consider the Money
The first thing that you should take into consideration is the money. Are you going to get paid more, less, or the same? Generally, if you sign an extension you should get a bit more money as you don’t have to go through orientation again. But if you’re working a crisis contract, there’s a chance that your money will be cut if the unit is no longer in crisis.
No matter what your situation is, decide if the money you’re receiving now is good enough for you to stay, or you’d rather move on to a more lucrative assignment. But remember, money won’t make you happy so I wouldn’t solely rely on pay when choosing to extend.
For more on pay as a travel nurse, don’t miss Your Guide to Travel Nurse Pay + The Importance of Transparency in Travel Nursing
Consider the Time of Year
Another important thing to take into consideration is the time of year. Is it a good time to live in the city you’re in? For example, if you’re considering an extension in Phoenix, but it’s about to be summer, are you okay with the scorching heat? And what about dates that you want off like your birthday and/or the holidays? If your extension interferes with certain dates you want off I would say that you either shouldn’t sign an extension, you should request certain dates off, or you should request to come back at a later time.
Consider Your Housing Situation
What’s your housing situation like? Do you need to move out and find new housing or can you stay? If you do need to move out, make sure to check out places with similar price points to ensure that you’re not going to be paying an arm and a leg for a new living arrangement. Also, if you do need to move out, is it easier to just move states all together? Or are you okay with just moving to a new neighborhood? Finding housing as a travel nurse can be pretty stressful so this may weigh heavily on your decision to stay or not.
For tips on finding housing, make sure to read The Best Housing Options for Travel Nurses
Consider Where Else is On Your “Bucket List”
Where else is on your “travel nurse bucket list?”. If you have 10 more destinations you’d like to travel to, maybe extending isn’t feasible. On the other hand, if you’re getting tired of moving around so frequently, it might be in your best interest to extend.
Consider the Job Market
Before you decide not to extend your contract, reach out to your recruiter to get a feel for what the job market is like. Your recruiter should be knowledgeable about the amount of jobs open, how hard it currently is to get a job, and if the money is good or bad. This may influence your decision to stay or to go.
Your recruiter can really make or break your travel nurse experience. That’s why I believe that picking a recruiter is much more important than picking a company. Read why here.
Consider Your Community (or Lack Thereof)
Lastly, take into account your community. Do you feel connected to where you’re currently living? Do you have friends at work? Are there still things that you want to see and do around town? Or maybe you’re feeling lonely and bored and ready to hightail it out of where you’re at. This is something that can also influence your decision to stay longer or not.
If you’re having trouble feeling settled and creating community, don’t miss these posts:
Tips for How to Make Friends As a Travel Nurse
How to Acclimate to Your New City As a Travel Nurse
Overall, I think that you need to take a variety of factors into consideration before deciding whether or not you’re going to extend your contract. And remember, you can always go back if you miss it; and if you decide to stay and don’t like it it’s only 13-weeks of your life. Either way, the choice is yours and I firmly believe that everything will turn out the way it’s supposed to.