Time flies when you are having fun, or so the saying goes. If you think about it, a typical travel nursing assignment is 13 weeks, part of which is spent on orientation and settling into a new work environment. Before you know it, you find yourself on the tail end of your contract without enough time to explore your surroundings!
If this scenario sounds familiar, you can ask your recruiter if an extension is available or if there are other opportunities in the area. Clearly, there are many things to consider if you plan to work beyond your initial contract, but the good news is that most are within your control. Let’s take a look at what travel nurses should consider when extending an assignment.
When to Extend Your Travel Assignment
Great Work Environment
One of the great things about being a traveling healthcare provider is that you gain valuable experiences working in a variety of environments and workplace cultures. This means you have true insight into what types of workplaces fit your style, career, and life goals. When you find yourself fitting in so well, sometimes an assignment can seem too short.
No matter where your travel career takes you, there will always be relationships built with co-workers and managers. If you find yourself in a great environment, sometimes those relationships hit differently and mean more. If the opportunity presents itself, who wouldn’t want to spend more time working with great people? Especially with everything we have been through over the past year and a half.
More Time to Explore
Whether it is the climate, the scenery, or the local amenities, some places just speak to us. Plus, if you have been on a hectic assignment and haven’t had enough time to hike the local canyons or lounge on the beaches, an extension might be the perfect remedy.
Practical Reasons to Extend
While the emotional reasons to want to extend an assignment might be a stronger pull, there are plenty of practical reasons as well.
- The pandemic has created enough uncertainty over the past year, and staying put for another 13 weeks can provide some welcomed job stability and peace of mind.
- Maybe you haven’t found a new assignment that excites you more than the one you are currently working on.
- You have settled into the current facility and don’t feel ready to start over again right away.
- The thought of going through another orientation right now has zero appeal.
- You can envision yourself working in this geographic area long-term or permanently and want to spend more time to be sure.
As you can see, extending your travel assignment comes with a lot of variables to think through. If someone from facility administration or your manager comes to you directly about extending your current contract, reach out to your recruiter to make sure they are in the know. In other cases, a facility will work directly with your recruiter, so they may be the ones to broach the subject. However the extension offer is presented, you now have an important decision to make.
Making the Decision to Extend
If you are approached about an extension and the decision isn’t a slam dunk, there are logical ways to reach the best decision either way.
- Sit down with a sheet of paper and create a list of pros and cons for extending the assignment.
- Seek input from family and loved ones.
- Talk to your recruiter and find out what other opportunities might be in the pipeline. You don’t want to miss out on a great assignment!
- Listen to your gut. Your instincts can be a valuable barometer on whether or not to stay in a particular assignment.
Making career decisions is never easy, but when you have chosen travel nursing, you are on an exciting path with new adventures around every corner. Sometimes a great assignment warrants an extension, while others end at just the right time. The key is being open to the possibilities!
the shc blog