Stay Focused. Keeping Your Calm in the Face of a Cancellation


June 1, 2020



Stay Focused. Keeping Your Calm in the Face of a Cancellation

This article was provided by OneStaff Medical.

Let’s talk about something a traveling healthcare professional hopes they never have to experience, assignment cancellation. You take each assignment assuming you’ll be there for the full length you agreed to, but right now there is an increase of canceled assignments (especially crisis assignments) due to lower census. We’ve teamed up with a few of our Rockstar recruiters to discuss how to prepare for cancellation and how to be proactive to try to avoid assignments with a good chance of cancellation.

In any situation, it is always best to be proactive and be ready for the worst. Here is some advice before you apply and accept a high risk (of cancellation) assignment.

Senior Recruiter, Kayla Cash:

For the higher risk contracts, crisis contract, etc. I do let the travelers I work with know before we even get their application in that once the crisis, or influx of census drops that there is a risk of the contract being cancelled. I highly encourage you to really start thinking about a back-up plan that we’ll want to pursue if/when that happens. Document that and jump on it right away if/when the time comes. 

Senior Recruiter, Louie Brezina:

By flat out telling the Nurse the facts. Might not be what anyone wants to hear but it is what it is right now. Let them know what we have been seeing on our end of the desk. Nurses getting cancelled the Friday before or 2 weeks in. It truly is unknown what will actually happen, but you have to be ready for the worst. 

Senior Recruiter, Cece Paragas:

Just know in accepting, if they have to cancel, travelers would be the first to go. Make sure to be aware of your budget and make sure you have a nice financial cushion in case your assignment is cancelled.


  • Have a backup plan and be ready to move forward with it
  • Listen to what your recruiter has to say on the matter
  • Make sure you are financially prepared for if/when a cancellation happens

When applying and accepting a high-risk assignment, how do you mentally/financially prepare for anything?

Senior Recruiter, Kayla Cash:

Ideally, their recruiter would give them a heads-up FAR ahead of time, so they are mentally & financially prepared. But I would imagine that not every recruiter is as transparent and/or thorough. In the case that didn’t happen… for the financial side, it’s always a good idea to have a ‘cushion’ in savings when traveling, as there is a lot of unexpected that can happen when traveling across the country in general, let alone for a job. For the mental portion, most of these contracts are going to be shorter term – it’s always a good idea to start thinking of what your plan is following your current contract, so you know what your next plan of action is going to be. That way, IF the contract is cancelled, you do at least have a plan of action in place.

Senior Recruiter, Louie Brezina:

Go in the contract with the mindset that this isn’t forever and as hard as it may seem, don’t take it personally if you do get cancelled. To really avoid a cancellation, it truly is in your best interest to be open to locations or different types of facilities.

Everyone’s finances are completely different. Kind of goes without saying but save, save, save. Make sure that the housing you choose is the best option in that area. Try to track down contracts where you may know someone and can get a deal on short term rent. 

Senior Recruiter, Cece Paragas:

Realize that it’s nothing personal and just know that I will do my very best to find you something ASAP.  You have my Word!


  • Have money saved up for the worst
  • Be thinking of the future and your next assignment
  • Be flexible with location/types of facilities
  • Try to snag the most affordable housing you can
  • Communicate with your recruiter and talk about all of the possibilities

We know that the money for crisis assignments is tempting, but these are the first jobs on the chopping block once census drops. So, let’s discuss what to do when your assignment gets cancelled or cut short by the facility, what’s the next step?

Senior Recruiter, Kayla Cash:

Typically, assignment cancellation is going to be due to a drop in census on the unit. When I get this notification, typically via email, I reach out to the traveler right away and let them know about the info I got and chat with them to see if there’s any other unit’s they’d be open to working at the facility to try to keep their contract going. At that point, if willing to switch units, I’d get back to the facility/vendor and let them know that we’re willing to do everything we can to continue aiding the facility in any way possible & that the traveler would really like to stay if possible. Granted this doesn’t always work, it is always worth a try! In the meantime, I would be chatting with the traveler about back up options elsewhere, so we don’t have all of our eggs in one basket. 

Senior Recruiter, Louie Brezina:

Nurses have a great deal of pride in their career (as they should). So, I’m sure it’s easier said than done…You have to believe that it’s not a personal jab and that unfortunately that is the market we are in right now. I would like to say be choosy on your next contract, but with jobs cut short right now; it’s not really an option. Seasoned recruiters will know which contracts are legitimately hiring candidates, not cancelling, calling off, etc. Now, more than ever you have to trust that your recruiter is setting you up for success. 


  • Be flexible to potentially working in another unit to keep the contract going
  • Have a back-up plan
  • Understand the decision is in no way personal
  • Openly communicate with your recruiter
  • Trust that your recruiter is setting you up for success

If your assignment gets cancelled and you need help getting back on your feet before your next assignment; here is how to file for unemployment.

Where: You file for unemployment in the state where you last worked. Here is a list of each state and where to file.

What info will I need: Name, social security number, date of birth, phone number, and the facility name and address where you last worked and potentially your banking information.

When will I receive money: With an increase in unemployment due to the pandemic, payments are taking longer than normal, so be warned.  

Assignment Cancellation isn’t ideal for any traveler, but always remember it is a possibility being in this industry. Be prepared for the unexpected and have that solid relationship with your recruiter to help them help you when times get tough. Keep your head up and keep moving forward.

Check out the

Leave a Reply

Join The Gypsy Nurse Nation

Discover new jobs, subscribe to customized job alerts and unlock unlimited resources for FREE.

Join our travel nursing community today!