What to know before Signing the Travel Nurse Contract

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By The Gypsy Nurse Staff

August 8, 2018



Step #13: Sealing the Deal

You have come a long way.  You’ve completed steps 1-12 at this point and your ready to move on to the next step; Sealing The Deal.  This should be the easy part but I’m going to warn you upfront that you need to be very cautious at this point.

Review the Written Contract

Before you inform all the companies, you must first make certain that your contract is acceptable.  On more than one occasion, I have declined a position that I wanted due to contract issues.  It’s not a detrimental thing, to reject an offer after reviewing the contract and finding it unacceptable. When you verbally accept an offer it is contingent on the written contract being acceptable. If the written contract is not acceptable simply tell your recruiter that you will accept it only if XYZ is changed. If they don’t change those things and provide you with a NEW contract then don’t accept and move on to another company.


Understand all aspects of the contract. Once signing the travel nurse contract you are held to all of the terms of the contract.

In Step #11 we went through preliminary contract negotiations.  This was all verbally done and hopefully you took some notes along the way.  Once you tell a recruiter that you want to accept the position, they will draw up a written contract for you.  It’s important that you READ your contract thoroughly.  Make certain that all the ‘promises’ that you discussed with the recruiter are included before signing the travel nurse contract.  No matter how small the issue, if it’s something that is important to you make certain that it’s written into the contract.  Go through your notes and check off each item that was agreed upon with the recruiter once you verify that it is addressed in the contract.

It’s also important that you understand everything that is in your contract. If there are items that you find confusing or don’t understand, ask your recruiter to explain. Once you sign the contract you are held to all of the terms of the contract.

signing the travel nurse contract

travel nurse checklist
Before signing the travel nurse contract, check to see if these items are included:

  • Guaranteed Hours
  • Penalties for hospital canceled hours/shifts.
  • Any hour cancellations allowed by Hospital i.e. Maximum of 2 shifts during contract (this will override the guaranteed hours)
  • Missed hour penalties (sickness)
  • Housing location/stipend amount: This should include any housing promises ie. washer/dryer, TV, etc.
  • Hourly, holiday and overtime rates with detailed per-diem (non-taxable) rate/amount.
  • Shift and unit assigned
  • On Call requirements; if any.
  • Contract start and end dates
  • Travel reimbursements and date of distribution
  • Floating agreements
  • Any benefits offered
  • Any penalties for early termination need to be detailed and understandable.

Other Items

Your contract should also address any additional agreements that you and your recruiter or the hospital manager have agreed upon.  These things may include requested days off, specific orientation for un-assigned units, pet-friendly housing (deposits), etc.

Before signing the travel nurse contract, read then return to it the following day and read it again. If you have someone who you trust, you could have a friend/co-worker/family member also read through the contract and see if there is anything missing/wrong.

If there are issues with the contract; inform your recruiter right away and DO NOT sign.  Once the contract has been corrected to your liking, sign and fax to the recruiter.  Request a copy of the completed contract from your recruiter (after signed by them).  You will need to keep this with your work papers and have available at all times while on site.

Communication on All Submissions

You have probably submitted for more than one position with most likely more than one company.  It’s important to remember that you should make certain to notify all parties once you have accepted a contract.  Give your respectful declination’s to any companies that you are not going to be working with and let them know that their hard work was appreciated and you will check with them when your contract is coming to a close. If there are submissions pending, ask them to withdraw them.

Don’t burn bridges here. COMMUNICATE. This is a business and if you’ve been upfront about working with multiple companies, it’s expected that you will take a contract with another company sooner or later. There are some great things to be said for ‘loyalty’ but not at the detriment of your job satisfaction.

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