Here is your official reminder that summer contracts will be coming up soon! Winter rates will be winding down before we know it, and it’s always good to have a plan to get through summertime as a travel nurse. Less flu and respiratory patients mean the census will drop, and job postings will inevitably decrease, but that does not mean you will be unemployed this summer. You can find the perfect summer contract with a little planning and preparation. Here are some tips to do just that.
Summer contracts: what you need to know:
1. Strategize Your Extensions
How are you feeling about your current contract? Is it doable for a little while longer? Even if it isn’t your favorite unit or location, if the pay is right and you have decent housing, it might be worth considering an extension. A lot of the time, units may keep current travelers even if they are not actively hiring additional travelers. Use that to your advantage!
2. Have Profiles on File With Multiple Agencies
Now is the time to make sure you have relationships with more than one agency. The more options you have for jobs, the better! Each agency will have different relationships with facilities, so you never know what one recruiter might have that’s different from your current recruiter. Not sure how to find a new company to work with? Check out our list of Top Travel Nurse Agencies for 2023.
3. Save Money Now
While you are still making money on winter rates, make sure to save a little extra. As travel nurses, it’s always good to have an emergency fund, but it is especially important going into summer. Sometimes, if you can’t find a summer contract you’re interested in for the summer months, you might be able to take some time off instead.
4. Consider PRN Work
If you are having trouble finding a summer contract to work, you might see if you can sign on PRN for a hospital at your current location OR back home. Working PRN usually gets you a higher hourly rate but requires less commitment than a full-time job. Some agencies even do PRN staffing, so look into that as well.
5. Work a Less Desirable Specialty
Have LTAC experience but prefer to work ICU? During the summer slow down, it might be time to bust out your other skills. Try broadening your search by looking into summer contracts in areas that you have experience with but don’t “love.” Of course, you can’t work as a traveler in an area you have zero experience in, so if you have only ever done one specialty, this isn’t a great option. And remember–you can do anything for 13 weeks!
6. Don’t. Panic.
Every single year around springtime, the travel nursing pages are full of travelers complaining that the market is crashing, there are no more jobs, and the rates are plummeting. If you are an experienced traveler, you understand that this, too, shall pass. Stay calm, and remember that the travel nurse industry is one of supply and demand. Once fall rolls back around, respiratory admissions will go up, and the market will stabilize. It happens every year like clockwork!
If your desire is to work full-time, year-round, as a travel nurse, it is completely doable. Summer might be a slower time, but if you plan ahead and communicate with your recruiters, you should be able to stay employed. Also, remember that flexibility is key in this industry. You might not get your perfect summer placement, but if your goal is to keep working, you might have to make some concessions in one area or another.
We hope you found this article on summer contracts and what you should know now to prepare for them. Do you have any tips for preparing for summer contracts? Comment them below.