5 Things To Consider Before Quitting a Difficult Assignment

By Healthtrust Workforce Solutions

March 29, 2018

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5 Things All Travel Nurses Should Consider Before Quitting a Difficult Assignment

This article is sponsored by HealthTrust Workforce Solutions ®

Think a bit before you quit

Quitting a Difficult Assignment

Two of the most important things a travel nurse considers before accepting an assignment are the pay and the location. And while many flock to the destination of their dreams, the reality can sometimes fall short of expectations. The hospital, community, and even the actual job conditions may leave any travel nurse feeling frustrated.  The first step is to resolve as much of the issue or situation as possible while still fulfilling your duties. This is especially true even if the actual assignment differs greatly from the terms you agreed to in the contract. Try to get everyone on the same page calmly. It’s also important to draw on your support system during difficult times, which can be challenging since family and friends are likely a distance away.  If these measures don’t prove successful and you are still contemplating quitting a difficult assignment, be sure you try to anticipate the ramifications before making a final decision. Read on for five things to consider before you quit a difficult assignment.

1.) Are the location rewards worth the work worry?
If you find yourself in an assignment that isn’t quite living up to what you had hoped, step back for a minute and remember why you are there. Chances have you selected the assignment based on the climate and lifestyle that the location could afford you. Maybe you are close to the ocean, the mountains, or a lake. You can now swim, or ski, or surf in your free time. There are significant benefits to such emotional health that are tough to measure and sometimes even tougher to appreciate until they are gone.  Also, remember that there are very few, if any, perfect jobs out there. Every assignment will have its ups and downs. All facilities have their share of management challenges or personnel issues. Try to weigh your current frustrations against the benefits of your total environment. The friends you may have made, the short commute, or even a few patients which whom you have really connected. And in most cases, the travel nurse jobs are short-term, which means the end is always in sight.

2.) What will happen to the trust factor and your career?
Chances are, even if a particular assignment is not going well, you are not necessarily ready to throw in the towel on the entire travel nurse industry. That means that your reputation remains very important. Recruiters tend to spend a significant amount of time getting to know travel nurses to help match them with compatible assignments. This time and effort can seem like a total loss if you walk away from something they matched up with. This can quickly erode trust. In fact, if you cancel, you may not be eligible for rehire at that specific facility as well as at every facility in their network. You may fall further down the call list when a good assignment comes up, and worse yet, you could get totally blacklisted. If you cancel an assignment, especially with little notice, the impact reaches far beyond the agency.  The void impacts hospitals, patient care delivery, your traveling colleagues, and of course, your own career.  Travelers must understand that their performance follows them everywhere; agencies want to feel they have a trusted partnership.

3.) Is patient care your top priority?
As a healthcare professional, the well-being of patients should be job one every day. Broken contracts hurt the delivery of patient care, period. When shifts are not filled as planned, facilities often have very little time or resources to back-fill, which could lead to closed units for a period of time. It also leads administrators to ask their staff to do mandatory overtime until relief arrives. As you debate whether to leave an assignment prematurely, try to understand why you came to the job in the first place. Be proud of the service you are doing and the impact that spreads beyond the hospital walls. Your role is significant—your efforts and knowledge change life. Keep this perspective as you weigh the pros and cons of quitting, and be sure to talk to your recruiter and express your concerns. Most companies involved with travelers are familiar with a wide range of difficult situations and will try to help.

4.)What about your colleagues?
As a traveler, you have gained a great deal of respect and appreciation for other caregivers. You must realize that canceling a shift or quitting an assignment is very disruptive to your colleagues. They are often asked to change shifts or days off to accommodate your absence. It also causes the agency to lose money. When a travel assignment is canceled, the agency absorbs financial losses; this, in turn, affects the ability of the agency to offer the most competitive pay packages to you and other travelers.

Put the financial losses aside, and any broken contract is not good for the travel industry. Hospitals tackle the chronic staffing shortage by looking to travelers who are contracted to provide relief and serve as a reliable, professional solution. By canceling a booked assignment, you are essentially discrediting the travel industry and can cause hospitals to distrust travelers. This can quickly mean fewer assignment choices for you and your fellow travelers. Think of these broader repercussions, especially if you want to remain a traveler.

6.) What are the financial implications?
Very often, problems that arise on a travel assignment can be worked out without having to cancel the contract. It’s important that you at least try to resolve issues before walking away because there could be penalties passed along to you if an assignment is vacated without acceptable cause. For example, if the reason is not justified, you might be out of money for housing and travel. There are countless reasons—including your ability to find future work—to make sure that you, as a traveling nurse, represent your agency, colleagues, and most importantly, yourself professionally.

Have you ever had to quit a difficult assignment? What made your mind up? If you would like to share your tips for deciding to quit a difficult assignment comment them below.

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