What if you love your current assignment from your travel nursing agency so much you want to stay? Listen up on how to extend your contract, and maintain your expectations for your travel nursing career.

What is the Travel Nurse One Year Rule?

A typical nursing travel job assignment lasts 13 weeks. However, in some cases, travel nurses can extend their assignment another 39 weeks. In order for a travel nursing job assignment to be considered temporary, it has to be less than one year in duration. Any traveling nurse who lives in another state for less than a year will receive a number of different tax advantages. That’s why it is so important for a registered nurse to have a permanent tax home. If you are looking to start a travel nursing assignment, talk with a tax advisor for further information on your unique situation.

What is an extension?

An extension is when nurses decide to extend past their initial travel nurse assignment length at their current facility. The history of traveling nursing tells us that the length can vary depending on the hospital’s needs and what nursing assignment the traveler is looking to do. Travel nursing extensions have their benefits, and some would even agree to say they are easier in comparison to starting a new search for a next travel assignment.

Let’s think for a minute about some of the positives of extending a traveling nurse assignment

  • You are already credentialed with the facility!
  • No need for a new state license!
  • No onboarding and orientation!
  • No interviewing! You don’t have to re-enter the nursing job market and/or interview for a new job
  • Housing is already done! No need to start that stressful housing stipend and search process all over again.
  • No travel expenses!
  • You continue to enjoy your current location, facility, travel nursing as a couple, and the new friends you’ve made
  • Allows you more time to think about where you want to go for your next nurse assignment.
  • You can ask for time off in between ending your current contract & starting your extension!
    • Host Healthcare is a nursing agency that allows up to 30 days’ time-off in between contracts without losing Medical Benefits!!

How do you even go about asking for an extension & when?

It is never too early to start talking about or dropping hints that you want to be working here for longer than your original contract. There are two main people you need to speak to make it happen: Your Nurse Manager & Your Recruiter. It is a big compliment to any Nurse Manager to hear from a travel nurse that they want to extend their experience, and who doesn’t like a compliment? This puts things into action getting the right contract approvals from the facility. Next, tell your recruiter ASAP! These are the two main points of contact to set things into motion for you. You’ll want to let the recruiter from your nurse staffing agency know how many additional weeks (5,8,13,26,39…) you want to be a nurse there and also how much, if any, time off you want in between contracts. You want to mention if you have brought this up to your manager already or not. Now your recruiter will know how to work it up the ladder at the facility to secure the travel nursing extension. This path allows travel nurses to know where they are going to be for months in advance and will enable you to plan for your next opportunities as healthcare professionals!

On the flip side, extensions may not always be available for nurse jobs. This can be due to numerous reasons such as; facility budgets, a contract was to cover maternity leave or the facility hired a perm candidate. There is a reason travel exists. Such as, to fill a position at a facility when there is a shortage in staffing. This is why the more open you can be on working locations when in your search for a travel contract, it can help you get the most out of your travel career!

In short, extending your contract assignment has a lot of great benefits when offered. If you chose to extend for whatever your reason is, it is your reason! Build your travel career the way you want—just keep an open, honest line of communication with your recruiter and your agency so they can best help shape your nursing career!