As a travel nurse or allied health traveler, you have the unique opportunity to travel across the country and explore different destinations about every 13-ish weeks. But what happens if you fall in love with the medical facility you work in? Or, what if you’re captivated by the natural scenery of the location and you find yourself with a desire to enjoy it longer? Maybe you’re exceeding expectations and the facility asks you to stay — what do you do?
If you’ve found yourself asking these questions, it may be a sign that you should stay longer and extend your allied health or travel nurse assignment. Extending your allied health or travel nurse contract is a win-win for both you and the facility you’re staffing. Here’s everything you need to know about a healthcare travel contract extension.
- What it means to extend your allied health or travel nurse contract
- 6 benefits of an allied health or travel nurse contract extension
- How to extend your allied health or travel nurse contract
- ✨BONUS ✨Frequently asked questions
Benefits of Extending Your Healthcare Travel Contract
What it means to extend your allied health or travel nurse contract
Thinking about an allied health or travel nursing contract extension? That means that you’ve decided to stick around in the same facility or location a little bit longer!
When you extend an allied health or travel nurse assignment, a second travel contract is written to update the length of the agreement. The specific time added to your allied health or travel nurse contract will vary based on your schedule and availability, as well as the medical facility’s staffing needs. Most commonly, extensions will be for an additional 13 weeks, but can be anywhere between two all the way up to 39 weeks. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what’s best for your healthcare travel career.
“Many travelers love to extend their allied health or travel nurse contracts,” said Fusion Medical Staffing Nursing Client Manager Monica Wichman. “Facilities will ask travel nurses and allied health professionals to extend if they have a need for them in the unit. Travelers choose to extend for a multitude of reasons. If they love the area, the facility they are contracted with, and the new friends they’ve made in the unit they’re working, then they will usually stay for at least one allied or travel nursing contract extension.”
While allied health and travel nurse contracts may be extended, there is a time limit set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). According to the IRS, a temporary work assignment away from home must last less than a year. As such, travel nurses and allied health travelers can deduct expenses such as travel transportation, temporary housing costs, meals, mileage, and more from their taxes to save money. However, any work assignment away from home that lasts more than one year is considered “indefinite,” and therefore ineligible for tax deductions.
“I can’t think of many cons to extending,” Monica said. “[The only thing is] many professionals travel because they like to see new places. Extending a contract will keep you in the same location a little longer but offers plenty of other benefits.”
6 benefits of an allied health or travel nurse contract extension
Whether you’re not ready to give up your sweet housing digs or you’ve built unbreakable connections with perm staff — whatever your reason, sometimes 13 weeks just isn’t enough time. When you find an allied health or travel nursing assignment you like, there are many perks to extending your contract. These are just a few.
No need to reapply
One often overlooked but significant advantage of extending your allied or travel nursing contract is that you don’t have to go through the strenuous job application and hiring process all over again. Extending your allied health or travel nursing contract allows you to continue working where you left off, so you don’t have to re-answer interview questions or worry about whether you got the job.
No repeat credentialing
Credentialing can be a lengthy and tedious process for travel nurses and allied health professionals. By choosing to extend your contract, you can save yourself the hassle and time spent on obtaining state licenses, updating immunizations, and completing a drug screening, giving you more time to focus on what you love most: providing top-notch care to your patients. This means less paperwork, less waiting, and less stress for you.
Already familiar with the facility
Another great perk of travel contract extensions is the familiarity you already have with the hospital or healthcare facility. Since you already have a few weeks under your belt, you’re well-acquainted with the layout of the facility, as well as the procedures, protocols, and charting system. This familiarity not only makes your job easier but also improves your efficiency and overall performance.
No packing and moving
It’s true that there are countless perks to being a travel nurse or allied health traveler, but packing up your belongings and moving them may not be on the list. But when you extend your current contract, you can wave goodbye to disassembling your life and instead, stay in the same place.
The key to not having to pack and move with a travel contract extension is notifying the right people ASAP. Most importantly, your Fusion Medical Staffing recruiter but depending on your choice of housing stipend vs agency-provided housing, that could also include a landlord or property owner. That way, you can continue living wherever you are!
Knowing friendly faces
Extending your travel nurse or allied health contract means that you already know your colleagues and have built relationships with them. Having coworkers you can trust and rely on makes your workload more manageable, promotes a healthy work environment, and enhances your job satisfaction. Plus, you never know when these bonds will transform into supportive friendships that last well beyond your contracted term.
More time to explore your surroundings
Not ready to bid adieu to your surroundings? When you opt for a contract extension, it opens the door to a world of opportunities for exploration and adventure.
With extra time in your location, you can thoroughly immerse yourself in the local culture, cuisine, and landscapes that make your destination worthwhile. Rather than a swift visit to the most popular tourist hotspots, you get the chance to uncover hidden gems and enrich your travel experience with a deeper understanding and appreciation of where you are.
How to extend your allied health or travel nurse contract
When it comes to extending your travel nurse or allied health contract, we believe it’s never too early to have “the talk.” Oftentimes, your Fusion Medical Staffing recruiter will check-in with you around week four of your allied health or travel nurse assignment to gauge your vibe.
Once they know you’re interested in extending your travel contract, they’ll ask you for how long and if you have any requested days off within that timeframe. Then, your allied health or travel nursing recruiter will reach out to the healthcare facility and find out if a contract extension is possible for you.
“Many times, facilities bring in travelers to cover a medical leave or a vacancy until a perm staff is hired,” Monica said. “Other times, they’re short-staffed and will continue to extend the traveler for as long as they’d like.”
The best part about asking for an assignment extension is the worst answer is “no.” There are times where facilities will choose not to offer travel contract extensions. For example, the hospital only needed someone short-term, or the facility budget wasn’t approved, and they can’t afford you. 💅
And if your request to extend your allied health or travel nurse contract is denied by the facility, your Fusion Medical Staffing recruiter is there to help you land another travel opportunity, maintaining your peace of mind and job security.
Frequently asked questions
What are the cons of extending allied health and travel nursing contracts?
The biggest con to healthcare travel contract extensions is also a major pro: the opportunity to stay in one location. On the flip side of comfort and familiarity are new places you’re not experiencing (yet). Allied health and travel nursing contracts give you the freedom to venture to almost anywhere you want an sticking to one spot may not be the type of good time you’re looking for.
How long can a healthcare traveler stay in one place?
Per the IRS, as a travel nurse or allied health traveler, you can stay in one place for up to one year and still maintain your traveler status and benefits, including tax-free stipends. If you do stay in one spot for more than a year, your stipends will become taxable, and you lose those funds. Keep this in mind as you think about whether to extend your travel nurse or allied travel contract.
Can I negotiate the terms of my contract extension?
Yes! Think of extending as a second chance to review the terms of your allied health or travel nurse contract and potentially negotiate something more beneficial. Although there’s never a guarantee that all your terms will be accepted and met, it’s worth a try to ensure you have the best experience possible!
When negotiating your contract, keep in mind things like pay, start date, duration, shift type, and time off. Negotiating can be intimidating, so don’t hesitate to phone a friend from your Fusion Medical Staffing dream team. You’ll be in good hands with your allied health or travel nurse recruiter, compliance specialists, and clinical experts.
How can I be sure extending my travel nurse or allied health contract is the right move for me?
Not 100% sold that a contract extension is the way to go? Try checking in with yourself by asking these questions:
👉 👈 What specifically do I love about my current assignment?
👉 👈 Did I establish good relationships with the people I work with?
👉 👈 Is the workload manageable and am I comfortable with the patient population?
👉 👈 Does my temporary housing and living conditions satisfy my needs?
👉 👈 Have the cultural and recreational activities met my expectations?
👉 👈 Do I feel that I have more to learn and contribute to this facility?
👉 👈 Does extending my travel contract align with my long-term career goals?
Deciding to extend your travel nurse or allied health contract is a personal choice that hinges on your individual needs, professional goals, and the experiences you’ve had during your current assignment. Regardless of if you stay or if you go, it all boils down to what fills your bucket, and you can’t go wrong either way.