Travel Nursing Advice - Questions and Answers about Sticky Situations.

See questions and answers about travel nurse sticky situations, or ask your own.

Question

I was just on my very first traveling assignment and the job cancelled my traveling contract. Where do I go from here?

Response

First, donít panic. While a cancelled contract is not a super frequent occurrence, it does happen, even to veteran travel nurses, and one cancelled contract is not the end of your career. Make sure that you have a good understanding of exactly why your contract was cancelled; this will help you forge a plan to move forward. Itís possible the cancellation was not about you personally and that the facilityís demand simply changed. Itís also possible that the match between you and the facility was not a good fit, but that does not necessarily mean you would not do well at another location.

The best thing you can do at this time is work closely with a trusted recruiter. This person can answer all of your questions and address your concerns, help you review the contract to make sure that the cancellation is being handled correctly, and also work to facilitate your next career move.


Question

I recently was employed by Aureus. They lied, promised re-certification for PALS and TNCC, talked badly behind my back to the hospital I was working at (I have a voice mail sent to me in error), would promise me per phone agreements but not put anything in writing etc. etc. Could go on and on. Am now black balled from certain "Catholic" associations. I signed on for a twelve week contract and wanted to start two weeks later then when the original contract was signed. Quick and in a hurry after up to 20 phone calls a day I agreed to start two weeks early. Not being the smartest person on the planet, I did not read the 2nd contract; other then they changed the start date. Later to find out, they never changed the end date so was committed to two weeks longer than expected. I think Aureus is a group of liars, thieves and the worst kind of people to work for. I would like my pay checks audited (nothing was itemized) and I would l like to get them looked at by somebody who they have to account to. Can you help me?

Response

Sorry to hear about your troubles. Aureus has had an iffy reputation in the industry.

There are three options you could look at:

1. You could contact an attorney, but that could be very costly for your issue and not get you very far considering you did sign a second contract.

2. You could contact PAN Travelers (www.pantravelers.org/index.php) and see what they can do to help. They are advocates for traveling nurses and go to bat for their members offering legal advice and services.

3. You can contact NATHO (http://natho.org/), an association of travel nursing companies of which Aureus is a member. Their goal is to hold the members to a high set of ethics and standards. They have seemed to exist more for the benefit of companies than travelers however so be aware of that if you approach them. Hope these options are able to guide you in the right direction.

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Question

I was blacklisted from HCA hospitals due to my complaining to a manager about unsafe practices, will this make traveling assignments difficult to find for me?

Response

Being blacklisted from HCA shouldnít make it difficult for you to find traveling assignments as there are many other options for hospitals. Discuss your situation with your recruiter and he or she can assist you in finding the right fit.

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Question

I have an active compact license and a DUI, I have been a traveler nurse in the past, what do travel companies think of prior DUI's? Can I still travel?

Response

That is a good question, but one you shouldnít have to fret too much over. The only time this is really an issue is the following:

1. If there is discipline on your RN license because of it

2. If it is not disclosed up front on your application

3. If it is current, meaning still open court dates, still on probation, still suspended DL, etc. Other than that a DUI rarely causes problems.

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Question

My current travel assignment is at a hospital that has dangerous practices......my license is at risk. I have told the company but they don't care.......can I get out of the contract?

Response

This is a tricky situation that you should approach with proper caution. First as far as protecting your license goes you should not accept a patient assignment or participate in practices which are unsafe. You need to document these situations and discuss your hospital manager. You could also at that point discuss with the hospital and see if they could come to a mutual end of your assignment. This may upset your company however, so be prepared to cut ties with them if need be. But you do not want to work with any agency that leaves you out to dry in a situation like this any way. If after talking with your hospital manager you still feel that you need to end your assignment then you need to look at your contract to see what happens if you break it. There can be financial costs to you if you do so, so be prepared. This will also possibly mean no longer working with that agency, but saving your license is worth it.

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Question

I was terminated after 13 years from my job, specializing in dialysis. The termination was unexpected, as my state is a "right to work" state I had no recourse but to simply accept the termination. I've been looking into dialysis travel nursing, but both companies I have spoken with have terrible reviews from the travel nurses who have worked for them (not on their site...but other review sites not affiliated with said companies). What should I do? Which company? How will I know which one is honest? I understand they are in it for the money, but there has to be at least one honest company out there, right? My company had a new manager, 6 months later I was terminated. I am still untrustworthy of "corporations" but I love dialysis. What should I do?

Response

Sorry to hear about your situation, but it does open some new doors for you at the same time. As far as companies go, there are a lot of good trustworthy companies out there it will just take talking to more than one or two of them. It is good you have found the review sites that should be your guide. A lot of travel nurses say that there is no perfect company only the perfect company for you. You just have to find one that you feel comfortable with. Try asking some of the companies you are getting good vibes from if you can talk to some of their travelers directly. Try to get at least one current and one past traveler for a good perspective. If they balk at this you may not want to go with them. If they let you then you will have the chance to really find out what the company is all about. Also be sure to ask lots of questions of your recruiter and study any contracts carefully. Good luck.

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Question

I'm a traveler on assignment in Portland Or and unfortunatly the area is making me sick ( high dose steroids and antibiotics) and I don't think I can stay. Any advice to get out of the assignment? Other than seeing an allergist to confirm the weather issues and my health. thanks

Response

I would start by talking to your recruiter. They are your career lifeline and best one to give you advice. Plus, theyíve most likely handled similar situations by other travelers. You definitely want to keep your travel nurse reputation intact and keep a good relationship with your recruiter so they can recommend you for other assignments. There might be a possibility that they will suggest you getting a doctorís note for your allergies, but if it means you can gracefully exit an assignmentÖ I would say itís worth it. I also recommend reading a past question we had about this: Breaking a Travel Contract - Itís really not advisable to leave an assignment, since itís 3 months is so short of a time period. You might actually have to pay out of pocket for lost costs the company incurred such as housing (if you took the company housing). Hope that helps

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Question

I am in the middle of a 13 week contract and the facility is already hinting that they would like me to consider renewing for another 13week assignment when this one ends. Do I have any leverage with my agency for increased per diem or hourly taxable rate? I figure if the hospital wants me for another assignment...wouldn't my agency be willing to add a raise to the renewal contract? Just not sure how to approach this...thanks!

Response

It is worth a try because agencies want travelers hospitals love, but it may not be that easy. Every company handles its pay for travel nurses differently so how successful you are at this will depend on how they do it. Many simply provide a rate and that is it and there is very little to no negotiating room. Others offer more customizable pay packages with more room to negotiate, but in this case it may depend on how everything was set up the first time. You may be at the upper limit of what they can offer you and therefore you donít have room to go up. In either case it does not hurt to ask. However you may be asking why your company simply does not go back to the hospital and ask for more money. But in many cases that is more difficult than it sounds. Rates for jobs are often negotiated in advance so it is difficult for them to negotiate in a one off situation. That is not to say it doesn't happen it is just not as simple as it sounds.

Also, keep in mind that the key to understanding the pay for travel nurses is knowing how and where the money is allocated. Some companies will spend more on your housing while others may put more towards your insurance or some other benefit. Here is a good article about how that allocation piece works and how to go about negotiating your pay as a travel nurse Should I be able to negotiate my wages with my recruiter?.

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Question

On my first assignment with LRS healthcare. And first ever travel assignment. I have been less than happy with this company but am wondering is the "nature of the beast"? Last week I was put on call by the hospital. The company paid only a fraction of the per diem and expenses even though I was required to remain Close to the facility. When I was cancelled a night in June, I was paid the full per diem and expenses. This is my last week on this assignment.

I have been on assignment 26 weeks and whenever I have had an issue, I have been told "I will look into it" and nothing ever is done. I am talking to other agencies for next assignment but I'm wondering if I have any recourse for the pay discrepancy?

Response

Sorry to hear you are having a bad experience. There are better companies out there and you should look at some review sites to see what other travelers have to say about the travel nursing companies they have worked with. Here are some sites you can find reviews on:

Travel Nursing Central

Travel Nursing Blogs

Healthcare Travelbook

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Question

Emergency at home, What should I do? I am on assignment and my mother was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I just arrived on assignment and worked 1 week. I just got news about my mother with given 1 - 2 weeks to live. I need to go home and my company is pressuring me to stay on the job . They will not issue me my travel pay to the assignment if i miss the 2nd week of work. and they are deducting out of my pay ck for the rent if I miss 1 week. they are not very forgiving since I have an emergency at home. what should i do? I am not even sure i can continue with this assignment now.

Response

Sorry to hear about your situation. This decision is really going to be up to you. It is more than reasonable that you would want to be at home with your mother, but first off you need to go over your contract and see what you are bound to and what recourse you may have. There also may be financial ramifications for breaking a contract, so you will want to consider that as well. Breaking a contract can impact your future in travel nursing, not only with your current company, but any others you choose to work with. So it is never something to be taken lightly. It sounds like you have been upfront with your recruiter which is good. And in this case you may have no choice but to break it. But first have you asked about the possibility of just going home for a week or readjusting your schedule to allow for some longer stretches of days off so you can get home in small chunks of time? How your company reacts and treats you going forward will tell you a lot about kind of company you are working with. A good company will give you a second chance in my opinion, if you still want to travel after this situation passes. Before you just break the contract do your best to work out a solution that will make both you and your travel nurse company happy.

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Question


I just wanted to know if you have any information for people who are out of temp agency work. How do they file umemployment? with whom?

Response


If you go to the following website: http://www.thebeehive.org/Templates/Jobs/Level3Image.aspx?PageId=1.529.571 it should provide you with all the information you need to know such as whether or not you qualify for unemployment and how to find the closest agency to you.

 
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Question


I wanted to try travel nursing .I am retired and i thought I might be able to find a really good hospital not too far from my home. I found lovely nurses, but i found things were not as the nurse manager stated. It is a California hospital and yet they expected me to accept patient assignments out of the legally mandated ratio.

They had a web site that invited suggestions to improve the "Next Generation of Care"
I made some and as a result the hospital terminated me. I had never signed a contract because when it came the contract quoted a higher copay for private housing than the recruiter and I agreed on. She said she would send a new contract.

When the hospital terminated me, the travel company determined I was still a viable travel nurse and the recriuter said she would try and get the company to waive the housing charges if i accepted another assignment right away.To make this brief they owe me money for the amount they over charged me and they owe me money for the california penalty on delayed meal periods, but now they have sent me an invoice to pay housing charges.

i was perfectly willing to finish my contract, but the hospital terminated me so i dont feel i should be charged any thing but the contract says... if you start work and you don't sign a contract,. it is a contract. I asked if they were going to charge me for housing anyway...couldn't they just let me stay. They said no i had to be out in 48 hrs.

i have filed a discrimination complaint with the state as I feel hospital terminated me for internal whistle blowing and at the advise of a labor lawyer. I have requested my lawyer write them a letter. I also wrote a letter to the travel agency team leader with my complaints and i intend to file a missing wage complaint with the state labor board.
Can you give me any other suggestions please?
Does anyone have any idea how far they will go to try and collect on housing charges?

Response


Sounds like you are taking all the right steps in fighting back. Unfortunately, these type of situations seem to be happening more often as more and more agencies are going into business every day. We could advise a lawyer who is interested in contract law for travelers, but it sounds like you are already getting necessary legal advice.

There is a movement for traveling nurses to join together right now to fight against these issues, but it has a long way to go. We hope to be one of the leaders in this effort.

Meanwhile, we would love it if you were to keep us updated as to how things evolve in this situation so we can share it with your fellow travelers who could find themselves in similar situations (hopefully not though).

It's scary to be in a situation like this. You can be left feeling vulnerable and alone. Seeking out advise and allies is your best bet to keep you strong and to fight for what you know is right. Keep us all posted. We are cheering you on.

Thank you for your prompt answer. iN AN EFFORT TO PREVENT IT FROM HAPPENING i AM NOW ASKING PROSPECTIVE travel companies for sample contracts and as another writer
on your site was advised I intend to ask for a clause that if the hospital backs out of the contract that they bear all the expense. I will never travel again if I don't get this. MY current non traveling employer really appreciates me and even though I am casual call I have loyalty to them.

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Question


The hospital I am currently under contract with is cancelling my contract 6 weeks early. They are cancelling all travelers at the hospital. My recruiter tells me that it is OK and that we need to find another assignment. Does this hospital not have to "settle" this contract? What do I get out of this besides a lot of worry? Any advice on this matter will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Response


I really feel for you on this one. Life is not always as it should be. Obviously, the hospital should have the decency to finish out their remaining contracts on ethical grounds at least.

Legally......every contract is different so it is hard to say if they are obligated by law. The contract may have a standard clause saying they could discontinue at any time for any reason. It is also likely that your recruiter doesn't know. Many recruiters are not allowed to view contracts.

You could curse and pull your hair out trying to get to the bottom of it and it probably wouldn't be worth the effort. If you like your company, I would definitely use this situation to negotiate for extra benefits on your next assignment to compensate your hardship and disorientation.

I can tell you that this situation is not common. Many hospitals will gradually taper off rather than drop off. Also, the next time..... you can always try to negotiate for a statement in your contract with the agency stating they (the agency) will pay you for the length of the contract should such an occurrence happen in the future again that is out of your control.

Good luck. Remember blessing sometimes happen in funny ways. Who knows what is going to happen now. Please let me know if it leads to something great. Life has a funny way of doing that.

Followup
Thanks for such a speedy reply. You are right when you said blessings happen in funny ways.
Although I like the hospital that is canceling me, I have just found out that a hospital I had been to before, and loved, is needing immediate help.

I will be asking for a clause in my contract regarding cancellations from now on.
Thanks again,

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