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Travel Contract Cancellation: What You Need to Know 

Treyvon Kurr
Reading Time: 3 minutes

You’re excited to go to your next travel assignment when you receive the worst news possible: your contact got canceled. Or maybe an emergency popped up, and you need to cancel your contract. As a traveling nurse, physical therapist or other travel medical professional, the cancelation of a travel contract can send ripples through your life and affect your career. 


Reasons for Cancelation 

There are several reasons for cancelations, and each party can cancel a contract. Some of the main types of cancellations we see are: 

Medical Professionals 

Medical professionals likely won’t cancel their contract unless something comes up, ranging from a health issue to an emergency. When nurses cancel a contract, they can face an assortment of consequences, including: 

·      Banned from the hospital or hospital network 

·      Dropped by the agency 

·      Needing to reimburse the agency 

·      Paying for travel and living expenses, breaking a lease 

·      Lack of references 


Deciding to cancel a contract as a medical professional is not a decision to get taken lightly. Although not every nurse will deal with the consequences listed above, especially if they have a pre-established relationship with the hospital, it’s important to realize what a traveler may face if they cancel. 


Hospitals frequently cancel contracts. Some of the most common reasons hospitals cancel include: 


·      Filling the position with a full-time employee 

·      Census dropped 

·      Finances 

·      Overestimated their need 

·      Canceled for “good cause” (e.g., traveler fought with staff, medical negligence, lied about credentials) 


Unlike medical professionals, hospitals’ consequences for cancellation are slim; although, some agencies may charge a fee. However, this doesn’t negate the traveler losing their income. A good agency will attempt to place a traveler dismissed without good cause in a nearby hospital ASAP—although sometimes these don’t work out either. 


Agencies are the least likely of the three to cancel a contract. The only time this happens is when they decide to no longer do business with a network or hospital because bills aren’t paid. Again, this is exceedingly rare as agencies work hard to build relationships with hospitals and travelers alike. 


Dealing with Travel Contract Cancellation 

If your contract gets canceled, there are a few things you can do to make the process easier. 

Weigh Your Options 

There are two options you can take when your contract gets canceled: look for immediate placement in another hospital or take it to court. We’ll talk more later about the former, but we highly suggest not taking the latter course of action unless you have just cause. The only scenario this works for is if you were reported to the Board of Nursing for an unfounded reason. If this happens, you will need to contact an attorney. 


Know Your Contract 

When your contract gets canceled, it’s easy to feel upset. Don’t take cancellation personally. Most of the time, it’s the hospital, not you. However, you do need to look at your policy to understand what it does and does not cover. Remember that each contract’s terms will change depending on the hospital. To prevent a surprise, ensure you read each contract thoroughly. 


Have an Emergency Fund 

We talk about saving often, but as a traveling medical professional, you must have a savings account. Financial experts recommend that you have between 3-12 months’ worth of savings in there to ensure you can pay your bills. If you don’t have a savings account, get one immediately and start putting part of each check in there. This will allow you to pay your bills in addition to any expenses that may come up if a contract gets canceled. 


Insert a Protection Clause 

When you receive your new contract, you are expected to know the ins and outs of the contract regarding the hospital. However, you need to make sure there are protections for yourself in there as well. To do this, write your own clause that matches their language to protect yourself. You want to make sure that your out-of-pocket expenses, including travel and rent, are covered if the contract gets canceled. This can prevent you from experiencing a debilitating blow to your finances, like breaking a lease on an apartment. 


Get References Early 

Sometimes you will arrive at a hospital and realize it’s not going to be a great fit. However, you’re more likely to get along with everyone well—at least in the beginning. As you spend more time at the hospital, you may experience clashes in personality. Or the hospital may fill your position with a permanent employee. These can lead to less than stellar references than travelers rely on. To prevent this from happening, make sure you get references early on. 


Get Another Assignment 

At the end of the day, cancellations happen. Most traveling healthcare workers will face cancellation at least once. To prevent canceled travel jobs from adversely affecting you, the best thing to do is look for another position immediately. This will allow you to continue working and bringing in income. 

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