Career & Finances | Interview Tips | Original Content | Travel

Breaking a Travel Nurse Contract: Here’s What You Should Know

  • Looking to break your travel nurse contract? We get it. Life happens.
  • There are many things you can do to ensure that you have broken your contract on the best possible terms.
  • Let’s dive in!
Morgan Curry, RN/BSN

Morgan Curry, BSN / RN

Intensive Care, Outpatient Surgery, Aesthetics, Education, and Nursing Leadership

September 02, 2021
Simmons University

Did the thought, ‘I can do anything for eight weeks for that kind of money,’ arise when you signed a travel nurse contract?  

Perhaps you wanted to explore the world, see new sights, and learn about a different culture.  

The opportunity to do what you love while also being able to travel every two months, and being paid for it sounds like an unbeatable deal, right? 

Unfortunately, that is not always the case.  

Maybe what you thought was a great idea in theory, is now not turning out well. You’re faced with long hours, bad assignments, and you are constantly being treated poorly by your new colleagues.  

Now, the question is, ‘how do I break my travel nurse contract?’ 

So now the question that remains is, ‘how do I break my travel nurse contract?’ We’ve got the answers you’re looking for!  

In a 2020 study, there was a 13.7% increase in the likelihood of a travel nurse contract being terminated or cancelled by the facility or staffing agency.  

First Off, You’re Not Alone 

With the highs and lows of the past two years in healthcare, contract cancellations and terminations are on a constant rise and they are all over the place. 

In a 2020 study, there was a 13.7% increase in the likelihood of a travel nurse contract being terminated or cancelled by the facility or staffing agency.  

Following, the same study reports that roughly 28% of travel nurse contract cancellations were from nurses backing out of their current or upcoming assignment; over half of these nurses claimed it was due to personal reasons.  
However, 23% claimed it was for safety concerns.  

The Risks of Terminating Your Travel Nurse Contract

Whether your contract is with an agency or a hospital, there are several factors that will be negatively impacted based on your decision to break your legal agreement.  

In sum, it is a snowball effect.  

Travel nursing community, The Gypsy Nurse, highlights several factors you should consider before you decide to terminate your travel nurse contract. Check them out: 

Patient Care and Current Staffing 

Facilities that need healthcare providers will typically begin a partnership with a staffing agency in order to have ‘more hands-on deck.’  

If you break your agreement, this puts one less person on the schedule; and in nursing, this can make a huge difference in patient care delivery. 

The Staffing Agency

A cancellation can cost an agency thousands of dollars. 

From housing arrangements to penalties from the facility they are contracted with, this is an expense most firms want to avoid at all costs.

On top of this, breaking your travel nurse contract can diminish the agency’s reputation with the healthcare facility, as it means one less nurse is going to be available in an area where they are needed. 

Although you have a contract with the agency, the agency also has set agreements with the facility as well. 

To avoid getting blacklisted by both the facility and your agency – express your concerns to your recruiter, or if necessary, funnel your concerns through the chain of command if you feel that the individual facility is taking advantage of you.  

Your Career

Much like any other job, leaving without proper notice or breaking an already-signed agreement can be detrimental to your career.  

Whether it is with the staffing agency or healthcare facility, your chances of being able to work with them in the future are quite low if you do not provide proper notice.  

Here’s What You Can Do

If you are beginning to have second thoughts about your upcoming assignment, the best thing you can do is communicate with your agency recruiter.  

Healthcare Traveler Today, an online source for traveling providers, outlines several measures you can take to ensure that you break your travel nurse contract on the best possible terms, with the highest chance of not facing career-damaging repercussions: 

  1. Read your contract. 
  2. Express your concerns to your recruiter and discuss your next best action. 
  3. Be communicative. 
  4. Put in the proper notice, if possible.  
  5. Work every shift that you’ve committed to, if possible.   

Quitting or breaking your contract solely for an opportunity to make more money is never okay.  

However, what you can do is ask your recruiter for more money at any time, especially if you feel as if a traveler at the same location is bringing in more than you are.  

Ultimately, be responsible in your decisions, and weigh your options before breaking your contract.  

Love what you read?
Share our insider knowledge and tips!

Read More