Should I Extend My Travel Nurse Assignment?

It’s funny how quickly 13 weeks can fly by. There’s so much build-up to that first assignment: Searching for the right agency. The profile building. The job search process. The onboarding phase. A lot of time and effort goes into taking that first leap, and then, WHOOSH! You blink, and the assignment is over.

For most of you travelers, at some point during your travel careers, your unit manager or someone at the facility will ask you to extend your assignment. They like you; they really like you! And, most likely, they need you – they really need you. You’re never obligated to extend, but there are certainly benefits to staying longer if you are open to it.

Here are some advantages of extending your travel nursing assignment:

You don’t have to go through compliance and onboarding all over again

We love our Rock Star Compliance Team, but let’s be honest: running to do a drug screen, getting another TB test, or getting titers drawn isn’t our idea of fun. Sticking around at your current assignment means you won’t have to go through that whole process again. You just need to ensure that you don’t have anything expiring during your assignment.

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It gives you more time to explore the area

Three months might seem like enough time to get a feel for your surroundings. However, once you’ve worked your shifts and taken days here and there to recuperate, it may not leave you a ton of extra time to explore. It may take additional time for you to fully experience what your city or location has to offer. Buying yourself some extra weeks will surely help that cause.

Housing will likely be easier to secure

Even if you don’t plan to stay at your current rental or lodging for your extension, you’re at least already somewhat familiar with the area. You’re not going into it as blindly as you were before you arrived. You can also visit the landlord or rental in person before committing, which is an advantage many travelers don’t have. If you do want to stay in your current digs, assuming your landlord hasn’t already rented out the property, it will make sense for them to have you stay put, too. Landlords love consistent, reliable renters!

When should you ask about extending?

In my experience, travelers have a pretty good idea of what they want to do by halfway through their assignment. Suppose you haven’t already been approached by your recruiter or someone at the facility. In that case, you should mention your interest to your recruiter. They can help initiate that process from their end. It’s also a good idea to bring it up to your manager to gauge their interest. Be sure to mention any time-off requests you would have either between assignments or during the next assignment. It’s never really too early to ask for an extension. I would, however, caution against waiting until you’re close to the end of your assignment. The facility may have assumed you weren’t planning to stay and may have already backfilled your position.

Let’s talk about FOMO for a second

I’ve encountered many travelers who were happy with their current assignments but also worried that they were missing out on something “better”. Here’s the thing – there will always be something “better” out there than what you have. You have every right to chase what you want. However, even if you decide to stay put a while longer, there’s a good chance that there will still be a “better” out there waiting for you whenever you choose to leave. That’s the beauty of travel nursing! There are plenty of options out there if you’re flexible and you call the shots on how frequently you go from place to place. If you’re working somewhere that checks off a lot of boxes for you, then maybe it would make more sense to stick around for a bit longer.

I hope this helps you decide on whether extending your travel nursing assignment is a good choice for you! Whether you decide to stay for three months or twelve, you deserve to work somewhere that you enjoy. Cheers to all of your adventures, near or far!

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Charity Crawford
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