In this episode, we’re going to discuss the dynamics involved with accepting a travel nursing contract. First we’re going to provide our thoughts on the best approach to accepting a contract. Then we’re going to take a look at 8 important items to consider for every travel nursing contract that you receive.
Recall that in our last episode we left off with the point at which you receive an offer. We pointed out that many recruiters will attempt to get a verbal agreement from you to accept the assignment. We advised against giving such an agreement until you’ve been able to review the physical contract.
Why? Well, many agencies and recruiters are going to treat that verbal agreement like it’s a legal contract. They’ll get all upset if you decide against accepting the contract once you’ve actually seen it. They may even make threats like, ”you can be DNU’d”. More importantly, you can bet on the fact that the contract will contain clauses and details that you never discussed with your recruiter. So in essence, you don’t even know what you’re agreeing to.
Now, at this point, there may be recruiters and agencies listening to this podcast who are cursing my existence. They undoubtedly believe that there is no alternative. They believe that the industry must be able to operate with verbal agreements.
Now, it’s important to understand the agency’s position here. Ideally, they’d love to be able to respond immediately to every offer with a confirmation that the offer is being accepted. It makes them look good to their client hospital. Moreover, they understand that time is of the essence. They really want to get the ball rolling on documentation, housing and all the other details they need to get ironed out. A day really does make a difference.
All of that is true. However, it’s also true that hospitals typically provide at least 24-48 hours for an answer. If an agency can’t get a contract out in less than 2 hours, then there is something wrong with their process, or at the very least, it can be improved. As an agency, you must be aware that there are many other agencies that are doing just this, they are getting contracts out t their travelers immediately.
My Experience With Travel Nursing Contracts
- At my old agency, we would get laughed out of the office for relying on verbal agreements. They were not measure as a kpi. Instead, we measured offers, contracts out, and contracts back.
- Our process required that we drop everything to get a contract out once an offer was made. Upon receiving the offer, I would call the candidate while in the process of arranging the contract.
- Assuming that the candidate still had interest, I would complete the contract.
- It’s important to note that contracts can be standardized to a large extent. The compensation numbers will change. The dates will change. The facility will change. Maybe a few other details will change. But all of these items are simply edited in place. It’s not like an agency is drafting a brand new contract every time. They have a template.
- Once the contract complete it was sent to a manager for review. Bill rates, compensation package and other details were reviewed.
- Upon receiving approval, the contract was sent to the traveler and another call was made to alert the traveler.
- I made every attempt to review contracts over the phone with the travel nurse to address any questions and make any necessary changes.
- We never sent a confirmation to a hospital until the contract came back signed.
- If we did, then we would be the ones to blame it fell through, not the traveler.
Why Agencies Should Not Use Verbal Travel Nursing Contracts
If you’re an agency that relies on verbal agreements, then you may be wondering why agencies would do it this. If the primary objective is speed, then waiting for signed contracts definitely takes more time. There are several reasons.
- It’s more transparent. If someone agrees to a contract and then receives the actual document with a bunch of stuff they had no clue would be on it, then it seems seedy and underhanded. This isn’t how we wanted to be perceived.
- Legally speaking, verbal agreements are extremely difficult to designate as binding contracts especially when there are many clauses involved. Travel nursing contracts have many clauses, so they will almost certainly not be binding on the verbal level. So we felt that arguing that it’s binding would make us look shady.
- More importantly, signing the contract provides an important indication of intent. It’s the best indication that you can receive as an agency that the traveler is serious about accepting the assignment.
- As a result, it greatly reduces the number of cancellations you have to convey to your clients.
- So you get fewer cancellations and provide a better service to your travelers and hospitals. And you also get the confirmation to the hospital in plenty of time. We felt it was a win for everyone.
8 Things To Check For Every Travel Nursing Contract
Now, as a traveler, once you receive your contract, you want to run through a checklist to make sure that you know the important details.
- Make Sure that EVERY single compensation variable is there. It’s fine if it’s not there, but you can’t count on getting paid if it’s not there.
- Make sure all of the special agreements you made with the hospital are there.
- Check the assignment details: location, unit, shift, start date, end date, hours per week.
- Check the guaranteed-hours clause.
- Check the non-compete clause.
- Check the contract cancellation penalties
- Check the missed hours penalties.
What You Ought To Know About Verbal Travel Nursing Contracts
Tips for Travel Nursing Contracts
59 Apps That Help Travel Nurses Simplify, Save Money and Have Fun
How To Negotiate the Best Travel Nursing Pay Package: Free eBook
The post TTATN 011: The Travel Nursing Contract Process appeared first on BluePipes Blog.