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Nurse First News Blog

Breaking a Nursing Employment Contract – What’s the Big Deal!?

Posted July 27, 2020

What’s the big fuss if you back out of a contract last minute?  When you look at the big picture, you’ll soon understand how detrimental canceling a nursing contract can be.

If you ever had a hospital cancel their contract on you, you know how heartbreaking it is. That’s how your recruiters feel when you pull out of your accepted contract. Agency nursing is built on mutual trust and once trust is broken it can be hard to recover!

You may not know but there are many people working behind the scenes to get you ready for your next nursing contract. In order to fully understand the impact, let’s walk through the process and how it affects those involved. 

How Breaking a Nurse Employment Contract Affects You

You’ll later find out when you break a contract who is all affected, but first, let’s put into focus how this will affect YOU.

  • You no longer have the contract you planned on.
  • Possible loss of income/insurance while not working.
  • You already put time and effort into getting this far in the process.
  • Cancellation fees from the facility/agency may apply.
  • Fees from housing costs ($1,000-$3,000) may be passed onto you.
  • Breaking a nursing employment contract doesn’t always mean that you are permanently burning a bridge, but some larger hospital systems and vendors will place someone as a “do not return” if the contract is breached which in turn hurts your scope of employment opportunities.

How Breaking a Nurse Employment Contract Affects Your Recruiter

Recruiters typically get paid on a commission basis. This means their time and energy spent getting you your contract will be unpaid. It’s good to know when working with nurse recruiters just how much work is put in. Below is the average steps a recruiter goes through when trying to place a nurse:

  • Your recruiter first gets to know you and your needs. Our recruiters tend to work extra hours to ensure you get a contract in the region or facility of your dreams.
  • After you get accepted at a facility, your recruiter starts to gather your credentials (certifications, licensure, immunizations, photo for I.D. badge) for your file.
  • Once this is complete, your recruiter then reviews your application to make sure everything is accounted for before quickly sending your file to the compliance team.
  • Once they have been in touch with compliance, they send the pay package and other information needed regarding the assignment to the Retention Specialist to start typing up the final contract.
  • Immediately following this process they begin to send paperwork to HR for getting your insurance enrollment started.

As you can see your recruiter works hard and diligently to ensure you get your dream contract, it could take a few hours or a few weeks to bring you through the entire process – that adds up to a lot of hours spent on the premise of you completing your contract.

How Breaking a Nurse Employment Contract Affects the Agency

Not only does breaking a contract negatively affect you and your recruiter, but it also has negative repercussions for the agency as well. Below you will find how the agency takes a hit when you cancel your contract: 

  • Costs the agency money since they have paid for your drug test, background check, and non-refundable security payment for your housing
  • Hurts their standing with a facility. When the hospital gets word of your acceptance they mark the position as filled which declines any other pending nurses, this causes extra time to be spent filling a position again.
  • Eats up the hours of everyone who is involved in the process that gets you from application to dream contract. Just a few people who will touch your application and work on making your experience seamless are the account manager working directly with the facility, the compliance team, payroll and HR, the housing coordinator, retention specialist, and employees from the facility itself. That is a lot of people putting in hours to secure you a contract!

How Breaking a Nurse Employment Contract Affects the Facility

As you can imagine, canceling a contract has detrimental effects on the facility you were supposed to go to. Below you will find what a facility goes through when a contract is canceled by a nurse:

  • No longer have the nurse they planned on.
  • Restart the hiring process and wait for newly qualified candidates.
  • Hospital now has holes in their schedule.
  • Adds stress on the relationship between the facility and agency, possibly resulting in a loss of future contracts.

What if You Have to Get Out of a Nursing Contract?

We understand that you are people too! You have family and friends and sometimes “life happens”.

If you must break a contract albeit a family emergency, sickness or accident do this out of respect for your recruiter, yourself, and the agency:

  • Be upfront and honest with your recruiter about it. We will fight on your behalf to annul any contract cancellation fees or possible “do not return” statuses, but we can only do this if you let us know what’s going on.
  • Ask your recruiter if there are any alternatives to canceling your contract. For example, ask if you can push the start date to a few weeks later.
  • Follow the protocols the agency has in place for canceling a nursing contract.

How to Avoid Cancelling a Nursing Contract?

  • Don’t settle with the first contract you are offered, feel free to try out different agencies until you find the one that is right for you, and has the contract opportunity you are looking for! Be aware that with the ever-changing climate of the healthcare staffing industry, some contracts go fast! So if you wait too long, the contract could be gone.
  • Have open and honest conversations with your recruiter. If there is something in the contract you are unsure about don’t be afraid to bring it up!
  • Having conflict in the workplace? Keep your composure, try to talk it out, and bring the conflict to your management at the facility. If you are still having trouble give your recruiter a call and we will try to solve the problem with you and the facility.

Many people make a contract come to life! After reading this you understand the ripple canceling a nursing contract can make on your career, the recruiter, and the agency. Avoid canceling a contract but if you absolutely have to, be sure to be open with your recruiter and follow the protocols provided!  

Employee Applicant Statement

I certify that the information provided by me in this application is true and complete to the best of my knowledge. I understand that if I am employed, any false statements or omissions can lead to immediate dismissal, and I agree that Nurses PRN shall not be held liable in any respect if my employment is terminated for that reason. Nurses PRN is hereby authorized to verify the information I have supplied and to conduct any investigation of my personal history records. I authorize the companies, schools, and persons named in this application to give any information requested regarding my employment, character, and qualifications, and release and hold harmless Nurses PRN and the companies, schools, and persons from any liability. I understand and agree that if hired, my employment is at-will, for no definite period and may be terminated at any time without prior notice and without cause. I further understand that any offer of employment may be conditioned upon the results of a physical examination, including tests for the use of controlled substances in accordance with applicable laws.

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