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Nurse First News Blog

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

Posted February 4, 2021

What’s the big fuss if you back out of a contract last minute? You’ll soon understand how detrimental canceling a nursing contract can be for everyone involved.

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. Building a trusting relationship with your agency is key. Breaking that trust can be challenging to overcome.

There are many people working behind the scenes to get you ready for your next nursing contract. To 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.
  • You may be responsible for housing fees ($1,000-$3,000).

Breaking a nursing contract doesn’t always mean that you are burnt a bridge. Breaching a contract may cause larger hospital systems and vendors may place a nurse as a “do not return”. This hurts your scope of employment opportunities in the future.

How Breaking a Nurse Employment Contract Affects Your Recruiter

Recruiters get paid on a commission basis. This means their time and energy spent getting you your contract will be unpaid. There’s a lot of work that goes into making your contract come alive. 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 reviews your application to make sure everything is set before sending your file to the compliance team.
  • Once they have been in touch with compliance, they send the pay package and other information to the Retention Specialist. Then we can start typing up the final contract.
  • Immediately following this process they begin to send paperwork to HR. This process gets your insurance enrollment started.

As you can see your recruiter works hard to ensure you get your dream contract. It can 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

Breaking a contract not only affects you and your recruiter but the agency as well. Below you will find how the agency takes a hit when you cancel your contract:

  • Costs the agency money. The agency 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. This declines any other pending nurses. So, if you break the contract the position will still need a replacement for the facility.
  • Eats up the hours of everyone involved. A few people who will touch your application and work on making your experience seamless are the account manager working 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. Below you will find what a cancellation does to a facility:

  • No longer have the nurse they planned on.
  • Restart the hiring process and wait for qualified candidates.
  • Hospital now has holes in their schedule.
  • Adds stress on the relationship between the facility and agency. This could result 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. Be respectful in the situation for all involved. It’s recommended that you do the following:

  • Be upfront and honest with your recruiter about it. We will help you try to avoid 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 get. Feel free to try out different agencies until you find the one that is right for you! Be prepared that some contracts go fast! So if you wait too long, the contract of your dreams 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. We will solve the problem with you and the facility.

Many people make a contract come to life! After reading this you understand the ripple effect of canceling a nursing contract. It’s best to avoid canceling a contract. But if you 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.

If hired, I agree to abide by all rules and regulations of Nurses PRN, which I understand are subject to change by Nurses PRN at any time for any reason without prior notice.

Nurses PRN is an equal opportunity employer. Nurses PRN considers applicants for all positions without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, age, disability, marital or veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other legally-protected status. Those applicants requiring reasonable accommodation to the application and/or the interview process should notify Nurses PRN and request such accommodations.

Should an investigation or legal proceeding adversely affect my professional license/certification or ability to perform the functions of the job, I understand that I am obligated to immediately report said occurrence to Nurses PRN’s Chief Nursing Officer at 888-830-8811. Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

I represent and warrant that I have read and fully understand the foregoing.


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