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How Long Are Travel Nursing Assignments?

Written by: Christine Purviance, BSN, RN, Director of Clinical Services at Medical Edge Recruitment

The life of a travel nurse provides freedom for nurses to work anywhere they want for a pre-determined length of time. The length of an assignment for travel nurses varies across facilities as the need for travel nurses constantly changes. Learn more below as we dive deeper into different travel nurse contract lengths, the perks of short-term and long-term assignments, and important tax considerations if you choose to extend your contract.

How long are travel nurse assignments?

The most common contract length is 13 weeks, but contracts can be as short as two-weeks and as long as 26-weeks. The needs of the facility, and how long they anticipate the need for travel nurses, determines what contract length that they will offer. Travel nurse contracts can be separated into two types: short-term and long-term assignments.

Short-Term Travel Nursing Assignments

Are you wanting to travel, but do not want to commit to an 8-, 10-, or 13-week contract? If so, then a short-term travel nursing assignment may be perfect for you! Short-term assignments are usually 2- or 4-week contracts.

There are two typical types of short-term assignments:

  • Strike contracts: contracts where travel nurses work to cover a staffing shortage when nurses go on strike for a labor dispute
  • Rapid response contracts: contracts that require nurses to start very quickly, usually within a week or two

Short term travel assignments offer travel nurses the flexibility to travel more often than nurses who take longer contracts. If you’re the type of nurse who prefers moving more frequently with a constant change of scenery, a short-term contract may be perfect for you!

Long-Term Travel Nursing Assignments

For travel nurses who want more than a few weeks at their assignment, a long-term assignment may be the best option. Long-term travel nursing assignments are usually 8-week, 13-week, 26-weeks, and sometimes longer. Longer assignments, especially 13-weeks, are the most available assignments for travel nurses.

How Long Can Travel Nurses Stay in One Place?

You may find a facility or city that you fall in love with and want to stay past your contract. If you find yourself in this situation, reach out to your Recruiter early and ask for an extension. Your Recruiter will communicate your request with their Account Manager, who will reach out to the facility with an extension request. Extensions requests are dependent on the facility needs and your performance. Early communication is key, so be sure to let your Recruiter know as soon as you realize you want to extend!

The One-Year Rule

Travel nurses must consider the one-year rule while traveling—they cannot stay in the same place for over a year and continue to receive tax-free stipends for housing, food, and transportation. Travel nurses must be able to prove that they are duplicating expenses like paying their mortgage in their home state while on assignment. After one year of receiving tax-free stipends, the IRS views the temporary location as your permanent residence and tax home. It’s important for travel nurses to leave the area completely to avoid penalty and paying taxes. For further information, a tax expert with knowledge in travel nursing can help! No matter what type of contract you are looking for, there is always a contract to meet every travel nurse’s need!

Need help finding your next assignment?

Medical Edge Recruitment is the premier travel nursing recruitment agency, specializing in providing top talent to clients in the healthcare industry. We connect clinical and allied providers to their ideal opportunities, focusing on building long-lasting relationships through honesty and transparency. In travel nursing, bigger does not always mean better. While we have an extensive network of job opportunities, our experienced team is dedicated to making your personalized provider experience our priority. There are a lot of moving parts in getting set up for a new assignment, but we take care of all the details along the way. Adventure awaits, let Medical Edge Recruitment show you where to go next!



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