The Devil is in the Details

We all are familiar with the well-known story of “The Little Mermaid”. A teenage mermaid, daughter of the King of the Sea, signs away her beautiful voice through contract to the evil Sea Witch who in exchange gives her a pair of beautiful legs which she can then use to live a life on land above the sea.

Now… although you are not signing a contract prior to a new travel assignment that requires you to give your voice away to an evil sea witch, you are signing a contract that states your intentions and your company’s intentions during your contract–which if you ask me is pretty much equivalent.

You may see contracts as just a piece of paper with words written on them and a place for you to quickly scribble your name at the bottom. However, those words play a part in the overall success and happiness of your experience during your assignment. Once you put the pen to the paper and sign your pretty signature, the things stated in the contract are permanent and almost irreversible.

Contracts that are vague and incorrect, or can be misinterpreted can lead to problems and unnecessary stress for you in an already sometimes stressful workplace.

So when beginning a new travel assignment always be sure the contract with your recruiter exactly matches what you have verbally agreed to (in other words, are identical). And, make sure that they include the following details:

  • Unit details: You should be informed beforehand of the responsibilities expected of you, including orientation.
  • Shift details: This ensures that you know what your daily schedule should look like upon arriving to your new travel assignment
  • Float policy: You know you best and you may not be tolerant of a workplace where they require you to float to different units or different facilities/school districts.
  • Dress Code: You need to know what RNs are expected to wear while on duty.
  • Time off: This is especially important if you need specific days off for family or special events.  
  • Pay rates for regular, over time, on call, call back, charge etc.: Because who doesn’t want to know exactly how much they are getting paid?
  • Travel $ amounts: You should know how much money and how it is being paid out to you
  • Housing benefits received: It is important for you to know information about your temporary housing while on your assignment. What is included in your housing package and what isn’t.
  • Insurance coverage: accepting/not accepting
  • Parking Fees – are you responsible or will your company cover?
  • Bonus – what are the terms in which you receive them? Any stipulations?

These several details are important to have stated in any contract in order to eliminate problems and any miscommunication issues.

As a contract healthcare professional you have the right to know the conditions in which you will be expected to work. When all of the above areas have been clearly stated, you should be on the way to the start of a smooth and successful assignment.

Side note: Never get yourself wrapped up into a sneaky contract agreement with an evil Sea Witch because in the end you will end up not being able to speak…but you would have great legs!