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10 Reasons Why Becoming a Contract Nurse Is Your Best Option

Two female contract nurses standing next to each other in their scrubs inside a hospital

Today’s guest post comes from Catherine Burger, BSN, MSOL, RN, who has worked as an RN for nearly 30 years. 

There are many reasons why nurses choose to work on a contingent basis for companies that specialize in staffing services. These agencies are created to fill both short-term assignments for per-diem nurses and also assist those seeking permanent assignments. Many people work for nurse staffing agencies in addition to a permanent schedule with an organization, while some nurses are exclusively on contract.

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What Is a Contract Nurse?

Contract nurses are guaranteed full-time hours by hospitals and other healthcare facilities for as long as their contract goes. These contracts can run for as short as 1 month or as long as 26 weeks. After the contract ends, the nurse is free to do what they want, whether it’s taking a month-long sabbatical, signing another contract or moving to another city to pursue another nursing contract. 

Here are more reasons why people become contract nurses.

Why You Should Be a Contract Nurse

1. More Freedom

Nurses working for contract agencies can pick and choose their own schedules and worksites to fit around their lifestyle.

2. Less Politics

Contingent workers such as nurses have the benefit of not getting involved with the daily politics of a department or organization. They can come to work, provide excellent care, and leave the drama when they clock out.

3. Availability of Work

Most nurses find that if they have the knowledge, skill, ability and willingness, they will always be able to quickly pick up work for nursing shifts.

4. Colleagues Are Happy to See You

For most departments and facilities, staff members are always grateful to see a per-diem nurse arrive on the unit to share the workload.

5. Nurse Leaders Are Happy to See You

Organizations that hire contingent nurses know that the workers have been thoroughly screened and have the skills needed to care for the patients. They also count on the fact that these nurses are under contract with the organization and so there is less chance of the nurse calling in sick or not showing up for the shift.

6. Geo-Flexibility

Moving? Nurse staffing agencies can be found everywhere from small towns to large cities. Nurses can easily sign on with a short-term or per-diem contract in any area to either bridge the gap of a permanent job or supplement income.

7. Insight Into Organizations

Nurses who pick up assignments at varying hospitals or clinics get to see how the organization is managed without the commitment of a permanent assignment.

8. Reap the Benefits of the Gig Economy

It is estimated that as many as 40% of workers in today’s economy identify as being freelance or gig workers. Nurses, or knowledge workers, are no different. Designing a schedule that fits around your life is becoming more popular, especially when a partner is able to carry health insurance coverage for the nurse.

9. Tax Breaks

Many states offer tax breaks or incentives to contract staff to include uniforms, continuing education credit, and mileage. Nurses should check with a tax authority to reap all possible benefits.

10. Less Burnout

Having the ability to control your schedule and place of work leads to higher satisfaction, so the chance of burnout is less likely. Nurses can choose from a variety of settings within an agency’s postings, which can offer nurses a frequent change in vocational scenery.

The contract nurse has a plethora of reasons to work as an at-will or per-diem employee. Nurse staffing agencies provide an excellent home-base for nurses seeking this stable, yet flexible career pathway.



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