First Time Travel Nurse Experience Starts Rocky

So here's the full story I alluded to in this recent post. Last Friday I went to work as usual and when I saw the charge nurse she gave me a questioning look and said, "What are you doing here?" Then I looked confused. We talked and I found that the nurse manager ended my contract early and without notice. So, here I am, all ready to get to work and without a job. Happenstance was a Friday night obviously after business hours so after I called my recruiter, who was equally shocked, I had no way of figuring out any details. My only choice was to wait until Monday morning to make some calls.

...that weekend was a bit stressful.

Then on Monday, I made some calls: to my agency, the temp nurse manager, head nurse manager, banner staffing, my recruiter, etc. And thankfully after a couple calls, I was able to piece together the picture. And an even bigger blessing is that there was no shameful situation, med error, or anything of that sort which caused the premature contract ending. Our unit had an unusually low census for the season. And I was hired under the pretext that they'd need extra help. Which the unit did need someone for the first couple weeks. Then the two nurses who had been on leave came back early and the census was still extremely low so I was an extra. They tried to float me to get my hours. I tried it and was flexible with where I floated. However, I have very specific experience in pediatrics and jumping into an adult surgical environment was difficult. After the third time, and understanding this would happen about 20 more times minimum, I talked to the manager and my agency. My main concern was patient safety and with a couple of my patients, I felt they would be compromising with me as their nurse. My agency said they'd try to work it out. The recruiter said that if I didn't feel safe, I could tell the unit I was not willing to float and then I just wouldn't get paid. So in the meantime, I got a call to float and used my recruiter's advice. I told the charge nurse that I didn't feel it would be safe and I chose to not get paid. This apparently found its way to the manager and started some tense conversations between my agency and the hospital. It is because of the combination of having an unexpectedly low census and my lack of adult experience to float to other units quickly that the hospital chose to end my contact three weeks early.

To fellow or new travellers, the situation could have been more clear if you make sure to get an after hours number for your manager and your recruiter. Also, make sure there are specifics to your floating policy written into your contract. Details such as how many times, to what units, and with any orientation need to be clearly written out, not just talked over in the interview.

For me, I choose to look at this happily. I have two extra weeks to spend at home and with my lovely niece.