For medical travelers, it can sometimes be confusing to know how and when you should be negotiating for an extension to your contract. Whether you know you're interested in continuing your assignment in a specific location, or are unsure if you want to continue, it's important to consider your contract extension with enough time for you to make any necessary preparations.
Many travelers are unsure how to navigate contract extensions, but they're really much easier than you think! Since you've already been on location and have completed your initial paperwork, you've actually done the bulk of the work beforehand. Score! But just because your paperwork is in order and you're already there doesn't mean you shouldn't be prepared for a denial. Medical travel gives you the incredible opportunity to find healthcare jobs in a variety of locations. And to maximize the benefits, you should always be prepared for anything. Allowing yourself sufficient time in advance to get your options in order means you'll be prepared no matter the outcome.
When Should You Discuss Extensions
It can be confusing to know when to get started if you're interested in discussing an extension with your recruiter. Typically, extensions should be discussed with your recruiter around 4-5 weeks before the end of the assignment. This will give you enough time to respond to any final determinations or prepare yourself for other exciting assignments. If your extension is denied, you'll have plenty of time to work with your recruiter to explore other travel assignments that will be the right fit for you.
Other factors that may impact the timeline are the specific hospital's needs and the time of year. Depending on the hospital, they may know well in advance if there are certain times of year that they'll require additional (or decreased) staffing, so in some cases, staffing needs could be released well in advance of the typical time-frame.
When to Discuss Extension Pay
You don't need to wait until the last minute to discuss extension pay with your recruiter. Medical travelers can discuss pay with their recruiter at any time, and we advise that you do so sooner rather than later. Sorry, procrastinators! The further in advance you know whether you're interested in an extension, the more likely you are to be well-prepared to begin negotiations on your extension pay package. We recommend considering how long you would like to extend your contract, as it will make it easier to negotiate a specific package that reflects your individual needs.
Know the Market in Advance
Preparation is key when entering any negotiation. Knowing the market will help you to get a better understanding of the likelihood of receiving an extension, since you'll have an idea of what your hospital's staffing needs are. For instance, if you're familiar with the market and know your services will be in high demand during a certain season, you'll be in a better position to negotiate for last minute crisis rates and bonuses.
Extension negotiation doesn't need to be a difficult process if you're well prepared and follow this simple advice. We also know that a declination can feel frustrating, but if you're prepared and communicate with your recruiter in advance you'll be in a great position to find another opportunity that could be even better suited to you!
If you're a medical professional and you've ever considered the exciting advantages of a medical travel assignment, we at Triage would love to help get you started. For more information check out our Healthcare Travel Guide or search our open positions!