Contract 101 for Healthcare Professionals

Picture this: You finish clinical training, you get all your certifications, you get a license to practice, and you’re ready to work. A contract is offered to you by XYZ hospital. You gladly take it and thank them for giving you the opportunity. Suddenly the job isn’t what you expected. You are overworked, underpaid, and never know where you’ll be working– but it was stated in the contract. How could you have missed something like a clause withholding your payments, a clause allowing the client to overwork you, or even a clause stating you will work at any of their locations when they ask?

Establish Specific Agreements

Contract agreements can be hard to understand, especially when a hospital includes legal jargon. It’s important to look out for requirements that will be detrimental to your experience with a client.  A good contract will clearly state out the terms of agreement between the client and employee. There is a set location, set hourly rate, expected number of shifts per week, and expected patient volume. These are only a few items to look for when allowing the green light for signing. When looking for contracts, our local recruiter Emilia Lundy looks for the following key items:

  1. Rates: The client should be paying enough hourly that allows us to at least pay our candidates the competitive market rates.
  2. Requirements: The requirements should not exceed what is of the normal expectation for medical staff.
  3. Length: As most assignment lengths ranges from 8 weeks to 13 weeks, we make sure to not only look for this, but also negotiate [a longer contract and contract renewals], as over 60% of our candidates are looking for long term, so that they can maintain their housing & daily living.”

Our recruiters are dedicated to finding good contracts that benefit our employees. Billie Hawkins, a travel recruiter for MEDRelief Staffing, states, “I look to see what is the best money and housing I can offer staff.  Location and safety also.  I want them to be happy that they are accepting the assignment and happy with [the] compensation for their time.”

signing a contract

Before You Sign

So, what should you avoid when reviewing the contract agreements?  Billie Hawkins states she looks into “crime rates around facility; low bill rates that severely limit what can be paid to staff; hours that are ANY instead of a set schedule.” A contract should have the employee’s best interest, and our recruiters make sure you are not getting tied up with a poor contract. When looking into contracts, look over what clauses are included in the agreement. Avoid clauses that can withhold your pay, or won’t pay for days you have to call off. Other red flags to avoid would be clauses that restrict where you can work in a period of time, and language preventing the client from being liable for any accidents or injuries.

Advice from Recruiters:

Billie Hawkins: “Take all aspects of the offer into consideration, not just the hourly rate.  Is the contract located in a great city? Do I have family or friends nearby that I could stay with and I can keep the housing?  Is it an assignment that is easy with 1 or 2 patients a day?  Is this a state that I’ve always wanted to go to (Alaska; Hawaii; New York)?”

Emilia Lundy: “As someone who has been on both sides, I would recommend a few things: One, make sure to keep clear communication with coordinators; Two, fully understand all assignment details (location, schedule, duties, pay) before accepting the assignment; Three, always have a back-up plan; Four, do each job to the best of your ability. Working agency is the best way to gain the most experience because they will move you around to different positions.”

Apply Now

At MEDRelief Staffing, our recruiters help you find contracts that are right for you and carve out all the details with you. Whether you’re looking for a travel assignment, or wanting to stay local, there are always opportunities available. You can contact Billie Hawkins, Emilia Lundy, or Michael Leffew for any questions about available contracts. They can be reached at our office by phone, email, Facebook, or LinkedIn.


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