Nursing is a highly rewarding career, but it can also be demanding. Sometimes nurses can experience burnout, feel unfulfilled, and may desire a change in their work environment. Mixing short and long-term contracts can offer the flexibility to try new settings, gain more experience, and find better work-life balance.
Here are five reasons why nurses should try both short and long-term contracts:
1. Expand professional experience
Both short and long-term contracts offer the opportunity to gain diverse clinical experience. The main difference between the two is being able to gain more in-depth experience while working a long-term contract, vs. being able to gain a broader range of experience while working multiple short-term contracts. There are many different settings (hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, etc.) and many different specialties (pediatrics, oncology, cardiology, etc.). If you know exactly what you want, a long-term assignment makes sense, and if you don’t trying several short terms assignments makes sense. Either way, don’t discount the other just because you haven’t tried it yet.
2. Explore different work environments
Nursing can be a high-pressure job, and some work environments can be more stressful than others. Pursuing different length contracts can allow nurses to explore different work environments and find a setting and contract type that suits their personality and work style. Some nurses will like getting to know their coworkers and patients over a long-term contract, while others may prefer frequent changes of pace. It’s worth it to explore both long-term and short-term contracts so you can figure out which you enjoy most.
3. Find an ideal work-life balance
Short and long-term assignments offer different benefits to finding the perfect work-life balance, and there may be times in life when a short-term contract will make for a better balance, and times when a long-term contract will make for a better balance. For example, a nurse may want to work in a specific location for a longer period if the consistency helps manage a busy family schedule. Another nurse may want to work at different locations for shorter periods so they can fit in travel plans in between each assignment. It can be worth it to try both types of contracts and figure out what gives you the flexibility to avoid burnout and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
4. Create financial stability
Short and long-term contracts can offer nurses financial stability through different means. Depending on the assignment length and type, nurses might be able to negotiate a higher hourly rate, receive housing or travel stipends, work overtime to earn extra income, or plan their finances in advance. Financial stability and planning for their specific needs or goals can help nurses pay off student loans, save for a down payment on a house, invest in their retirement, or choose the type of schedule they’re willing to work for the big bucks.
5. Build a professional network (and your personal brand!)
Both short and long-term contracts can help nurses build a professional network, which can be valuable for career growth and advancement. With both types of contracts, nurses can meet other healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, all while building a personal brand and reputation as an excellent nurse. It’s common to develop deeper connections with long-term assignments, whereas nurses can quickly broaden their network through multiple short-term assignments. Both contract types will offer the chance to meet other nurses and medical professionals and build relationships that can lead to future job opportunities, and it can be worth it to see which gets you better results.
Whether you are looking for your first job in healthcare or to make a move to a new position, Arbor Associates is here to help. We can help you find just what you are looking for. Get in touch with us today.