Do all new grads have to sign a 2 yr contract?

Dear Nurse Beth Advice Column - The following letter submitted anonymously in search for answers. Feel free to join the conversation.


Dear Nurse Beth,

I have an interview with HCA for the their STAR RN residency program. I keep hearing people talking about having to sign a 2 year contract. Do all new grads have to sign one or is it only for people who take the signing bonus? I don't care about the bonus, and I'm not signing a 2 year contract so I am wondering if I should just cancel my interview.

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Career Columnist / Author

Nurse Beth, MSN

174 Articles; 3,073 Posts

Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development. Has 30 years experience.

Dear No Contract,

It's common for many employers to require new grads to sign a contract that includes a commitment to stay with the company for a certain period.

Orienting a new grad is a significant investment on the hospital's part, and contracts guard against new hires who leave shortly after being trained.

Finding a reputable facility that offers a new grad residency without a contract may be challenging. However, job opportunities for new grads are dependent on location.

Signing bonuses are typically offered to experienced nurses and are paid in increments. Offering a signing bonus to a new grad can be a red flag.

A word of advice- do some digging/research on any employer, including HCA, before committing to a job. You may inadvertently end up working in suboptimal conditions, and your first job is essential to your professional development.

Check out allnurses threads.

Do consider keeping the interview to gain interviewing experience, and then decide if you want to move forward or not.

Very best wishes,

Nurse Beth