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Question for travel nurses: quitting a contract due to Covid?

anyname02 anyname02 (New) New

I used to be a full-time ICU nurse, but then a close relative died, so I moved home to deal with the fallout from that. I was unemployed for several months. When the Covid-19 crisis struck, I kept hearing about how hard-hit my state was and how there was a need for ICU nurses. I felt sort of like it was my duty to help out with the crisis, but I wasn't sure about a full-time position yet. I saw that there was a registry/travel position that was advertising good pay, benefits including health insurance, and a position in a Covid-19 ICU, so I signed up.

Because of the crisis, I was placed quickly and accelerated through the normal application and orientation process. It was only during the third day of orientation when I realized that I would be floating through ALL of the ICUs in the hospital, not just the Covid unit, which I was not completely comfortable with. I don't have trauma experience, for example, but they expected me to "help out" in trauma one day, neuro the next day, etc. During the interview, I was honest and let them know that I don't have experience with open hearts or trauma, and so they had led me to believe that I would be in the Covid ICU only. So I felt a bit discouraged. But then it gets worse.

Roughly one week later, I started to experience symptoms of Covid-19. I called in sick, took an oral swab test, and started self-isolating at a hotel. I called to let my agency know what was going on, and I asked for more information regarding my health insurance. This is when I finally found out that I DON'T HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE! I had only worked 40 full-time hours, and apparently they only offer coverage after 130 hours. So I was sick, alone, and terrified.

I have now gotten through the worst of the illness, but now the question is how can I return to such a dangerous job with no health insurance? What if I contract Covid again or some other health problem? I would never, ever have taken this job if I had known that I wasn't automatically covered. So I need to resign from this agency immediately, but since this is my first travel assignment, I don't know what the possible repercussions are for resigning without any notice. This is supposed to have been a 13-week contract at a public hospital. Without health insurance, it's way too risky. What will happen if I say, "Sorry, I'm not going back"? This is in California, by the way.

Thanks for reading. It feels good just to write this out and get this off my chest. My friends and family don't know about this situation yet.

You are not likely to contract Covid again. No one knows for sure, but you should be immune for at least two years.

You can take a look at your contract for any penalties. You can also ask your agency if contracting Covid gives you a pass. Some agencies are even providing pay if you contract it on assignment.

Otherwise, why not just finish the contract? You said good pay, right?

16 minutes ago, NedRN said:

You are not likely to contract Covid again. No one knows for sure, but you should be immune for at least two years.

You can take a look at your contract for any penalties. You can also ask your agency if contracting Covid gives you a pass. Some agencies are even providing pay if you contract it on assignment.

Otherwise, why not just finish the contract? You said good pay, right?

I just don't want to risk it. It's hard to explain the way it feels, but my body feels frail right now. At my worst point, I was wondering if I was actually going to survive. My biggest concern is that I only have 40 hours of regular full-time hours and I'm not eligible for health insurance until I get to 130 hours, and who knows what could happen between now and then? My family is depending on me and there really is no amount of money that is more important to me than my health. My particular agency provides a small amount of hazard pay, but nothing else as far as Covid goes. They do mention penalties for not completing your assignment and that's the part that I don't fully understand.

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