Ms. Vicki: Should a Spouse Sign an Employment Contract?

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I am a military spouse who PCSed to Florida this summer. I just passed the nursing National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) and am now a licensed Registered Nurse. After two months of applying, I have my first interview today. The job sounds great -- it is a training program for new graduate nurses.

The only downside is a two-year contract. How should I approach this? As a military spouse, I know we plan to be here for three years, but there is always the chance of a PCS move before that. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you for your time.



Hello AP,

Congratulations! Woot Woot! YOU GO GIRL! I know getting through nursing school was a tough challenge, but you did it! On top of that, you passed the nursing exam and you even have your first interview. I think you will find this interview will be one of many.

In talking to many military spouses who are pursuing careers and employment, they advise not to put the military at the forefront of the discussion. Instead, just interview and make your decisions based on the position, how much you believe your professional and personal goals will be met, and if you think the position will be a good fit.

Now, if this new job requires a two-year contract, they will usually explain what happens if the two years are not met. For example, you may forfeit pay, accrued leave or paid time off. If they don’t explain it then you should just ask what happens.

You don’t have to ask this question as a military spouse, just ask as any other future employee would because this is something anyone would need to know. And, keep in mind that many contracts have an exemption for military orders. Look through the fine print to see if you can find a military clause.

Bottom line, you are looking for a good fit with an organization. You have a license that is in high demand. As an RN, for example, you could also work for a temporary agency and make great pay and benefits, too. That would allow you to take assignments that you like for shorter periods of time with hospitals, schools, clinics, etc. You can also gain great experience this way and some temporary agencies even offer loan repayment programs and other great benefits.

At any rate, I don’t think there is a wrong answer. Let me know what you decide and good luck with your future endeavors.


Ms. Vicki

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