It’s pretty difficult to avoid working holidays your entire career as a healthcare professional. At some point, in your hopefully long and successful career, you will need to work some holidays. When you are beginning in travel nursing, in particular, there are a few basic things to remember about working during the holidays. These are great reminders for our seasoned professionals too!
If you do have a contract over the holidays, it’s best to remain flexible and expect that different facilities will have different requirements. Some facilities will schedule you like the other staff and allow you to choose the holiday you work or have you work every other one. Other facilities will want you to work all of the holidays, while some still won’t allow you to work holidays because of the cost. If you are able to remain flexible about how contracts handle the holidays, you will have more opportunities to choose from.
If you aren’t able to be flexible around the holidays, make sure you stay in communication with your recruiter because they can help you understand the holiday expectations for the contracts you are interested in and help you avoid the holiday schedules you would rather not work.
If you do not wish to work certain holidays or important dates, you need to have a list organized and prepared to share with your recruiter. You should know which holidays and what time off you need when first talking with your recruiter because time off requests typically need to be submitted with your original contract. This is why it’s pertinent you know what time off you need and you communicate that to your recruiter clearly. This includes making sure you clarify the shift dates and times. Hospitals and healthcare facilities all operate differently and will consider different shifts, etc as holiday time, so you must clarify this when discussing your needs with your recruiter.
Make it Official
Ideally, you will want to have your time off approval within your contract as it will take priority over all other written communication. However, if it is not in the contract, do your best to have it stated clearly and officially in writing. Even then, the only guarantee for time off for the holiday season would be to schedule contracts around the holidays that are most important to you. If this is your plan, you still need to communicate clearly with your recruiter and plan ahead so that you can secure contracts on either side of the holidays you want off.
Remember the Benefits of Working the Holidays
Many hospitals and healthcare facilities will offer travel bonuses and holiday pay for travel nurses willing to work on the holidays. This can be a very lucrative opportunity for you. However, you will definitely want to discuss the holiday pay for each contract you are considering to make sure that the holiday pay they are offering will be worth you taking the position and committing to working over the holidays.
Choose Where You Spend the Holidays
Don’t like the cold? Travel somewhere warm! Are you wanting to experience your first white Christmas? Now is the time! Travel nursing allows you to gather these types of experiences and pick where you want to be when you celebrate your favorite holidays! You may have to work the day of the holiday, but you can always celebrate on a different day in a place you’ve never been with new traditions and local holiday festivities to enjoy!
Whether you are looking forward to holiday pay or wanting to spend the season at home, the flexibility of travel nursing will allow you to make the holidays your own. If you stay in clear communication with your recruiter and medical facility, it’s possible to make the schedule you need for the holidays!