By December 2, 2009 0 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: What should I do if I need one of the holiday shifts off to spend with my family and friends?


Last week we discussed making some extra money over the Holiday season by working on the “Big Three” (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years). However, what should you do if you need any of these shifts off to spend with family and friends?

Since we work in a profession that requires staffing 24/7, we need to be flexible when it comes to holiday shifts. Unless you work per diem or agency, there is little chance that you would be able to escape working at least one or two of the aforementioned holiday shifts. It is then necessary to decide which one shift would be the most important for you to have off.

Where I currently work, we had holiday shifts and “hard to staff” shifts (day of Christmas Eve, day after Thanksgiving, day before New Years). We were required to sign up for at least one holiday shift and two “hard to staff” shifts. Since I usually travel home to spend Christmas with my family, I signed up for two holiday shifts and one “hard to staff” shift to insure that I would be able to have Christmas off. I worked Thanksgiving and will be working New Year’s Eve. However, this enabled me to have seven days off in a row with Christmas in the middle (not a bad trade off in my mind).

Many places I have worked will schedule a full three months in advance during this time of year so that everyone will know for which Holiday shifts they will be responsible. 

Next week, we’ll take a look at a few additional ways to help insure that you are off for the Holiday shifts that are important to you.

About the Author:

Hello everyone. I’m a travel nurse originally from Ohio who graduated in 1993 from Mount Carmel School of Nursing in Columbus. I completed a critical care fellowship at Riverside Methodist Hospital in 1994 and started traveling in that specialty a year later. My first travel assignment was in Maui and since that time I have completed close to 40 different contracts in various states with multiple travel companies. I am the author of Travel Nurse’s Bible (A Guide to Everything on Travel Nursing), in addition to my writings here and in the pages of Travel Nursing publications such as Healthcare Traveler Magazine and American Nurse Today. I am presently on assignment in Phoenix, AZ and travel anywhere from six to eleven months of the year.

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  1. The Holiday shifts usually get you time a half pay or even double. Great ways to earn more and save up for certain occasions. Even though traveling and enjoying the holidays is what everyone tends to want to do; if you sacrifice a little bit of vacation time for work and earn a little more money it will all pay off. You can even save up for the next holidays and have more money than before and have better deals.

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