Contract Issues Surrounding the Holidays: Advice for Travel Nurses

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By The Gypsy Nurse Staff

November 13, 2021



Contract Issues Surrounding the Holidays

There are a lot of discussions currently going on about holiday work. I thought I would put together a quick list of some of the major issues surrounding the holidays

 Q: I am scheduled for ALL of the holidays during my travel nurse contract.

A: As a traveler, we are generally scheduled when the facility has it’s highest needs. This includes the holidays. It’s important to discuss this with both the agency as well as the facility in the facility interview. If you do not want to work holidays, this should be clearly discussed and written out clearly in your contract with the facility. Some hospitals will want you to work all, some will not let you work (too expensive) and even others will schedule you just like the staff and allow you to work every other or to pick one. Clear communications are KEY!

Unfortunately, if you didn’t request days off over the holidays; you will be expected to work whatever the facility schedules you for. Always make sure to request time off for any important dates!

Working the Holiday? find out how to make it a great shift!

Q: I’m looking to start my {first} or {next} contract right after the holidays. Will this be difficult?

A: There are two parts to this question. For the experienced traveler that is seeking a start date during the first week of January, this will be a bit easier for you than it will be for the inexperienced traveler. I will warn you however that this is never recommended. Many travelers intentionally schedule their contracts to end before the holidays and are seeking new contracts right after the first of the year. Due to this, there is generally an influx of post-holiday travelers available. What this means is that the supply is greater at this time and you may have more difficulty securing a position. What I recommend is that you hold off and plan to start mid-late January. You will leverage your negotiating power by choosing a start-date after the post-holiday rush.

For the new or in-experienced traveler, I do NOT recommend attempting to find your first contract immediately following the holidays. When a hospital has an influx of available travelers, they are going to generally choose an experienced traveler over one that is inexperienced. Wait until late January or even early February to increase your options and optimize your negotiating power.

Q: My recruiter just told me they can’t bill differently for the holidays so I will not get overtime/holiday pay.

A: Any overtime or holiday pay should be detailed in your contract. Along this same line, it’s important to know what your agency has approved as an official ‘holiday’ date for this particular hospital. Make sure to ask in your preliminary negotiations. The actual date/hours that are considered a ‘holiday’ will vary from agency to agency and facility to facility.

Q: I’m scheduled to work the day before and the day after the holiday. Now I’ll be sitting alone during the actual holiday. What can I do to not feel so lonely?

A: Why not organize a carry-in for your co-workers? Bring a great dessert or treat into work and share the holiday with them. Better yet, find out if you can bring something in for the patients! There are also a lot of places that you can volunteer with homeless meals and such. If there are other travelers in your area, have a ‘Gypsy Thanksgiving’ and invite them over or out to dinner. Buy a box of cookies or cupcakes and go out and hand them out to all of the hospital units. There are so many things that you can do to give someone else a simple smile on Thanksgiving. Whatever you do…do not sit home alone!!  Another thought is to set up skype, Facebook Live, or Facetime and join your family via video for the holiday! With today’s technology, this is pretty simple to do.

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