How Do Travel Nurses Handle the Holidays?

The holidays can be a joyous time, but they are also a difficult time for many. Traveling nurses are in a profession that can keep them far from loved ones for long periods of time, even over holidays. While it is often possible for travel nurses to coordinate their schedules to ensure time off over certain holidays, this isn’t always an option, and travel nurses should know how to handle difficult holidays spent alone while traveling for work.

Finding the Right Contract for Your Holiday Plans

If you work as a travel nurse and want to ensure that you have specific holiday time off to spend with your loved ones, you’re going to need to plan for this in advance. Travel nurses can usually choose how much time off they take between assignments, but if you want a certain time of year off this may require working back-to-back assignments during the rest of the year.

Many travel nursing contracts appear in October and extend through the winter. This is the height of flu season for most of the country, and travel nurses can potentially make quite a bit of money taking assignments over the winter holidays that other travel nurses would prefer to avoid. It’s ultimately up to you whether you want to plan for time off during the holidays or take advantage of potentially higher-paying contracts other travel nurses would rather avoid.

Use Your Extra Flexibility to Your Advantage

It’s no secret that travel nurses can make quite a bit more money than Registered Nurses in hospitals in most states, and many travel nurses find they have more financial flexibility after several travel nursing assignments. You could potentially use your extra funds for a plane ticket to your hometown for a surprise holiday visit with your parents or other relatives. If traveling to see family isn’t an option, your extra financial flexibility could mean some well-deserved holiday presents for yourself.

Planning Around Holidays

If you must travel around the holidays or want to spend a holiday on your own terms, you can plan for this as well. Look for any upcoming assignments around a holiday you have in mind, and see if there are any locations that sound good to you. For example, a winter assignment in Florida or Southern California could mean spending your time off-duty at the beach or visiting attractions you’ve always wanted to see. You can also choose an assignment near home or near relatives and spend time with them between shifts during your assignment.

Coping With a Holiday at Work

If you work as a travel nurse and find yourself in a situation where you are on assignment over a holiday you’d rather spend with loved ones, this can be difficult during what is supposed to be an enjoyable, celebratory time of year. Instead of letting your holiday woes make you depressed or impact your work performance, think of distracting and fun ways to take your mind off the holiday blues. Use your time abroad as an opportunity to find unique gifts to send to friends and loved ones. Create new traditions with new friends or make it a point to treat yourself for an enjoyable holiday on your own no matter where your work takes you.

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