Taking Time Off When You’re on Assignment...How to Do It and What to Expect
With the holidays just around the corner, we’re all looking forward to spending a few days with friends and family. But when you’re a travel nurse on assignment, it may be hard to know what to expect. Here are some tips to increase your chances of success when asking for time off from a travel assignment.
If you already know you’ll need time off from your next assignment, let your recruiter know up front. Going on a cruise? Attending a wedding? If you’ve made plans in advance that will require as much as 7 days off from your assignment, it’s best to let your recruiter know as soon as possible. They will include that information in your file when it is submitted for an assignment, which will give the facility plenty of notice and help TNAA make the necessary arrangements to accommodate your request. In many cases, an extra week will be added to the end of the assignment. Requests of this length can only be made once per assignment, and the same steps must be followed prior to beginning an extension.
Smaller requests, such as 2-3 days off, can be arranged with the facility once your assignment has started. Limit yourself to no more than two of these requests in a 13-week period.
When requesting holidays off, always identify your first, second and third choices. Because travelers are brought in to assist with staffing needs, the majority of our facilities expect our nurses to work two of the three major year-end holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day). Holiday time off must be split evenly and fairly for all staff members, but turning in your request clearly and several weeks in advance can help secure your first choice.
In general, it’s best to submit your top choices in writing at least 4 weeks in advance. You’ll usually work with a unit manager or director, but always find out who makes the scheduling decisions in your area. Ideally, you’ll receive a response in writing which you should send to your recruiter so TNAA will know the facility has approved your time off and we can add the approval to your file.
If you need time off for an emergency, let TNAA and the facility know as soon as possible. If as much as a week is needed off in an emergency situation, TNAA will work with the facility to add another week to the end of an assignment. If only one or two shifts will be missed, work directly with the facility to make up the time as needed.
As a travel nurse, you should always plan to be available for every shift of your assignment. Facilities count on travelers to cover crucial staffing needs, and an excellent attendance record will help you secure future assignments. When situations arise that will require you to take time off, TNAA will work with you and the facility to accommodate the needs of both. If you have any questions, contact your recruiter for help.