October 26, 2016

How to Request Off on a Travel Nurse Assignment

holiday socks by the fireplace

With the holidays just around the corner, everyone is looking forward to spending a few days with friends and family. But when you’re working as a travel nurse, 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.

1. Let Your Recruiter Know Upfront

Going on a cruise? Attending a wedding? If you’ve made plans in advance that will require as many 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 your agency 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.

2. Identify Your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Choices

family eating around the dinner table on vacationBecause travelers are brought in to assist with staffing needs, the majority of facilities expect travel 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. Then, your agency will know the facility has approved your time off and can add the approval to your file.

3. For Emergencies, Contact Your Agency and Facility ASAP

If as much as a week is needed off in an emergency situation, your agency can 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.

When traveling with TNAA, you are eligible to accrue Paid Sick Leave beginning with your first day of work, and you can accrue up to 80 hours a year. You are eligible to use your sick leave in at least one-hour increments as soon as it is accrued and as long as you’re actively on assignment with TNAA. Paid Sick Leave can be used for a variety of personal health reasons, like illnesses or medical appointments, or the needs of immediate family members.

4. Aim for Perfect Attendance

Be all-in on your assignment.female healthcare professional in a negotiation meeting 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 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.