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How To Deal With Holiday Season As A Healthcare Traveler

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The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. A time for celebration, family, food, and fun! However, that is not always the case if you’re a healthcare traveler and cannot make it home for the holidays. The holidays can be a sad time of the year for travelers. However, it does not have to be that way. Here are my top tips on how to survive the holiday season! May the holidays truly be the most wonderful time of the year!

Take Time Off Or Work Per-Diem At Home

If you want to spend the holidays at home, it’s completely up to you! You could take an extended break and go home for the holidays. Depending on how your schedule aligns, the holidays may be a great time to completely take off work. If you have a contract that ends in November or December, you could plan ahead to save money and take time off.

Or, you could go home and work per-diem (PRN). Since the holidays are a time that many people ask for time off of work, it’s a great time to pick up PRN work at your home. You could work PRN for a previous employer who you have a relationship with, or you could apply for PRN as the holiday season approaches. Many employers are more than happy to take on extra help at the holidays.

If You Want Time Off, You Need Them In Your Contract

During the holiday season, never assume that you have the holidays off. If you want time off your normal scheduled from November to January, make sure that information is in the application that you submit to a job. Also, make sure that it gets written into your contract as days off. If it’s not in writing in your contract, it never happened!

Please note that many contracts are looking for people who will work through November and December with no holiday or additional days off. If you know you want time off, then ask for it up front and let the facility decide if they want to hire you or not. It may be hard to get a contract during this time if you are asking for a lot of time off.

Consider Celebrating The Holidays On A Non-Traditional Day

Traveling around the holidays is expensive and it’s hard to get time off. Why not schedule a time to meet with your family and celebrate the holidays on a day that isn’t the holiday itself? This is what I have been doing for years and it’s worked out beautifully. I tend to meet my family for a week or weekend in either early December or early January and we celebrate the holidays as though it was Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. While it may not be a traditional way to celebrate, travel life itself is far from traditional. Thinking outside of the box and being flexible with dates and times has helped me greatly.

Make New Traditions

Holidays are very traditional for many people. They celebrate the same way with the same people, year after year. I get that. As a professional traveler, you cannot always keep the same traditions that you would have if you were permanent at home. You may have to think outside the box and create new traditions with new people. Reach out to people that you have met on assignment, whether it be co-workers or new friends, to see if they would celebrate the holidays with you. Perhaps you could be a part of somebody else’s holiday traditions.

If you are in a place with a lot of other travel therapists or nurses, you could make a completely new tradition. Make a new celebration out of the holiday. One Thanksgiving Day, I was living in Oahu and spent the day in Maui with two other travelers. I definitely was not complaining about missing turkey while I was hiking through waterfalls and driving the road to Hana.

Have Your Family Come To You

While many of us like to be home for the holidays, maybe it would be easier if some of your family members came to you on assignment. Or, you could meet halfway, if your assignment is far away. My family has come to many places where I worked or drove part of the way to meet me for the holidays. If you have a smaller or flexible family, this is a great way to see them and not lose a ton of time by traveling over the holidays.

Continue Your Traditions

If you have special holiday traditions, like baking cookies, lighting a menorah, putting up a tree, etc., then don’t stop them because you are traveling. Find ways to continue your traditions in your temporary space. You can search thrift stores for decorations and donate them when you take them down. No need to accumulate a lot of extra stuff. Plus, you will be the hit of the break room if you make cookies and treats for co-workers!

As we approach this holiday season, I wish you all the happiest of holidays! I hope that your days are filled with special memories and joy, wherever you are in the world! If you have a special memory from traveling as a healthcare professional during the holidays, I would love to hear it! Leave a comment with your travel healthcare holiday story or tradition!

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