Holiday Hierarchy

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

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The holidays for any healthcare worker is tough. As a nurse we don’t get the ‘traditional’ holiday, so we either have to celebrate our holidays on alternate days or beg for the time off.

This gets even more complicated when you have more than one nurse (or health care worker) in the family (or single household)

Then the equation gets even further complicated when you consider the children of the family (or household) and then making time for the spouse’s family members.

So we nurses always try our best to ‘plan ahead’. Making the appropriate phone calls, figuring out the plan of attack, what day will you actually see your family (all together), will it be before the actual holiday, or after, etc., etc.

So here’s my question:

How are the holiday work schedules decided at your job?

I’ve discovered there is more than one method out there, and I’m convinced that nobody has it right yet. When I was the ‘green’ nurse I used to get angry at the ‘seniority’ rule. The nurses who were there longer got first ‘dibs’. Now that I’m more the ‘seasoned’ nurse with some years under my belt I’m not nearly as angry at that thought since I’ve ‘put my time in’.

There are other methods of ‘signing up’. Some places will let you ‘choose’ your cluster of holidays. They will cluster Christmas and New Year’s Eve together, then cluster Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day together. The idea is to try and make it fair and evenly spread amongst the staff.

You have the single, engaged, married, with or without children, out of town families and strongly traditional types of employees that are always vying there way to what they think is ‘right’.

What do you think is the right way, fair way and decent way of spreading the ‘holiday cheer’?

Let’s be honest here folks, none of us ‘like’ working on the holiday. We nurses may love our job, but who wants to be working on the holiday??

So this is all about ‘you’ and your time with your family. How can we keep the ‘natives’ happy while making sure we satisfy our own needs? We want to be team players, but our ‘team’ is not where we like spending our holidays.

I’d love to hear your experiences. What do you think works well, and what do you think is the worst way to handle the holiday work schedules?

Here are answers from our Facebook nurses!

We have “A” and “B” holidays. They alternate each year. And if you have to work a holiday you want off you’re more than welcome to get it covered, if you can’t, then you have to work. Also, it makes planning trips easy because you already know which holidays you will be obligated to for the year.

Mary B.

Self-scheduling works great in my department! Full time must choose to work 2 summer holidays and 3 winter holidays. PRN (which I am) must choose 1 summer holiday and 2 winter holidays. Also, we recently voted to include Easter in the summer holidays and to include Halloween in the winter holidays. It makes it more fair for everyone who wants those days off and those who don’t care.

-Erin B.

We have to work one of each. For example: Thanksgiving or the day before, Christmas Eve or Day, New Year’s Eve or Day. Then the person that does staffing makes a budget list if you work that day your name goes in a hat and she draws the first 6 names for every shift and every day. Then, if there is budget, it goes one to six and you can decline if you want.
-Alisha W.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.
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