As a nurse, you work hard. So you know breaks and vacation days are important.

Whether you’re new to travel nursing or are considering making the transition from being a staff nurse to a travel nurse, you’re likely wondering if your PTO plan will change. 

How many vacation days do nurses get?

While it may vary based on your workplace or travel nursing agency, we’re here to answer the most common questions nurses have about PTO.  Keep reading to learn how vacation days work for busy travel nurses. 


Table of Contents



How Many Vacation Days Do Nurses Get?

There isn’t a clear-cut answer to how many vacation days nurses get. It depends on your place of employment.

When it comes to staff nurses vs. travel nurses, the answers will be vastly different. 

First, it’s important to understand the difference between vacation days and paid time off (PTO). 

Vacation days may be a form of PTO that nurses must request in advance to take time off. Traditional PTO may be utilized for vacation, sick days, emergencies, etc., and is outside of your contract agreement. 

For travel nurses, paid vacation days are negotiated as part of your contract with the facility, not your agency.

Now that we’ve set a small differentiator, let’s see how many PTO days nurses may get.


how many vacation days nurses get


How Much PTO Do Staff Nurses Get?

If we’re considering how much paid time off a staff nurse gets, it can range from 12 to 26 PTO days per year. 

It all depends on factors such as:

  • The facility’s budget 
  • How many years of service
  • Full-time vs. part-time 
  • An agreed number of days at hiring 
  • Type of facility

And we’re just naming a few! 


Hospital vs. Clinic Positions

While hospitals often have higher base salaries than clinic staff positions, clinics can offer more opportunities for days off. 

Clinics typically offer more dependable shifts, with fewer holiday and weekend hours required. Hospitals usually work three 12-hour shifts, whereas clinic positions are often 8-5.

Both offer pros and cons when it comes to …

  • Pay
  • Scheduling; and 
  • Vacation days

… so it’s important to determine for yourself which may work best for your needs if you’re planning to work as a staff nurse. 

But if you want to see what the world of travel nursing can offer you for vacation days, Trusted Nurse Staffing is here to answer all your questions. 

At Trusted Nurse Staffing, we offer customized benefits packages, referral bonuses, full-time, part-time, and per diem work, flexible contracts, and the highest pay rates in the industry. 

If you’re already convinced travel nursing is for you, our Pronto App can help you get connected with one of our recruiters and help you find travel nursing jobs all throughout the country. 


how much PTO do nurses get


Vacation Days for Travel Nurses

If you’ve never experienced travel nursing before, it can seem as though travel nurses are on vacation with every new assignment. 

After all, they do get to: 

  • Travel to some pretty amazing destinations
  • Experience new people
  • Visit new and exciting hospitals and clinics
  • Check off things from their bucket list

While those great perks are true, travel nurses work hard. Travel nurses also spend long hours on their feet and are often covering facilities that are short-staffed, not vacationing in the Caribbean. 

It’s important that travel nurses take vacation time to relax, explore, or celebrate a holiday with family. 


Do Travel Nurses Get Vacation?

They do. 

A travel nurse can take as much unpaid time off between assignments as they would like. And paid vacation days are often negotiated with the facility at the time of contract. 

The number of vacation days the facility will allow may vary. For instance, if you go to a hospital that is in crisis mode and they have many urgent needs, they will probably approve fewer days off. 

On the other hand, if you’re filling in as a labor and delivery nurse, for example, you may have more options for days off. 


Do Travel Nurses Get PTO?

Nursing agencies generally do not include PTO for travel nurses. 

And if you hear from a staffing agency that they do, it’s highly likely that it is a gimmick. Some agencies may make it sound as though they offer PTO. But really, they’re figured into your pay package. 

You may hear it similar to this: The agency says you can have ”X” number of days off and still get paid.

In reality, though, with any contract job you work, you get paid days off by the facility. 

When you start your new assignment, one of the first things they ask you is what your requested days off (vacation days) are. Before you sign the contract, this is negotiated and approved. 

So you’ll work your full contract while getting those previously requested days off still getting your full pay. There are no additional PTO days added in by the agency. 

When you choose to work with Trusted Nurse Staffing, you don’t have to worry about anything hidden in your contract. Our transparency is one of the things that our nurses respect about us. 


What Other Benefits Do Travel Nurses Get?

The benefits travel nurses receive may vary based on the agency you’re working for. Travel nurses working with Trusted Nurse Staffing receive the following: 

  • Flexible contracts, ranging from 6, 8, and 13 weeks
  • 401(k) with 4% match after 1,000 hours and a year of employment
  • Fulltime, part-time, and per diem work
  • Overtime availability
  • Weekly paychecks
  • Rental car options
  • Customized benefit packages
  • License, certifications & CEU reimbursements
  • Dental and vision insurance
  • Wellness benefits
  • Portable short-term/long-term disability insurance
  • Portable permanent whole life insurance
  • And more


how much PTO do nurses get


How Many Vacation Days Do Travel Nurses Get Between Assignments?

As many as they want! 

This is one of the greatest benefits of being a travel nursejust keep in mind that this is not paid vacation. But since travel nurses already receive fantastic pay, it’s easier to take time off between assignments for a much-deserved vacation.

Many facilities are looking for travelers with recent experience. So keep that in mind when planning how long of a break you plan to take between assignments. 

Have any additional questions about travel nursing and vacation days? Or are you ready to get started on your new career adventure? We’d love to answer all your questions. Just download the Pronto app and start searching for assignments all across the country. 


how many vacation days do nurses get


What Are the Legal Regulations Regarding PTO for Nurses?

As a full-time nurse, you may assume that medical facilities are required to provide PTO. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily true. 

There are no federal regulations regarding PTO or sick leave for nurses. Employers are not required to grant employees time off as PTO.

Though there are no federal regulations, some states regulate sick leave for employees. 


Can You Request Days Off as a Travel Nurse? 

You can! Days off typically fall under your requested vacation days. You’ll negotiate these with the facility before signing the contract. 


How Are Vacation Days for Travel Nurses Negotiated? 

It depends on whether you’re taking them between assignments or during an assignment:

  1. If you’re taking unpaid vacation days between assignments, just let your staffing agency know your plans.
  2. If you want paid vacation days that fall during an assignment, you’ll negotiate those through the agency. 


Do Travel Nurses Ever Get PTO for Holidays?

As a travel nurse, it’s possible to get holidays off,  but you’ll need to negotiate this in advance as part of the contract. This may not necessarily be paid time off, it may just be time off included in your contract. 

And travel nurses can take as much time as they wish between assignmentseven allowing for important holidays to fall during that time. 


how many vacation days


3 Tips for Requesting Time Off as a Travel Nurse

In a perfect travel nursing world, you: 

  1. Get to your new assignment already knowing your desired vacation days.
  2. Successfully negotiate those days into your contract with the facility. 
  3. Only need those prearranged days off during your contract period. 

But it’s not always a perfect world for a travel nurse. We’ve compiled a few tips for you to use that may increase your chances for success when requesting time off.


#1: Let Your Recruiter and Facility Know the Days You Want Off Up Front

Don’t be afraid to ask about vacation or PTO for nurses. The working relationship between a contracted travel nurse and the facility is unique. 

Because of this, it’s always best to request any known days off needed before you begin — especially if it’s multiple days in a row. This way, they can be negotiated into your contract and you won’t need to worry about requesting them later. 

If something comes up that you’ll need time off for after your contract has begun, make sure to let the facility know right away. It may be approved, but it’s not always guaranteed. 


#2: Always Have a Second and Third Choice in Mind 

As a travel nurse, you’re coming to a facility to assist with staffing needs. Because of this, it’s expected that you will probably need to work some holidays. 

That typically includes the three big year-end holidays:

  1. Thanksgiving 
  2. Christmas
  3. New Year’s Day

You can request the holidays off you want — but always keep in mind that they will need to be approved and in your contract to be guaranteed. In case they’re not approved, you should already have backup dates ready to submit. 


#3: In Case of Emergency, Call Your Recruiter ASAP 

Emergencies happen. And when they do, it can quickly become a stressful situation for a travel nurse still in a contract. 

Your recruiter can quickly help to determine the next steps you should take depending on the situation and how much time off is needed. If only one or two shifts will be missed, you may only need to request emergency leave from the facility. If a week is needed, your recruiter may be able to add another week for you to the end of an assignment. 

Whatever the emergency, quick communication is key. 


With Trusted Nurse Staffing, You Can Take Vacation Time on Your Terms

At Trusted Nurse Staffing, we want you to be in the driver’s seat — which is why we understand that you may want to take some vacation time between assignments. 

Want to take just one week off and jump right back into your next adventure? We’re ready to help you find your next assignment. 

Maybe you need a month at home with family to recoup after several weeks of assignments? Enjoy some time off and hop on the Pronto job search when you’re ready to hit the road again.

When working with Trusted Nurse Staffing, you get to decide how long you need to take a breather or get fully recharged. You’ve earned itand it’s okay to take time for yourself

We’ll help you navigate how to use your unpaid vacation between assignments and how to best use vacation days during an assignment. We’re here for you every step of the way. 

Ready to learn where your next big adventure in nursing could be? We offer flexible contracts in all 50 states. With Trusted Nurse Staffing, find your dream job on your terms. Sign up on the Pronto job search to get started. 


how much PTO do nurses get