As a travel nurse, you may be contemplating accepting an assignment where you are working over 60 hours per work or even an 80+ hour working week. These assignments are attractive to many travel nurses. But it doesn't come without some challenges and eventually, something has to give. Give. Below, we discuss recent travel nursing trends and the realities of working a 60-hour workweek schedule. We also review the importance of managing a 60-hour or even 80+ hour working week and tips on how to survive this schedule.
Recent Trends in the Travel Nurse Industry
The demand for travel nurses has drastically increased over the past several years. Many travel nursing assignments are offering contracts with 60+ required hours. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires overtime pay, so travel nurses are earning extra cash.
Starting in late 2022, the travel nursing demand has slightly decreased. There are still plenty of travel nursing jobs available. However, the once oversize compensation packages may be becoming a thing of the past. Many travel nurses are seeing a decrease in pay, depending on their travel assignments. Also, working overtime hours has led to burnout among nurses. This is where the hidden brain drain task force has needed to step in. The hidden brain drain task force is working on solutions to improve nurse burnout and avoid professionals leaving the field due to stress and a lack of work-life balance.
The Realities of a 60-Hour Workweek as a Travel Nurse
As a travel nurse, you have the opportunity to travel the United States, while most likely earning more money than a staff nurse. Some travel nursing assignments offer 60+ hour work weeks, and the Fair Labor Standards Act requires overtime pay. So, you can cash in on the extra income while it's available. However, while the higher pay is enticing, there are some realities that we need to address with working overtime.
First, working 60+ hours a week for extended periods can lead to decreased job satisfaction and burnout. Also, working extended hours can affect your overall well-being, including mental and physical health. It can also be linked to depression through occupational stress. Another reality is that as a travel nurse, you will already be limited in spending time with friends and family. If you are working long work weeks, you will be even more limited.
Importance of Managing a 60-Hour Workweek
As mentioned, working overtime weekly can lead to burnout and decreased job satisfaction. It can affect your overall mental, physical, and emotional health. Working as a night shift travel nurse can add to this as well. Thus, it's crucial to understand the importance of managing a 60-hour workweek. By using time management skills and other tips to manage a long work week, you can potentially prevent poor consequences.
5 Tips to Manage Your 60-Hour Travel Nurse Workweek
Below we review several tips on how to survive a 60-hour work week as a travel nurse.
Get Enough Sleep
It's recommended that you get at least seven to nine hours of rest every night. As a travel nurse, a good night's sleep is crucial. It can be difficult to get this many hours, especially when you're working 12-hour shifts. Try sticking to a sleep schedule every day, where you wake up and go to bed at the same time. There are several other sleep tips you can follow to get better sleep.
Weekly meal planning is one of the most important tips to manage working a long work week. With weekly meal planning and preparation, you can easily grab your meals and reheat them. So, on the days you're working, you won't be preparing meals when you could be relaxing. Also, if you have your meals planned, you'll be less likely to stop by your favorite fast-food restaurant on your way home.
Take Time Off
Some travel nurses can survive working 80+ hours per week. Usually, these assignments don't last for more than four to six weeks. If you're working long hours during your current assignment, consider taking some time off before starting your new assignment to relax and reset. Also, taking time off means that during your scheduled shifts, make sure to take your breaks and meal times. By taking time away, you can potentially prevent burnout.
Practicing self-care is another important factor in managing long work weeks. You should be practicing self-care daily, even if it's only for 30 minutes. Self-care activities will look different for each person. Some activities may include reading a book, practicing yoga, taking a bath, or spending time with friends.
Make Time for Fun
With working overtime hours weekly, your work-life balance can become easily unbalanced. It's important to make plans and have time for fun during your time off. This can be as simple as taking a walk outside or going shopping at your favorite store. Do what you enjoy and have something to look forward to!
Frequently Asked Questions
Now, let's discuss some frequently asked questions about travel nurses working long work weeks.
How to work 60 hours a week and still have a life?
There are several ways to prevent hidden brain drain when working 60 hours a week. You can still have a life, but it will take proper planning and execution. Meal preparation, getting enough sleep, and taking breaks are key factors that can influence a good work-life balance.
Is 60-hour work week too much?
Many travel nurses accept assignments working over 40 hours a week. In fact, depending on the assignment, some travel nurses survive working 80+ hours. However, these assignments usually last anywhere from four to eight weeks to prevent burnout. As a travel nurse, working 60 hours a week usually equivalates to working five days. So, you still have two days off. You may find that working 60+ hours is okay or too much.
How many hours a week do you work as a travel nurse?
Depending on your travel nursing contract, you will work anywhere from 36 to upwards 60+ hours per week. Usually, the assignments that require a long hour work week schedule are shorter term. Sixty or more hour work week contracts often have oversize compensation packages as well.
Learn More about Health Carousel
Are you interested in what assignments Heath Carousel Travel Nursing has available? On our job board, you can search for the many travel nursing assignments we have to offer! We also have made applying and tracking your travel nursing application easier with our On Demand app.
We want our travel nurses to have the best experience possible. With our full circle of support, we are providing our travel nurses with many ways to utilize and maximize their benefits.