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Hospital Policies on Scheduling Nurses for the Holidays

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Holidays should be spent with family and friends, but unfortunately, this is not always possible if you work in the health care sector. A hospital cannot simply hang a "Closed" sign on Christmas or New Year's Day. Since patients require care 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, many hospitals have formalized policies for scheduling nurses during the holidays.

Automated System

The University of Louisiana has developed a system called the automated scheduling and staffing system (ANSOS) to ensure proper staffing at all times. ANSOS is an automated system for scheduling nurses and other personnel based upon need. Holiday issues are addressed in the system, as are requested days off. Rotation of holidays in an alternate pattern is specified. For example, if a nurse worked Christmas Day in 2008, she was given Christmas Day off in 2009.

John Dempsey Hospital Guidelines

At the John Dempsey Hospital, formal guidelines for staffing are written. These guidelines address core staffing (the minimum number of staff needed at all times) and holiday staffing. Some of the recommendations include making efforts to meet nurse's requested days off, and holiday pay if a nurse has to work a legal holiday. Responsibility for staff scheduling is placed with the Nursing Manager. If any concerns arise, the Nursing Manager confers with the Director of Nursing, the Office of Labor Relations or both.

Union Contracts

The nurses in some hospitals belong to a union, such as the National Nurses United. If this is the case, scheduling policy of nurses on holidays is negotiated by hospital labor and management, and formally written down in the labor contract. Rates of holiday pay are negotiated as well.


Tony Oldhand has been technical writing since 1995. He has worked in the skilled trades and diversified into Human Services in 1998, working with the developmentally disabled. He is also heavily involved in auto restoration and in the do-it-yourself sector of craftsman trades. Oldhand has an associate degree in electronics and has studied management at the State University of New York.