Yes we get days off and vacation. How this works differs from employer to employer.
If you work in a 24 hour facility such as a hospital or nursing home you cannot expect every week end nor every holliday off. It is a given, the nature of the beast so to speak, that you will be expected to work weekends and hollidays, ESPECIALLY when you are new at that facility. As time goes on you MAY, but not necessairly, be able to negotiate SOME hollidays and weekends, but never all of them.
The key to all this is finding an employer who does not mandate that you work overtime. They do exist. Finding one that respects your right to put your own welfare and that of your family as your first priority. Working perdeim allows you to choose the days you will work as does working agency. Not all nurses work in hospital, and have a more conventional schedule. For example clinics, schools
Personally, I work three 12 hour shifts a week and get 144 hours paid time off (that will increase with longevity) annually. If I work any of 6 recognized hollidays I get time and a half. I have had little problem taking vactation. (Took 3 weeks off in a row this past year). Granted not every place is this good even in the same geographical area. Shop arround when you start looking for a job. Right now we are in demand and can afford to be choosy.
Many times when an employer asks a nurse to come in on her days off she feels obligated and guilty if she says no. Some times with a few employers there are consequences for saying no a lot. However, you do have the option to say no and do not have to feel guilty about it. I never aswer my phone if it rings before 8 a. m. Personally, if it were not for my husband's calls I would not answer it before 9 a. m.