Questions on how to work 6 months on / 6 months off

Nurses General Nursing



I just finished my first semster of nursing school, and so far I love it. Connecting with and helping patients feels great, and I feel like I have found my calling.

Looking forward to graduation and starting to work as an RN, I am beginning to envision what I want out of this career. First and foremost, of course, I want to make sure I am a highly competent clinician. To that end, (in addition to studying for my RN classes, of course :) ) I am currently working as an Emergency Medical Technician, while also studying Spanish and taking classes such as ACLS, Phlebotomy, and other certifications that I feel are relevant.

My question is about scheduling.

I am interested to hear from any nurses who work full-time for part of the year and then take months off to pursue other interests - volunteering, traveling, etc.

This sort of schedule appeals to me - I live very frugally and have a fondness for travelling.

Do you or anyone you know have this kind of schedule? How can I set myself up so I can live this way?

Thanks for any help!

Much appreciated,


Specializes in Nurse Scientist-Research.

I applaud your enthusiasm, it's great to hear! The schedule you speak of would be mostly only obtainable with some kind of contract work such as travel nursing or agency nursing. Most travel nurse companies or agencies only hire nurses who have the magical "2 years experience". What people need to understand is that most new graduate nurses are only half-baked (if that) and they really still have an extensive amount of training ahead, which their employer takes on. It usually takes most new nurses 1-2 years to feel like they kind of "get it".

Once you have the magical needed experience, you can work as little or as much as you like with the understanding that with many of these companies you will be providing your own retirement plan (some offer 401K), insurance (again, this depends on the company/agency). It's the trade-off for being able to walk away for as long as you like. . . at the end of your contract.

I know of a few hospitals that have seasonal plans, in this area, it's winter plan as the hospitals are busier in the winter with all the respiratory stuff. The local hospitals will hire nurses with a shortened orientation period and usually pay them a premium per hour with the understanding that at the designated period, the job may not be continued. This would probably be something you would like, but a lot of people around here use this as a way to get an "in" into the local prestigious children's hospital.

I have never heard of a non-contract type job that allowed the employee to be gone for several months at a time, except maybe school nursing.

Hospitals in snowbird communities hire seasonal staff. I have seen it a lot in parts of Florida. You do need experience first, even if they do not require it, you get thrown in with minimal training.

Do you live in an area with a high influx of seasonal residents? If so, you might be able to be a PRN who is available only during those in-demand months; normally, even PRN requires a more regular committment throughout the year.

Most hospitals I know of require a PRN to do a minimum of one shift a month (and as many as they can get out of you the rest of the time!). So you'd have to find something that would allow you 'out' of that kind of arrangement.

Good luck!

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

After some experience under your best, usually 15-18 months minimum. Try Seasonal travel assignments, cruise ship nursing, or travel nursing. This way you travel, have a paycheck, benefits, and have insurance.

Specializes in Pedi.

If you permanently want several months off in a row, the best you could get that would give you that would probably be school nursing. Where do you live? Takings months off at a time while still being employed somewhere is more or less unheard of in the US. When I worked in the hospital, we had around 6 weeks of vacation time per year but one was not allowed to take more than 2 weeks at a time.

Specializes in Med Surg - Renal.
Do you or anyone you know have this kind of schedule? How can I set myself up so I can live this way?

I have some coworkers who do it by having babies one after another.

Not really sustainable though. Also much more difficult if you are a guy.

Thanks everyone for the advice! I will look into travel nursing etc. It looks like I will need to get that experience first though. I imagine an incompetent travel nurse would have a pretty short career... :)

Thanks again,


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