One of the most unfortunate parts about being a nurse is having to work holidays. However, some nurses don’t find it all that bad, and take pride in the fact that they are helping people who are suffering at such an important time. No matter how you feel about working the holidays, you can use a few strategies to help make the most of it.
Here’s a list of the 25 ideas to help get through working while your family is celebrating… or missing you:
1. Celebrate Thanksgiving on the day before or after.
2. Ask family members to help you with the cooking for the holidays.
3. Arrange your schedule so that you can have Christmas when you shift is over or before it starts.
4. Organize a party at work.
5. Wear holiday themed items to celebrate the season.
6. Share the holiday with your patients who are stuck in the hospital.
7. Remember that the sickest patients are usually left in the hospital over the holidays and need extra attention.
8. Be aware of the phenomenon of the dump and run. Caregivers will often bring their loved ones to the ER, get them admitted, and have a stress free holiday.
9. Decorate the unit so that everyone can get in the spirit of the holidays, patients and staff included.
10. Tell your loved ones when you will be working and negotiate plans for celebrating the holidays around your schedule.
11. Do your shopping on your days off. In fact, you can even do the shopping online if you work an off shift.
12. Decorate with your family to take some of the pressure off of you. You don’t have to do it all.
13. Consider buying foods from the grocery store instead of making them from scratch. For instance, buy a pumpkin pie instead of baking one.
14. Don’t plan elaborate holiday meals because they will take more time.
15. Take a lot of pictures and videos – or ask your family member to – so that you can see what happened while you were away.
16. Remember that you don’t have to work every holiday, and you just have to be there for the ones you are assigned.
17. Remember that you may get extra money for working the holiday, depending on the policies in your facility.
18. Play Christmas music in the breakroom to encourage the holiday spirit.
19. Invite others from various specialties to take part in your party, such as rounding doctors, radiology techs, and transport personnel.
20. In some ways, your coworkers are your family, too. Arrange for a Secret Santa plan to help increase morale and add a little fun.
21. Greet your patients or residents with holiday greetings, whether they know what you are saying or not.
22. Ask patients if they would like their room decorated and bring in a few items to bring the holiday to them.
23. Talk to your patients about the holidays and the good times spent with families. They may want to share their happy holiday moments.
24. Have pictures of your family around you to remind you of the “reason for the season.”
25. If you are religious, spend a little time in the chapel to pray and reflect on the holidays, why they are important to you, and why you are grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in patients’ lives.