How nurses can survive the holidays

wreathMost RNs, LPNs, CNAs, and other staff who work in a hospital or facility have to face one glaring truth of their profession: you’re going to have to work at least one of the holidays.

Between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, some nurses have to work one or two of these important days.

Instead of approaching the holidays with dread, anger, or depression, medical professionals can find ways to fulfil their duties and experience the holidays as well.

It isn’t ideal, but you can find a way to make it work, having your cake and eating it, too.

Be Flexible

Some families have tried and true holiday traditions that they absolutely insist upon.

This is great, except for the working nurse who often has their schedule handed them the month before with no wiggle room.

Traditions are important to keep, so find a way that you can celebrate them.

Open presents on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day, ring in the New Year at 10 PM, and eat your dinner at 3 PM to fit in the traditions around your work schedule.

Decorate Everywhere

Part of the fun of the holidays is decorating, and you should take some spare time and totally deck out your house for the holidays.

It will make you feel more a part of the traditions of the season and brighten your mood when you come home. However, you can decorate anywhere, and this includes your locker at work, your ID tag, and any other part of your kit that can take a festive flare.

Be that nurse who wears a Santa hat to work on Christmas Day and have fun with the fact you are there for your patients.

Coworker Fun

Enlist coworkers to help with your holiday mayhem.

Don’t just stop at your locker, but have your coworkers and manager help you to decorate the nurse’s station with a tree, garland, and fun holiday clings.

This makes the facility brighter for nurses, it’s true, but it also helps the patients who are stuck in a facility over the holidays.

Many of your coworkers may be experiencing the sadness of not being with their family, and creating a family atmosphere at work can help improve everyone’s mood.

Celebrate On the Job

Besides decorating, you can celebrate on the job, as well.

Put up a signup sheet in the break room and have your coworkers sign up to bring a plate on the day of the holiday.

Nothing makes nurses happier than having tons of good food, and looking forward to a party in the break room on Christmas Day is better than considering a bagged lunch.

“Instead of focusing on your lack of holiday, focus on making their holiday the best you can.”

Be the nurse that organizes the festivities and everyone can have a good holiday meal despite working the shift no one wants.

Invite doctors, transport guys, girls from the lab, and anyone else that’s on your floor while their families are at home celebrating without them.

Remember the Patients

In the end, it is all about the patients.  Remember, they are in the hospital on the holiday, too, and they don’t get to go home to their families in eight hours.

Remember also that you became a nurse to make a difference in the life of patients.

It’s tough to be sick, but it is even worse to be sick over the holidays, separated from family, not able to participate in traditions, and feeling sick to boot.

Instead of focusing on your lack of holiday, focus on making their holiday the best you can.

Leave little bits of decoration in their room, if they allow it, or ask about how they traditionally celebrate the season at home.

Remembering our primary mission is the best way to survive the holidays and bring some comfort to those patients that need our care.


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