The holidays are a time to spend with family and loved ones; however, not everyone gets to spend holidays with their families. This includes directors of nursing, nursing staff, physicians, and sick patients. For all of these people, the holidays can be a sad time instead of one to rejoice!

The top five reasons patients come to the hospital during the holiday seasons include overeating (yes, it is a thing), flu, burns and cuts, domestic violence, and food poisoning. While there are other reasons, these are the most common, and some patients who have been at the hospital long-term cannot leave before the holidays as well.

It is important for everyone to be as happy as can be during the holiday season. This is because it is a time to be appreciative of your family, loved ones, and life overall. It can be hard to know you’ll miss out on the festivities, or make everyone work around your schedule, but you can’t always help it!

Here are some tips for directors of nursing to keep staff happy during the holidays:

  • Scheduling: This is really an integral part of working holidays. You could stagger the schedule to make sure some of the staff doesn’t work Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukkah, and New Year's Eve, or any other religious holidays.  
  • Flexibility: Ask your staff which holidays everyone celebrates and if anyone needs a certain holiday off. Furthermore, you can ask if anyone would be willing to work days instead of nights and vice versa.
  • Incentives: If the hospital could use incentives around the holidays it would help staff be happier about working on the holidays. There could be a point system or whoever works more holidays could get more time off and other ideas.
  • Holiday Parties: If your hospital will not allow for any of the following options above, a simple holiday party could also be nice. You could have the staff all bring a dish to pass. You could also make it so family members could come as well. This will bring holiday cheer!

Once the staff is happy and everyone can agree to their schedules and days off; it is now time to make sure all the long-term patients are happy as well. The long-term patients are most likely feeling a number of different feelings and it is important to know they are not a burden.

These are some ways to keep patients happy during the holidays:

  • Listening: It is vital to listen to the patient more than ever during the holidays. Just like you’re upset about working, they’re upsetting for not being able to be home. Some small talk and listening could cheer a patient up.
  • Comfort: This is a time to make sure a patient is as comfortable as possible. The sadness or missing the holidays and being in pain can have huge effects on their health.
  • Bring The Holiday To The Bedside: Not all the patients can leave their room if the unit is allowed to have a small get-together for the long-term patients. So, just take a few minutes to bring them goodies and make them feel included.

While not everyone is lucky enough to be home for the holidays, it doesn’t mean it has to be miserable. One of the most important things is for the Director of Nursing to communication with their nursing staff about concerns and scheduling. This could help tremendously. A nurse can affect their patient’s mental state more than they know!

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