“No matter how difficult the day may get, don’t forget the reason you became a nurse!” - from Anonymous.
The holidays are approaching quickly and it can be particularly difficult being a nurse during this time. You might miss family celebrations, traditions and be upset about spending Christmas and Christmas Eve at the hospital, but there is a way to make this shift better.
This is how hospitals, clinics and healthcare staff can help their nurses and working the holidays shifts.
1. You can easily lift spirits by letting the nursing staff have a little more control over their shifts during the holidays. One nurse might need to work all night or a couple nights and day shifts. This will allow for the nurses to plan holiday festivities with their family members and let them spend more time with loved ones!
2. The notion of incentives for those who work more holidays. A Nurse Leader can use a point-system for those who are working the holidays, similar to a credit card program with so much percent cash back. Instead of cash back, the nurse can opt out working on a certain holiday this season or next.
3. It’s important to still celebrate with your “family.” The husband or wife, kids, extended family and others are all at home while you’re at work; however, you still have a “family” to celebrate with! Your work family could easily lift your spirits. You can host a potluck, dress up in costumes, share gifts and treats and more.
4. The idea of being able to help one another out, the holidays are all about helping one another. Maybe Christmas is less important to your family or you don’t celebrate this holiday! This is the perfect moment to help out another colleague.
If you know another colleague really needs the holiday off, offer to work their shift for them! This can help reduce stress and as long as the final staff paper matches the schedule, it shouldn’t matter!
5. Another important aspect during the holidays is maintaining a healthy work environment. As Megan Brunson states, “you really can overcome a stressful situation if you have a healthy work environment within the culture of your facility.”
This means keep communication healthy before and after nurse and working the holidays! If a patient falls ill, a death occurs or other major incidents get the team together, debrief, unload the stress and continue on. This can help relieve the major stress of working the holidays.
6. If you find yourself working this holiday a little compassion goes a long way. A patient doesn’t want to be in the hospital anymore than you!
You can bring small gifts, continue a tradition with them at the bedside and be there to listen. Although you are sad or upset about missing the holidays, you will be walking out the door once the your shift is over. A patient might be in the hospital for days or months after the holidays are over.
The holidays are a time for family celebration and being with your loved ones. As a healthcare professional, it can be a difficult time. But remember, it’s also a difficult time for your patients. A simple shift change, potluck, helping a patient and more are easy ways to help with the holiday blues.
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