Accountable Healthcare - 11 tips for working through holidays as a Nurse
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November 10, 2020

11 tips for working through holidays as a Nurse

Look, there’s no way around it: you’re a nurse, odds are, at some point in your nursing career, you are going to work a holiday. 

Some nurses appreciate the opportunity to make a little extra money and staff the unit on what “could” be a lighter day (you won’t see me using the “q” word, even in written form, don’t worry), while others may be mourning the loss of what may be some of the most hyped days of the entire year. But either way, you can get through the holidays a little brighter with a few tips. 

1. Organize some holiday festivities

Working a holiday doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom—you can have some holiday fun even when you’re working by taking part in a potluck, decorating your unit, or organizing a Secret Santa gift exchange. (There are plenty online that use email or text to make it easy too!) 

2. Use technology to stay connected

If you’re able and it works out with your family’s timing, be sure to coordinate with your coworkers so you all get a chance to check in with your families during breaks. If the kids are baking cookies, digging into presents at Grandma’s, or lighting up a candle, there’s no reason you can’t video chat your way to join in the festivities too. 

3. Spruce up your unit with an Elf on the Shelf

Sure, you might scoff at the idea or even—as my 11-year-old has done—dub an Elf on the Shelf “creepy,” but you can’t deny that the best way to spread holiday cheer is by singing loud for all to hear. Or, if you can’t sing, by bringing a little bit of merriment to your unit with some creative and fun Elf on the Shelf antics. 

4. Don’t be bashful about asking for leftovers

Listen, no shame = potential weight gain. You know all of those family and friends chowing down on their holiday meals and desserts will be more than happy to wrap up a plate or two for you to enjoy when you’re done, (you know, saving lives and stuff?) so be sure to pipe up and ask them to save some leftovers for you. 

5. Go ahead and calculate all that holiday pay

Hey, if it helps you get through the pain of missing out on family time, who are we to judge? Go ahead and make a mantra of that double-time pay as you sprint down the hallway (yet again) to your crashing patient. 

6. Treat yo self to a nurse-approved gift

A coffee bar and comfy scrubs? Sign us up. You definitely deserve anything for all the hard work you do.

7. Throw a holiday bash after the holidays

Maybe you’re scheduled to work through all of the family and friend get-togethers this year—instead of bumming about missing them, how about throwing your own post-season celebration?

I mean, honestly, doesn’t everyone kind of tire of the non-stop holiday parties during the actual holidays anyways? It could be way more fun to skip the boring annual holiday family party and throw a party you’d actually want to attend after the traditional festivities are over. January Jamboree, anyone?  

8. Use a Santa schedule letter

If you have kids and celebrate with Santa in your home, there are all kinds of super-smart and festive printable available that can help explain to your little one why Santa will be making a special stop to your house outside of Christmas Eve.

The printables explain that Santa has a “special” present for your little one that has to be delivered early because it won’t fit in the sleigh. There's even specially designed ones for military and first responder families (nurses totally count in that). 

9. Embrace the peace of non-peak time shopping

Because who else can hit the stores fresh off a 12+hour shift and get all their holiday shopping done without fighting elbow-to-elbow through crowds of “jolly” customers? Ahhh, there’s nothing like the peace of a store that is open 24 hours. Also, two words: Amazon. Prime. 

10. Rock some holiday wear at work

If you can’t be home for the holidays, you can at least bring the holidays from home. And as an added bonus to making your day a little more festive, odds are that decking your own halls will help lift your patients’ spirits too. 

11. Post a holiday selfie

Lastly, may we just say that if the spirit strikes you, consider posting a holiday selfie to give a shout-out to all of the amazing nurses, CNAs, NPs, and other healthcare professionals who keep the world safe and healthy during the holidays. 

You deserve to feel proud of the job you are doing—and the world deserves to recognize that you’re clocking in while they’re digging into dessert.  Especially on holidays. 

Article By: Chaunie Brusie