Nursing during the holiday season can be one of the most challenging, yet most rewarding times of your career. With hectic holiday scheduling, Thanksgiving dinner sending you into a food coma, and perhaps being away from your family for the first time, you may find yourself quickly becoming the holiday Grinch.
However, you will also find that being there for your clients and their families during their time of need, especially during the holidays, can be some of the most magical moments you will experience as a nurse. So like with everything else in life, the key is finding balance.
Here are five easy ways you can prepare to handle (and ENJOY) nursing during the holiday season:
Know how scheduling works on your unit during the holiday season.
On some nursing units, the manager requires all staff to work two of the three major holidays. For example, I am off Thanksgiving, but I will have to work Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Each place has their own system, so it is important that you find out as soon as possible about holiday time off so that you can plan accordingly.
Limit your intake of sugar and holiday treats.
It is so easy to become fatigued and experience burnout on the job, so it’s very important to eat a well-balanced diet during this high-stress time of the year. Trust me, I know how hard it is to say no to seconds, or thirds of Mrs. Johnson’s famous fudge, but you just have to say “No thank you, I will save some for the rest of the team.”
Take full advantage of your days off.
Since you may find yourself away from your family and friends during some of the holidays, spend your days off surrounded by those you’ll miss the most. There is nothing wrong with celebrating Thanksgiving or Christmas early on a day you have off rather than missing out altogether. You will better enjoy your time at work knowing that you have already spent quality time with those you love.
Spread holiday cheer in your workplace.
Having organized potlucks, putting up decorations, and spreading holiday cheer will definitely brighten up your holiday shifts. Also, getting clients involved when appropriate, such as simple arts and crafts, can also help bring you and them some holiday cheer as well.
Always perform in the light of gratitude.
It’s easy to get caught up in negative moments, dwelling on what isn’t right, and fussing about how it should be. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, remember you always have something to be thankful for. When you feel overwhelmed, you should stop, take a deep breath, and think of one thing that is a blessing in your life. Then think about your clients and how your selfless care will be something they have on their own thankful list.