Nursing during the holiday season can be challenging, yet extremely rewarding. With the frenzied holiday scheduling, and being away from your family during festive gatherings, you may find yourself quickly becoming a 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, are some of the most magical moments you will experience as a nurse. So like with everything else in life, the key is finding a good 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, if I am off for Thanksgiving, I will have to work Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Each facility has their own holiday bidding 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 very 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. Believe me, I know how hard it is to say no to a second, or even third helping 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 holiday time, spend your days off surrounded by those you’ll miss the most. There is nothing wrong with celebrating Thanksgiving or Christmas early or late 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 on the job will definitely brighten up your shifts. Also, getting clients involved when appropriate, such as simple arts and crafts, can also help bring you and them some holiday joy 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 things should be. With Thanksgiving just past, and Christmas 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. Just “lean into joy” and let the rest of your holiday shift be as magical as the days you spend with your family and friends!
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