Nursing during the holidays can be pretty tough, even for experienced nurses. Not only do nurses see a surge of patients during this time of year, but it can also be hard to stay at work instead of spending time with your family. This being said, dedicating your time and care to your patients is one of the greatest gifts you can give during the holiday season. So, we’ve put together a list of strategies of how to handle holiday shifts for nurses. Being stuck at work during the holidays is never ideal, but there are several ways that you can make the best of it! Continue reading for our top three tips.
Holiday Shifts for Nurses: 4 Tips
Have a Plan
Every facility is different when it comes to holiday scheduling and time off. Whether you’re on a travel assignment or starting a full-time position, it’s important to familiarize yourself with how your supervisor handles schedules and time off during the holidays. This will help you plan ahead so that you can maximize the amount of time you spend with your loved ones. The longer you wait, the greater the likelihood is that your request will be denied, so make sure you have a plan in place!
It is also important to prioritize your time off for each year. Holidays shifts for nurses are all too common, so you need to be prepared to work quite a few of them throughout your career. If you love Thanksgiving and don’t mind working New Year’s Eve, then try to work something out with your supervisor so that you can be out of your scrubs and eating turkey with your family.
Be a Team Player
Volunteering to work some of your lower priority holidays has many benefits. Paying it forward when it comes to holiday shifts for nurses could earn you holiday pay, including extra hourly rates and overtime for federal holidays. Travel nurses can also earn holiday pay or choose to visit family between assignments if they plan ahead. Both travel nurses and full-time staff can also take pride in helping their patients get well while also allowing their hard-working co-workers to spend time with their loved ones on these special days. And who knows? Maybe a grateful colleague will remember this kind deed and return the favor later in the year by covering your shift.
Have Some Fun
Just because you’re at work on a holiday doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun. It’s all about your attitude, and you need to remember that you will have your ‘work-family’ with you every step of the way. Try your best to be engaging and positive with other staff members, providing support whenever needed. Bringing in holiday cookies, wearing costumes, hosting a potluck dinner, and organizing a Secret Santa event are all great ways to keep morale up in your facility during those long holiday shifts. Get creative with it and remember that this holiday cheer will also be good for your patients, who probably share your frustration about spending a holiday in the hospital. It may not be the same as celebrating with family, but putting some effort into creating a happier environment shows others that you care about them and want them to have a good time.
Most nurses will end up working quite a few holidays, but it’s up to you to make your work experience the best it can be. Try not to get discouraged if things don’t go your way at first, it takes some time to learn the ropes and seniority always helps once you’ve been working somewhere long enough. So, remember to keep up the good work, plan ahead, prioritize, pay it forward, and have a little fun, too!
Is there any additional advice you can share with us about holiday shifts for nurses? Tell us in the comments below!