Nurses on Christmas: A Catheter Carol

So you’re a nurse scheduled to work this Christmas? HO, HO…..NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been naughty or nice, being scheduled for a nursing shift on Christmas is inevitable for a lot of nurses. After all, medical care never takes a holiday.

“On the days leading up to Christmas, doctors and nurses do everything we can to get patients discharged home. So you feel bad for the patients who don’t make it out, and their families. Also as a result, the patient acuity is very high, resulting in a heavy workload.” Beth Hawkes, author of Nurse Code, told us.

Being scheduled to work on during the “most wonderful time of the year” is probably some of the least wonderful news you can receive. But, it’s still important to provide the same quality care to patients during a holiday shift that you would deliver any time of year. No matter how disappointing it can be, there are a lot worse things. As long as you’re still gainfully employed in a career with unlimited opportunity to grow, blessed with good health and able to at least see some cheerful faces roaming the halls in snowflake sweaters and reindeer ears; you’re still one of the lucky ones. Don’t ever forget that!

“What’s memorable about working Christmas is the sadness you feel because you know every patient there is SO sick,” noted Hawkes. While working your mind wants to filled with sugarplums dancing in your head, but your mind must stay focused on the normal, regular work day. It almost feels “surreal” to have a workday on a holiday, because normally the two don’t normally mesh in our heads.

Scheduling which employees must work on Christmas Day is different depending on how your office handles it. Obviously, it’s not going to be anyone’s first choice but some places offer their employees incentives like extra vacation days for their selflessness of choosing to work on December 25th. Other places will choose based off a lottery and you never know who will lose the luck of the draw…

But, alas, it’s not all terrible anyway. Look on the brightside before you start behaving like a total Scrooge this Christmas, nurses!

There actually can be some perks that accompany working on Christmas for nurses:

1. At least you don’t have to clean or cook for your relatives.

Every year, high hopes for the holidays are often met with disappointment and an overabundance of pressure. I mean, whether it be your drunk uncle who says a borderline racist remark at the dinner table, your sister’s boisterous toddler running around breaking your vintage ornaments off the tree or accidentally letting your turkey get so dry no amount of gravy could redeem it—celebrating Christmas Day with everyone can be super stressful.

And hey, hospitals will hook every one up on holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas anyway with at least some turkey or ice cream slapped on those plastic trays. Best part? No prep time and clean up!

2. Share the season with an eclectic group of people.

Working on Christmas can be like living in a real-life Lifetime movie. You might as well grab some popcorn as you feast your eyes on some truly magical moments shared between patients and their loved ones. Little boys and girls visiting their grandparents with a glow in their eyes and a spring in their step is more than enough to warm your heart this cold December. Plus, they exchange more than gifts. They exchange hugs and kisses. (How sweet!)

3. Overtime pay.

I’m sure you can use the spare scratch after you receive your credit card bill next month for all the presents you’ve bought friends and family. (The holidays sure as heck have made my pocket in a drought this year, so the overtime pay is nice.)


This season, I wish all working healthcare providers and nurses (as well as any other individual having to work on holidays) the warmest wishes. “Be thankful that you are not the one IN the hospital,”  Scrubs Magazine said “That you get to leave after your shift and proceed with your plans while your patient spends the rest of the holiday in a hospital bed.”


Author: Travel Nurse Source

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