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Making the Best of Holiday Shift Work

Created Dec 20 2018, 12:35 PM by Lippincott Solutions
  • nursing shifts on holidays
  • holiday nursing shift work
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As if the end of the year wasn’t stressful enough, nurses have one extra headache to deal with: holiday shifts. Sure, the extra padding in your paycheck from working a holiday is nice. But, for many, the appeal of extra cash wears off soon as nurses miss the events of the season.

Even if working holiday shifts makes you feel like you got a lump of coal in your stocking, you can still make the best of a bad situation. And it doesn’t take extreme efforts to help spread some holiday cheer.

Staying positive during holiday shift work

No matter your role in nursing, you can help boost your, and your unit’s, mood.

  • Celebrate when you can: Staying jolly on your holiday shift requires a little extra planning compared to normal workdays. If you’re scheduled on a major holiday, it’s still possible to participate in family events…you may just have to adjust the schedule a bit. Enlist your family members to help you decide on substitute celebration days which allow you to be part of the festivities. After all, you don’t have to celebrate a holiday on the actual day — you can have a holiday anytime your family and friends get together to kick up your heels.
  • Get in on the perks: It’s also helpful to devote time during the day to enjoying some holiday perks. Don’t forget about the extra cash you’re making by being there. Some hospitals also offer holiday meals or small gift cards to employees. If your facility offers these kinds of perks, they can help you stay cheerful.
  • Get festive: Fun activities like pot lucks and gift exchanges help you stay in the spirit of the day while working. Organizing a pot luck is a wonderful way to bring your entire unit together to celebrate. Depending on your unit, you might also be able to accent your scrubs with some antlers or a Santa hat.
  • Show your appreciation: One of the best ways to stay positive is to express your appreciation for your fellow coworkers. From a small gift to a simple thank you, appreciation boosts everyone’s mood.
  • Worship if you want to: Most healthcare facilities house chapels or other religious spaces where anyone can worship. If religious ceremonies are important to you, try a visit to the chapel or a talk with your hospital’s pastoral staff. They can easily help you incorporate your religious priorities into your day.
  • Plan for other time off: In most cases, working one holiday means you don’t have to work another. If you’re on the clock during the end-of-the-year holiday season, talk with your manager about not working other holidays throughout the year.
  • Don’t forget about your patients: Just like you, your patients know it’s a holiday. And honestly, they don’t want to be in a healthcare facility either. Be sure to stay positive around your patients and empathize with them. Ultimately, being grouchy around the people you’re caring for affects your patient care.
  • Make it meaningful: Working a holiday can bring on added stress, but devoting yourself to the best patient care possible can help you remember why you became a nurse in the first place. There’s no greater feeling than helping someone during their greatest hour of need. Taking the time to be thankful for your skills and your work helps keep holiday work in perspective.