Can’t be Home for the Holidays? Smile Anyway!

Our blogger explains there are worse things than working when it seems the rest of the world is off

In the nursing field, we all expect to work weekends and holidays. For example, I used to work every fourth weekend but then changes to our weekend program (in which some nurses chose to work every weekend because of child care needs, personal schedules, etc.) resulted in a change to working every third weekend.

Now that I switched units, I have to work every other weekend, with plans to eventually go back to every third weekend. This is very typical for nurses who work in hospitals or even urgent care facilities. Now, if you work in an office setting or private care setting, you will basically work no weekends or just be on call every so often.

Valentine’s Day was last week, and while I do not necessarily consider this a huge holiday (hospitals and offices do not recognize it as a holiday you would be off for), some people take the day very seriously. But as a nurse, you have to accept that you will miss out on some holidays. You won’t work every single Christmas as a new nurse (unless that’s your preference), but you are going to be working a certain percentage of holidays. You will miss out time with your family on these days. Some nurses work 12-hour shifts, some 8-hour shifts, and others have a very unique schedule where they just work for four hours or something different. Depending on the field of nursing you choose, you will not necessarily work a lot of holidays.

Believe it or not, there are perks to working holidays. You are paid at least time and a half, a pretty fair deal especially for those holidays you and your family don’t celebrate. It’s an easy way to make some extra money. Bear in mind many co-workers will be willing to switch with you for a big holiday like your child’s first Christmas. I had one coworker who loved New Year’s Day, and was always willing to cover Christmas for someone so she, in turn, could be off January 1.

Lastly, consider your patients, They’d rather be home celebrating as well, rather than sick in the hospital. So try not to be miserable on your holidays because the patients can feel it. Try to think of it as a gift to your patients that you can give them by being cheerful and showing them they are not alone on the holidays. Sadly, you may be their only visitor that day.

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