Working the Holiday Shift? 5 Tips to Stay Sane

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Nurse working the holiday shiftWorking during the holidays can be especially challenging: You want to be celebrating at home with your loved ones, yet you’re on shift, providing nursing care during one of the toughest times of the year.

Here are five ways to keep yourself motivated and calm even when you’re feeling down.

  • Remember how powerful your role is. For your patients, being hospitalized or ill over the holidays may be one of the lowest points they will face. As their nurse, you have enormous power to make their experience better. Don’t shy away from conversation — engage with them about the celebrations that have been important to them, and how they’re feeling. Engage their families, too — remember that they are also facing a difficult holiday season, full of stress and worry.
  • Involve your co-workers. Find out who else will be at work, and plan to do something easy but celebratory. It can be small — a small gift exchange or just a quick potluck in a break room for people to filter in and out of.
  • If you manage a team — or if you’re a part of a small group — consider giving out a small gift or card to those who are also working the holiday shifts. Even the smallest token can increase feelings of camaraderie and pride.
  • Set aside special, designated time for your family in lieu of the traditional holiday day. Taking good care of yourself is essential to taking good care of your patients, and during the holiday season that often means finding time to focus on the people you love, even if you have to get creative about scheduling.
  • Along the same lines, invite your friends and family to join you on a scheduled lunch or break at work — it will give them a firsthand appreciation of the incredible job you’re doing, while also giving you some much-needed love.

What are your tips for getting through holiday shifts? Please let us know on our Facebook page.

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