8 Ways to Prepare for Your Holiday Nursing Shifts


As the holidays approach, your life will start to get busier. When you are a practicing nurse, you have to balance work and your personal life to meet all the demands of family and friends. With the right planning, you can enjoy the holidays and make many great memories. Here are 8 ways to prepare for your holiday nursing shifts:

1. Celebrate when you can.

You might not have Christmas day off of work, so ask your family and friends to celebrate with you when you are off. This might mean a drive for you to attend a gathering the night before or the day after.

2. Be flexible.

Your family and friends might not understand that you can’t get off work as easily as they can. Try not to get frustrated with them, be understanding and flexible with what you need and want from your holidays.

3. Plan ahead.

Start planning your holiday shifts way ahead of time. Coordinate with your family and friends on days to celebrate that work around your schedule. For instance, if you are working over Thanksgiving, plan to celebrate a day or two later.

4. Organize a work party.

Many times, your co-workers can feel like family. Take some time during a shift to celebrate with your team. Have everyone bring in their favorite holiday treat or consider exchanging small gifts. If you can, consider celebrating outside of the workplace. This time of year can be very busy, so you could even plan a fun holiday party after the actual holidays when more of your team could attend

5. Give to others.

Your patients are in the hospital celebrating their holidays. Sometimes when you are able to give and be mindful of others, you are less likely to feel sorry for yourself. Rather than being sad about missing your own family’s get together, you plan a festive evening with your patients and your team.

6. Don’t overextend yourself.

Do you normally do the bulk of the Christmas or Hanukkah cooking? Ask others to help or organize a potluck, so everyone shares the burden. If you know you are scheduled to work over a holiday, know your limits and time constraints. Others will be happy to help if they know what you need.

7. Make your workplace feel celebratory.

With permission from your manager, decorate your workstation over the holidays. Get together with your team and take some votes on how to decorate, so everyone feels involved and is able to enjoy the holidays. Be sure to be sensitive and inclusive of everyone’s holidays, not just your own.

8. Use technology.

Make the most of your breaks during your shift. If able, Skype with friends and family, follow their photos on social media and ask specifically for videos and photos. When you get a lot of photos from different family members, you’ll see all different views of the gathering and you’ll feel included even if you’re not able to attend.

You can enjoy your holidays as a nurse if you are a bit resourceful and flexible. Work with your team and your manager to get off for at least a couple of days during the holiday season.

Talk to other nurses and healthcare professionals who have the same holiday issues you might have. Get nursing school advice and support from other nurses, download the Nurse Backpack app. If you’re looking for a way to streamline your career, give the app a try today.

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