Crystal Gustafson
Crystal Gustafson
November 25, 2015 - 3 min read

Surviving and Thriving During the Holidays as a Nurse

It is official; the holidays are now upon us. Some of you may get a warm fuzzy feeling, some of you may cringe or maybe some of you are like me in that you feel indifferent about them altogether.

I feel like us indifferent people are the lucky ones in this situation, especially as healthcare workers. The majority of my coworkers and myself have learned to plan our lives around the mandated holiday schedules and after time, having to work on them doesn’t seem so bad.

For those of you who are new to this profession or who may still be struggling, let me give you a few pointers.

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Holiday Scheduling

Unless someone forgot to put you on the schedule for November and December, you will most likely be working at least one or two holidays depending on how nice your supervisor is. Most of the time you will have some idea of what holiday(s) you will be working many months prior too so you can plan ahead.

I like to remind people that the most important part of the holidays is that you are spending time with your loved ones. Just because you don’t have Thanksgiving Day off doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate on another day. If you are extremely religious and working on Christmas Eve and Christmas is offensive to you, then guess what, you have two other holidays to choose from; Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

From my experience, there aren’t many people in this profession who get worked up about their holidays. I think we all understand that our noble profession calls on us to take care of people despite what day of the week it is.

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Food for Thought

So now that we understand that no matter what, we will have to work on the holidays, why don’t we make the best of it. Every single place I have worked has some sort of potluck on the holiday that they work. Some people even do Secret Santa gifts.

Participating in your holiday party at work brings you closer to your coworkers and if you have a family like mine, you might enjoy spending time with your coworkers even more.

Working on the holidays gives you an excuse to not have to prepare an entire meal for your extended family. Instead you can just stop by the grocery on the way to work or take time to prepare your favorite side dish to bring to the party. If you’re lucky enough, the hospital might provide you with a free meal that day or night.

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It Pays to Work the Holidays

I personally prefer to work on the holidays and celebrate on a different day because there usually isn’t anything to do but sit around, watch T.V., and eat and I can do that on any day; plus you get paid more. I would rather have my days off when everyone else is back to work. Traveling before or after the holidays is usually cheaper and there is less people. It’s a win-win situation.

If working on the holidays is still a big deal to you than I suggest you get an office job because even PRN and travel nurses have to work the holidays; unless of course as a travel nurse you have enough money in the bank to take a month or two off in between assignments then you might be able to get away with not working the holidays.

Embrace the Holiday Spirit

As you can see, working the holidays as a healthcare professional is inevitable. This is why it’s important to love the people you work with; they will become your home away from home. Complaining about working on the holidays only makes you sound like a scrooge. Remember, the rest of the world has to work five days a week. We only have to work three! Let those Monday through Friday people enjoy their time off. They need it.

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