Enjoy Your Healthcare Family over the Holidays!

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Most nurses enter the profession knowing that you have to work the holidays. Working the holidays can be annoying, and everyone knows that coworker who truly HATES working the holiday.

With the right attitude, working the holidays can be a real blessing.   How can you make the best of the holidays on your unit?

First, be grateful. You get to go home.

Sure, working the holidays and missing your family really does stink, but at least you get to go home.

Think of all your patients who do not get to go home. Projecting a positive attitude can only make their day better.

BE THAT NURSE. Greet your patients with a smile, like you do any other day. Be grateful that you get to go home. Heck, be grateful you have a job, your health, and your coworkers!  

During report, interrupt and ask everyone what they are grateful for. Gratefulness is contagious with positivity and appreciation shown to coworkers.

Make sure your second family at your job knows how grateful you are for them.  It’s a different Christmas. Why not make the best of it?!

Plan to share a meal

Before the holidays come, most nurses know they are assigned to work. Most units have a holiday schedule, and you may know a year in advance the holidays you will be working. Get those coworkers together and plan a potluck. At least eat some good food on the holiday…that is…if you get to eat!

Wear something festive

If you are allowed, bust out the Christmas light necklace, or that reindeer pen you picked up. Can’t use that? Spruce up those feet with some holiday socks!

Host an exchange with coworkers

Everyone knows how hard the holidays can be on everyone’s finances, but do something small. Have a sock exchange with your coworkers and everyone can wear them on Christmas day!

Give to those in need

One year, I heard from a colleague that the whole OB unit brought in a side dish for Thanksgiving dinner. They gave it to the family with first baby born on Thanksgiving so they could have a festive dinner in their delivery room. Don’t have that much time? Gift cards to the local grocery store are just as good for a family in need!

Be a humane human

Do you have small children? If not, think about working the 7-11am shift for a young mom or dad. They will never forget it, and may be there for you on New Year’s Eve so you can celebrate! Thinking of each other will help the holidays be manageable.


This year, do your best to put your inner Scrooge to the side and embrace the holiday spirit even if you have to work.

As the great Tiny Tim so eloquently said, “God bless us, every one.”

Thanks so much for reading. Take care and stay connected!

Renee Thompson


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Dr. Renee Thompson works with healthcare organizations that want to overcome the leadership and clinical challenges their people face every day.

If you’d like to find out more about her programs, please visit her website

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