Holiday Tips for the Busy Nurse

As a nurse during the holiday season you may find yourself blasted with a double whammy. Not only do you have the typical routines that go along with the holiday season- shopping, holiday parties, and making extra food for family and friends- but you still have to work!

While businesses, schools, and other non healthcare entities shut down for blocks of time towards the end of the year we all know as nurses- the patients keep on coming.

It can be a struggle- and even a major downer- to get all of the things in that we’d like to do, fitting them around our holiday work schedule.

So what’s a nurse to do so that she/he can enjoy the holidays, but still get everything done on time? Here are three suggestions that will hopefully help you enjoy your work, your holiday, and everything in between:

Shop online


With shift work, you may not be able to make it to a real store, and real stores can be really stressful. That’s where online shopping comes in.

Not only can you find whatever you want online, you can do it in your sweats at 0400. You can even get everything gift wrapped and take that stress out of your life.

Some of these tips may take the fun out of the holidays, and that’s part of the destressing. If you want to go to a store to see the lights or wrap your own presents, though, go for it!

Delegate decorating

For some people, decorating for Christmas is akin to a massive code brown at shift change. The tree, the lights, and the various other decorations are enough to make a nurse want to cry over the added work.

If you or your family like to have a house that is decked out to the max, delegate, delegate, delegate. Have your spouse, children, friends, neighbors, and passers-by help with whatever you can think of.

Some of us really hate decorating. Some love it, though, so do what feels like enough to you.

Plan meals around schedules

It seems like everyone has a different schedule around the holidays, especially if you have multiple nurses in the family. This can also be the case if you have family coming in from out of town.

Look, no one said that a holiday dinner has to be served on a specific day or even at a specific time. Plan a time that is convenient for everyone and celebrate then.


Find time to relax

Please, take some time to relax. The holidays only come once a year, and they are special – not even in the Hallmark or Disney sort of way.

They are special because they really do bring families together. Relax and enjoy them instead of worrying about gifts, decorations, schedules, work, and other things.

Take one day and make it your holiday day. Go see some lights. Spend time with your holiday decorations. Stroll the mall. Drink cocoa. Do something that says “holidays” to you so that you can take in the true sentiment of this time of year instead of the rank sentimentality.

Don’t forget your nursing friends

Finally, don’t forget your nursing friends who are on the unit! Either you are one of them and will be showing up with them, or they will be working while you are with your family.

If you are with them, plan potlucks and secret Santa lists. Enjoy your work family because sometimes you see them more than you see your family at home. In short, have as much fun as you can.

If you are at home for the holiday, don’t forget those who are working. Send over some donuts, bring some cookies the day before, or participate in the secret Santa.

The holidays don’t need to be overly stressful, although they will be stressful for just about everyone whether you are a nurse or not. With some foresight and some clever planning, though, you can navigate this time of year, enjoy the true wonders of it, and maintain your nursing responsibilities.

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