Nurses: 4 Tips for Making the Most Out of Your Holiday Shift

Holiday Shift

As every nurse knows, nursing is not your typical 9-to-5 profession. Whether working back-to-back 12-hour shifts, adopting a nocturnal lifestyle for the night shift, or working Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve, nurses have found unconventional ways to make the best of their schedules.

With the holidays fast approaching, we recently asked the experts, our community of nurses on Facebook, what advice they have for other nurses around the holidays. Check out their helpful tips below!

1. Mix things up and celebrate on a different day

“Celebrate the holidays with your family before the holidays get there. And go to work and be a blessing to others.” – Misty N.

“Get creative with your family. My husband and I both work in a hospital, so we're doing our ‘Christmas’ with our kids on Christmas Eve. It’s much easier to get off that day or trade with someone and work Christmas, so we can both be off to celebrate with our kids.” – Devon D.

2. Bring the holiday meal with you

“Make the most of it by bringing in goodies for staff and cheering up those patients who are sick!” – Tara F.

“Make it fun. I bring donuts or plan a potluck.” – Ann S.

“All chip in and make food!” – Beth S.

“Potluck!” – Jennifer A.

“Have a unit potluck – it takes the sting out.” – Dara C.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask about switching shifts – and remember to pay it forward!

“As a single mom, after my son left home, I volunteered to work each holiday for those nurses with small children. I knew how hard it was to miss Christmas morning.” – Diann T.

“Sometimes nurses trade holidays, which can made everyone a little happier. Some nurses want the extra pay while others want the extra time at home. Some nurses want to go out on New Year’s Eve, so they trade a Christmas shift with a nurse with young kids. I'd suggest asking around early if you think that maybe your holiday shift isn't the best, because quite possibly, someone might be looking to trade also.” – Tammy R.

4. In the season of giving, make the holidays special for those you are caring for

“[Practice] empathy. Your patients don't want to be there any more than you do (and you get to go home at the end of your shift).” – Kelsey S.

“Just do it! Smile and be cheerful as you get through it!” – Mary-Ellen M.

“Make the patients feel as though they are your family or you are their family.” – Vera

“You’ll eventually go home, but the people you are caring for more than likely won’t get to. So make the most of it not only for yourself, but for your patients as well.” – Ariel B.

“Have a good attitude and spread cheer to your patients!” – Jen Y.

“Family is who you make it. Celebrate it with your work family.” – Carrie M.

While working over the holidays can certainly be challenging, a delicious meal, a kind word or finding an alternate day to celebrate can make all the difference.

Want to learn new ways to cultivate mindfulness in your nursing practice this holiday season? Put these tips into practice!

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