3 tips to help you enjoy your holiday shifts


iStockphoto | ThinkStock

iStockphoto | ThinkStock

Why am I doing this again?

Now that the holiday season is upon us (and many of us nurses have to work while our loved ones get to stay home and play), we might be questioning why we went into nursing in the first place. It’s no fun working when everyone else is off, enjoying meals, gifts and holiday traditions with family and friends.

But this is the time of year when many of our patients need us most.

Some of them don’t have family and friends. Many of them are scared and alone. And I can bet that all of them would rather be anywhere but in the hospital during this time of year.

Instead of focusing on the downsides of nursing during the holidays, let’s choose something different. Together we can empower ourselves and enjoy our work and our home life, no matter where we find ourselves on these special days.

Here are three tips for shifting your nursing perspective during this busy time of year:

1. Reconnect with what you enjoy. One of the simplest ways to reconnect ourselves with our nursing selves is to remember what brought us to nursing in the first place. After that memory is brought back to life, bring it into the here-and-now. You might ask yourself the following questions: What is it about nursing that I love? What’s my favorite part of my job? In what ways am I passionate about this really awesome and humbling profession? Reconnecting with your purpose is a wonderful way to shed light on the joy of your life.

2. Discover the good in everyone. I had a client last week tell me how she was making a conscious choice to find the good in every single person she worked with, even when it was hard. From the front desk to the parking garage, from the manager to the newest graduate on your unit, from the CEO to the ancillary staff, what can you appreciate in every single person? The more you see the good in everything you do–and everyone you greet–the more your environment is filled with good things to see. Try it for yourself. Give this a shot for a week or so and see what happens.

3. Be mindful of gratitude. The fastest and easiest to shift your perspective is through the practice of gratitude. We get what we give. Now, during the holidays, or at any time of year. Our thoughts become our worlds. If you’re able to focus on what you’re thankful for–about your job, your place of employment and your coworkers–you’re much more likely to enjoy working the holiday shifts. Yes, they may still be hard…we all want to be with family. But what is it about being a nurse and sharing the holiday with a patient that can lift your spirits? How can you be grateful today?

Elizabeth Scala
Spiritual Practice Nurse Elizabeth Scala is on a mission to transform the profession of nursing from the inside out. Individuals typically enter nursing with a desire to provide compassionate, heart-based care. Challenged by regulations, financial pressures and technological advancements, today’s nurse struggles to balance the art with the science of nursing. As a speaker, trainer, facilitator and author, Elizabeth inspires nursing teams to reconnect with the passionate and fulfilling joy that once called them to their career.; Back to the Basics: A Nurse's Pocket Guide to Self-Care

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