Holidays in the hospital

iStock Photo|O76

iStock Photo|O76

I know that many of us hate working on the holidays. Chances are, if you are or ever have been a floor nurse, you have worked at least one holiday in your career.

One of my favorite “holiday at work” stories took place on Thanksgiving a few years ago. We were all grumbling about working on Turkey Day instead of being at home with our friends and families. Then a patient came in who trumped us all.

Not only was he admitted to the hospital on Thanksgiving, but it was his BIRTHDAY as well! As if that wasn’t enough, his entire family was going to be at his house, so his wife had to go home to finish cooking. There he was, all alone, on Thanksgiving and his birthday.

One of the nurses went across the street to the cafeteria and bought him a muffin. We found a candle and all went in to sing him “Happy Birthday.” The surprise in his eyes was awesome. Then we realized that we all could watch the parade in his room, and we had our very own Happy Birth-Thanksgiving-Day Celebration—nursing style!

Whenever I am annoyed about working on a holiday, I remember that patient. Obviously, we were all supposed to be at work on that day so that we could make his day a little brighter and make him a little bit better. And maybe he will always save a tiny piece of cake for us nurses!

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Rebekah Child

Rebekah Child attended the University of Southern California for her bachelor's in nursing and decided to brave the academic waters and return for her master's in nursing education, graduating in 2003 from Mount St. Mary's. Rebekah has also taught nursing clinical and theory at numerous Southern California nursing schools and has been an emergency nurse since 2002. She is currently one of the clinical educators for an emergency department in Southern California and a student (again!) in the doctoral program at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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3 Responses to Holidays in the hospital

  1. grammpaa

    I’ve worked a lot of holidays and while I’ve never had your experience, I have had patients die during the holiday season and suddenly my aches and pains and whatever i was whiny about all disappear. Reality can have a tendency to give us a good slap upside our head to remember what’s important. Those families holidays will forever be a little sadder because a loved one isn’t there. We all know how tough our jobs can be, esp. at this time of year but we also know we’re nurses for a reason that can’t be quantified. Like the feeling we get from a hug and a thank you from a family is more valuable than money will ever be.

  2. babupa

    33 years ago my son was born on Thanksgiving Day. As a nurse I felt bad for my OB and all my fellow nurses who also were “laboring” that day ! As the day progressed I appreciated them so very much for helping me deliver my little turkey, I still can remember their caring attitude and actually made the day a fantastic memorable occasion. A very belated thanks to the OB staff at St. Clares in Denville, N.J. and to Dr. Albanese, glad you were all there that day !