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Nurses Share Their Best Memories from Working Over the Holidays


As a nurse, you will likely have to work over the holidays at some point during your career. Sure, you get double the pay but not being with your loved ones can be a real buzz kill.

Being trapped with your colleagues and patients on the holidays can lead to some heartwarming moments on the job. Lots of providers go to great lengths to help the sick and infirm celebrate special occasions in the hospital. It can be a great way to pay it forward to people in need or you can use this moment to be grateful for what you have. Here are some of the best stories of nurses working over the holidays:

Reading Twas the Night Before Christmas to the babies in the NICU on Christmas Eve after all the parents had left. It was so peaceful and lovely. I loved working Christmas Eve on the night shift.


Knowing I was able to give a nurse with a family time off to spend the holiday with their loved ones since I was single & had no children.


On Thanksgiving one of our ER crew brought a deep fryer and set it up outside the back door. When he dropped the turkey in it caught fire and the flames went up the side of the building clear to the second story. Fire department had to be called and we were forbidden to cook on the night shift. It was good for a laugh and the story has lived on-and we continued to cook at night!


I worked on an acute psych/detox unit on New Year’s Eve. The staff brought in snacks and sparkling grape juice and had a small celebration with the patients. It was a really good time and the patients appreciated being able to do something normal.


My mom was a nurse, so we often celebrated Thanksgiving on a different day, but as a child we really didn’t even notice. My mom has since passed, but I am also a nurse and working this Thanksgiving. Taking a page from mom…. I’m cooking my holiday meal on Saturday. I work in a hospice IPU. Families and patients are always very grateful to the staff working a holiday. ❤


When I was working in a residential substance abuse treatment facility, we would do Christmas for the 61 clients. It was amazing to see how much love the guys felt opening their gifts! Each one would make a little wish list and the staff would play Santa.


After working the day shift on Thanksgiving, I returned home exhausted, ready to make the turkey dinner, only to find my 15-year-old son had dinner ready to serve when I got home. What a guy! Best turkey dinner ever! ❤


One year a local church came through and the pastor played the guitar, and the children sang Christmas songs. It was beautiful and so kind of them to do.


Working Christmas Eve on night shift. At midnight it began snowing. It was so beautiful. The unit was quiet, and we were able to watch from the lobby windows.


When I was working nights in Retirement, I got to be Santa and deliver the stockings for the residents for their morning surprise!


When I was working in pediatrics in 1973, a four-year-old boy with hemophilia received a car from Santa with no batteries! I took the batteries out of the otoscope and put them in the car for him! Then I removed the mattress from an empty crib and put it on the floor for him to sit on and run the car on the hard surface floor!


Watching the surgeon carve the turkey on my first ward in a snowy London, England. We were very short staffed, so the ward aid and I managed treatments, meds, and personal care for 18 patients. But I had a white Christmas and lots of fun with everyone.


Singing Christmas hymns with a doctor while putting in an arterial line on a trauma patient.


A c/section and the anesthesiologist played Christmas carols in the OR. The baby was born to Joy to the World… It was perfect.


Getting my free cafeteria turkey dinner and taking it into an elderly patient’s room. She had no living family, so I adopted her that Thanksgiving.


It was always a different, fun-loving atmosphere…. probably because there wasn’t an administrator anywhere close to the hospital!


Used to work in an inpatient child/adolescent psych unit. We had them set the tables (tablecloth was a sheet!) and we had a ‘family’ dinner. And for just a little while, there was a calmness in the unit.


Working in an Alzheimer unit and setting up the tree with the residents. They were so engaged and involved; they really enjoyed it, especially the ones that didn’t have families to visit or take them out.


I had a patient two years ago that we call Santa, because he seriously looked like Santa and played Santa all the time. I had to work Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and there’s nothing better than spending that time with Santa!! We sang Christmas carols, and he passed out gifts to the rest of the patients on the unit. It was fabulous!!


These responses were edited for length and clarity.


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