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Nurses Share Their Favorite Memories of Working Over the Holidays

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Many nurses have to work over the holidays, which usually means celebrating with patients and colleagues. Some providers will go out of their way to bring holiday cheer to the hospital, so everyone can enjoy this special time of year. We asked millions of nurses what they remember about working over the holidays. If you have to work over the holidays, keep these stories in mind to make the most of your time at the hospital.   

The dollar store had headbands with antlers and jingle bells on them. Getting ready for work (LTC), my sister says, “You aren’t actually wearing those at work, are you?” YES! I did. My residents loved them. One of my favorites had a NERF gun and “shot” me with it, yelling from his bed, “Look. I got a buck!” 🤣🤣🤣

Dianna

Giving the gift of life. Transplanting heart and lung recipients. No better gift in the world.

Donna

49 years of working in nursing homes. The potluck dinners, the family dropping in, the patient’s families coming, the giggles, the smiles, the feeling I was making a difference for someone.

Rebecca

I lead an outpatient group for depression on Christmas eve in the evening. I had 4 people come. We discussed loneliness and how to make the best of our holiday. At the end of our session, I was leaving the hospital and it was snowing. I ran into a few of the group members outside while waiting for my ride. They were going to hang out during the holidays to support each other. They thanked me for helping them.

Dan

Working aged care and being with those that don’t have any family and making the day special for them. Even working overtime without pay to do so.

Tammara

A baby girl that I delivered on Christmas Day named Merry Chris Smith.

Suzanne

Putting little hand- knitted red and white hats on newborns that were born on Christmas…. Knitted by my mother!

Nancy

When I was a CNA, I worked on a pediatrician’s stepdown unit. We not only organized a huge staff potluck, we invited the parents of the patients to come have Christmas lunch with us, too. It was beautiful.

Suzanne

It was my first Christmas as a new nurse, and I was scheduled to work the night shift on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. A coworker invited me to her family’s Christmas dinner realizing that I was extremely homesick and wouldn’t get to spend Christmas with my family. Her family welcomed me like one of their own… even had a gift under the tree for the after-dinner gift opening. That was 33 years ago, and Janet and I are still best friends!

Carol

NICU nurse here… we were called for a “full delivery” at the hospital lobby. When we arrived and asked where the baby was, the delivery guy stood there holding all the FOOD asking… what baby? I got food delivered for the NICU… still laughing.

Sandra

Christmas on our ward was nice. Staff would do things a little special like wear funny hats or put on a show to entertain the patients. One year we had a choir. I was singing along, and they asked me to join. One patient laughed so hard at me over acting and singing they said they feel so much better.

It used to be that if you worked Christmas last year, you had it off the next when the new manager came, but before that it was if you don’t have kids, you work Christmas. I was told because I don’t have kids, I’ll be working Christmas and new year. My mother was not happy and wrote to the hospital 😂

Anne-Marie

I didn’t have to work on Christmas as an MDS nurse. I worked at a psych nursing home that took the ones no one else wanted! Most had no family’s that accepted them anymore due to their past behaviors and indiscretions! My husband and I went to the store and bought soft drinks, cookies, and candies to take to them as most weren’t getting any gifts!

The look of joy on their faces at receiving those small gifts was priceless! One of my best Christmas memories! Not a lot of people know this story as I have not shared it! The blessings I received that day far outweighs any recognition that I might have received!! 

Tambra

When my children were little and I had to work Christmas, we would celebrate early because Santa Claus knew our children were special. Now it’s the same with grandchildren. I try to go that extra mile and be extra kind to the staff and patients. I feel blessed to be able to be healthy, and able to be there. Patients don’t choose to be in the hospital on Christmas.

Debby

Giving out gifts to my pediatric patients that were in the hospital for Christmas.

Fred

I drove into work asking myself why I do the work I do. Most people were waking to see what Santa brought and spending the day with their families. I was pretty disgruntled.

I work Labor and Delivery and was assigned to care for a couple who had been trying to have a baby for over 7 years. We talked of how frightened and painful Mary must have been (no epidural, a man she barely knew to deliver her baby) And Joseph too… he’d likely never delivered a baby. My patient delivered a couple of hours before shift change. As I left, the mom said, “Please thank your family for sharing you with us today.” I wept like a child on the ride home.

Patricia

Working night duty and when hearing a noise, looked down the darkish corridor to see a very tall, solid, elderly polish man, completely naked except for a grey knitted beanie on his head, urinating on the gold tinsel Christmas tree underneath the green glow of the exit light. I will never ever forget that image. Well worthy of a humorous Christmas card🤣🤣

Debbie

One year early in my nursing career, I was working at a small nursing home. It was pretty quiet. Staff was at a minimum for the holiday and most residents were out with their families on Christmas Day. I was working with a male CNA who was absolutely hilarious and could make anyone laugh when they needed it. We had a closet that held random extra clothes, shoes, and other dressing items which I assume were things that families had left behind after loved ones passed away that we used if we had a new person that came to us from the hospital that didn’t have anything.

So, he dressed up in all these dresses and wigs and hats and took his ukulele and “performed” in the rooms of the residents who were there. Of course, I was “boss” that day. We had a lot of fun laughing.

Suzie

When my youngest son was 4, all he wanted was a letter from Santa. On Christmas Eve one of my co-workers, Loretta Yates, brought the most beautiful letter for me to put under his pillow. He loved it and carried it around for months. 🎄

Kathy

Thank you to everyone who shared their stories online.

Steven Briggs
Steven Briggs is a healthcare writer for Scrubs Magazine, hailing from Brooklyn, NY. With both of his parents working in the healthcare industry, Steven writes about the various issues and concerns facing the industry today.

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