All shift nurses have been there: Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s rolls around and…guess who’s scheduled to work? While spending the holidays away from your family is never fun, it’s still possible to get into the holiday spirit (yes, even at work!) with your coworkers and patients. We asked our Facebook fans for their hospital holiday traditions…get some inspiration from their responses below, then share your own traditions in the comments!
1. We dress the NICU babies up in stockings and Santa hats and have professional photos made for the families. A preemie in a stocking is just the cutest thing you’ve ever seen!
2. On the night shift, we pick one night and bring lots of food. As a unit, we adopt nursing home patients and buy them presents. Some years we draw names for a gift exchange, but I would rather adopt someone in need. The people we adopt usually are elderly and have no family to speak of.
3. For those of us who work on Christmas Day, we wear ugly sweaters, exchange gifts and make the best of any situation. We are at work, our patients are sick…so with that in mind, we are grateful.
4. Last year, we did a secret Santa. All of the nurses helped decorate the unit. It was so much fun, and a team builder, to have all of us come together. We had a nice potluck meal, too.
—Lisa Julian Johnson
5. On our floor, we do a secret Santa for the staff and if you work the holiday, people bring in their favorite holiday dishes. We also do cookies and bars. We try very hard to make it feel like you’re spending time with your second family.
6. Every holiday the night shift has a big potluck. We are a very multicultural group so we all bring a dish that is typically eaten on our culture’s big holidays and share. It’s really amazing to see all the dishes from around the world in our break room and everyone is always happy to try a new food.
7. Each unit/department in the hospital puts up decorations, and there is a contest and prize for the winning unit. On our geriatric floors, the patients are involved in putting up the decorations and decorating the tree.
8. We have lots of gift and cookie exchanges, etc. … but for me, Christmas is about tradition and if I’m working Christmas day, I wear my great-grandmother’s nursing grad pin from 1922.
What’s your hospital holiday tradition?