Life as a new nurse can be tough, and for any professional, so can working through the holidays. When combined, this can be a particularly challenging situation — though not uncommon! As a new nurse this holiday season, you’ll want to remember that many of the nurses around you have gone through, or are currently going through, the same thing, so try to embrace it with them!
So whether it be through something as satisfying and simple as shopping for seasonal scrub jackets for women to treat yourself (not to mention keep you comfortable), as big of an undertaking as decorating the entire office and carrying it on with an Elf on the Shelf initiative to make it somewhere you WANT to be over the holidays or as personal as adding up your OT and basking in the bucks you’ll bring home, working through the holidays as a new nurse is a new experience. But it is potentially an extremely fun one full of new traditions and full of chances to embrace your new work family!
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Order Food for Your Unit
When you’re ordering food for your unit, keep in mind that it’s not necessary to arrange a craft service or go overboard! Even if it’s something as simple as getting a couple of cartons of eggnog and cookies brought in so that everyone can enjoy the festive taste together at lunch, it’s all about bringing the team together and feeling like a family.
Elf on the Shelf
Elf on the Shelf is a common Christmas initiative, but can also be tricky to continue finding new and fun setup ideas — which is why it can be so much fun in medical facilities. Not only are there plentiful places to set up the facility’s resident elf, but exceptionally fun setups as well! As simple as this is to do, its impact is significant on colleagues and patients alike.
Do a Little Math
No amount can make up for the lack of time with loved ones during the holiday seasons — but it sure can help. When it comes to nursing over the holidays, counting your OT and double-time pay can sometimes be as beneficial as counting all of your other blessings!
Decorate the Unit/Practice
Nothing gets us into the holiday spirit and into a good mood better than the right decorations. Not only you, but your patients, too! With everyone feeling festive happiness, everyone is bound to benefit. Not only this, but it’s a good way to “mask” your normal workplace and make it feel less like you’re stuck at work. Some simple, affordable and clever decorating ideas for medical environments include:
- Medical glove Christmas trees (inflated or not)
- Dixie cup snowmen that are almost as fun to assemble as real snowmen.
- Store-bought staff stockings (or handmade if you have a talented team member or want to encourage everyone to make their own out of fabric and fabric glue over lunch breaks)
Formal to Festive
If you work within a smaller facility, consider approaching management or administration to discuss holiday-izing any forms, low-level documents and pieces like appointment cards. While you probably won’t see them all the time, little initiatives like this will spread cheer throughout the practice and to patients — and you WILL see this part!
Embrace Your New Family
While nobody could ever replace your family and friends, it’s important to embrace your work family as something familiar and close. Nobody wants to be stuck at work through the holidays especially — so don’t think of yourself as stuck. Remind yourself that these people are your new family of your new career and that they are all a part of this, too, and are there to support you! You’re not stuck here away from your family — you’ve chosen to be here and go down this path in life, and you’re doing just that with your crew.
As Christmas comes around, so does the cold weather. Tensing our bodies, trying to stay comfortable and coping with cold temperatures can affect our moods and make our work extra hard, though. It’s important to make sure that you’re comfortable and able to work through the holidays by making sure you’re able to work in general. If you do find yourself cold at work a lot come the colder seasons, consider investing in some cute scrub undershirts for the season to help.
Embrace any holiday or seasonal style pieces that you can! This can be as simple or significant as:
- Your accessories — which could include little holiday earrings, a nice bag, badge reels, lanyards, stethoscope covers, socks, shoelaces, hair accessories and even possibly medical gloves in corresponding holiday colors.
- Your scrubs, depending on the policies in place where you work. Wearing printed scrub tops with holiday designs and solid (complementary) colored bottoms is a surefire way to flaunt the look though, if you can.
- Your supplies. This can be anything from your notebook and pen to your stethoscope because no matter what, it’s sure to put a smile on everyone’s faces while you work, including yours!
Unfortunately, there’s normally no way around it as a new nurse. You’re likely to be among the nurses who are working the holidays.
Many facilities grant requests for time off (especially when it comes to the holidays and busy times) by seniority, so don’t expect your request to be granted and don’t expect to have every (if any) holiday off. But do, if possible, schedule your time off early to try and ensure you have even the slightest chance of getting it! Fortunately, even if you don’t succeed in getting any time off this holiday season, the tips and techniques mentioned above should not only help you to get through it and stay spirited, but spread the spirit to your patients as well.