The holiday season is just around the corner, and for millions of healthcare professionals, that can mean work, work, and more work. The thought of working during the winter holidays can bring you down, but it can also bring holiday cheer. For the doctors, nurses, and technicians clocking-in during the festivities, here are some tips for experiencing the season to its fullest.
Start in the Home: Get Your Family On-Board
Spending holidays at work is a given for healthcare workers around the globe. However, some children (and adults) may still struggle to understand that you cannot take time off for every holiday.
But you should not avoid telling your loved ones about your holiday work duties. Here are some strategies to facilitate the process:
- Be open and honest1. Tell your friends and family that you may work some or all of the winter holidays. Explain that healthcare workers’ schedules are not flexible and that you have dozens of colleagues in the same situation.
- Approach children using books or other media. Show them stories of other children or characters whose parents must work during a special day. This story-based method will help children feel less alone, as well as help them understand that your work schedule is not always yours to choose2.
- Give children something small to open during the holiday. This could be the stocking-stuffers, a bundle of presents under the tree, or presents from “Santa.” This tiny gesture will give them something to celebrate until you return home.
Bring the Celebration to Work
During work, you will likely encounter dozens of colleagues who want to celebrate with you.
Even if you decide against decking the halls, here are some ways to add some festive magic to your workday:
- Decorate! Even if your workplace limits holiday décor to the staff room, a bit of colour adds cheer on dreary winter days. Check out these inexpensive office holiday decoration ideas to make your office pop.
- Dress for the occasion. Small details, like seasonal scrubs, a Santa hat, or a jingle-bell necklace, will make the season brighter for you and your patients. Treat yourself (and others). Bring a snack or dessert to the break room for you and your colleagues to share3. Invite everyone to bring their holiday favourites.
- If you have family and friends celebrating while you are at work, arrange a video call during one of your breaks. A small “hello” over a video call Skype can make the difference between a good day and a great one.
During the holiday season, it’s the thought that counts. And at iD, we are thinking about the 1.8 million doctors and 7.3 million nurses in Europe (and the millions more around the globe) who work during the holidays4,5.
As a healthcare worker, you share the holiday spirit with more than just family and friends: you offer hope and support to dozens of patients per day. With your skills, knowledge, and selflessness, you help others celebrate many holidays to come.
1 Miller, A.M. “7 Healthy Ways to Deal With Working Over the Holidays.” U.S. News. & World Report, 19 Dec. 2016. Source: https://health.usnews.com/wellness/slideshows/7-healthy-ways-to-deal-with-working-over-the-holidays?slide=2
2 Roberts, L.M. “Experts recommend picture books to help kids with all the tough topics.” The Washington Post, 19 Apr. 2018. Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2018/04/19/to-help-your-kid-understand-death-moving-or-other-tough-subjects-try-these-picture-books/
3 Stephens, S. “When Everyone Else is Off: Coping with Nursing Holiday Hours.” Monster, n.d. Source: https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/holiday-hours-for-nurses
4 “Data and Statistics: Nursing and Midwifery.” WHO, n.d. Source: http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/Health-systems/nursing-and-midwifery/data-and-statistics
5 “Healthcare personnel statistics – physicians.” Eurostat, Nov. 2019. Source: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/pdfscache/37382.pdf