Have you ever worked on a holiday?
I’ve worked on Christmas every year since I started nursing in 2010. You usually get to pick between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve in the ER. I loved Christmas as a kid, which is why I always choose to work on that day. I wanted to allow coworkers with young kids to take that day off and spend it with their families.
You knew from the very start there would be sacrifices when becoming a nurse. How do you cope and deal with things?
Yes, I knew that there would be sacrifices, but there’s still time to pamper yourself. You’ll always have the flexibility to go on vacation as long as you plan accordingly. You make so many sacrifices, and you see people at their worst, but it’s what I love to do.
Does your family adjust to your schedule by celebrating the holidays early? Have you created new traditions?
My family usually celebrates with me after the actual holiday. I have a huge family, 11 aunts and uncles as well as 40 first cousins, all in California. The whole family will get together for Christmas, go to church and open gifts. My immediate family and I will do brunch or something a few days after when I’m not working.
What are the pros to being in the hospital for the holidays?
Well, you do get better pay, but also everyone is very festive. There is always a potluck, everyone gets involved, and we celebrate like a family. Even the patients will come in their Santa hats, and the volunteers will be dressed up in their holiday sweaters. It’s a time for people to contribute and show off their personality. You’ll see people break out of their work shell.
What is your advice to young nurses about working on and around the holidays?
My advice to all new nurses is this, remember, your patients are humans who also celebrate the holidays. While you’re making a sacrifice to work (and get paid), your patients have to be at the hospital. They left their families and homes to be there, so try to be understanding. Gift them with your kindness and care, that’s the core of our job.