For many of us, the holiday season can mean a number of things… It’s a time for reflection, a time to be thankful. It’s extra time to be shared with family and friends, a time for homecomings, or it could just be any other day on the calendar. A lot of us may take the holidays for granted, assuming that the world stops for us to celebrate and share in creating new memories. If only that were true.
For many of you working as traveling nurses, or nursing in general, you know firsthand that trauma and tragedy never rests, especially during the festive times. As I see it, one of the greatest challenges working as a healthcare professional would be working during the holidays, but I can also see a positive side as well. It’s times like these where you take a step back and really appreciate what you have. Everyday you witness just how lucky we are and that alone should be enough to get you through. But there are other ways to deal with not being around for the holidays. Here are a few examples…
1) As a travel nurse your schedule fluctuates and can be very flexible. As the holiday season approaches, make note of the times you have off and make the most of them. When you can find a time that works with your family or friends, plan something that is sure to be memorable and it will seem as if your absence from the actual day never happened.
2) Explain the nature of your work to those near and dear, especially children. Make it clear that the demands of your job is different from that of other parents. Do not assume that they already know this, do this to ensure that they are not disappointed when you can’t make it to see them narrate in their school’s holiday program.
3) By knowing ahead of time that you won’t be able to be there, leave your loved ones a hand written note for them to discover at a later time. Share the reasons of what that person means to you… Remember that feeling of finding a note by someone you cared for and how it made you feel?
4) Plan ahead. The holidays happen the same time of year, every year. Maybe in year’s past you failed to inquire about vacation time before all the time was spoken for. Schedule your next assignment accordingly. Nursing isn’t the only job that is stressful and demanding, so don’t think your partner or families should be the only ones compromising . You can make an effort too!
Nobody said nursing was going to be easy and working over the holidays is no exception. Maybe you miss out on the family fun this year and have to work through the season. But it’s possible as a reward for your hard work this year you may get to be home for the holidays next year!