Response to working the holidays

By Kathleen S. Martin, M.S.W, L.C.S.W

Kathy Martin does individual, marriage and family psychotherapy in Palm Beach
Gardens, FL. Her new book God and Psychobabble is available where books are
sold. Have

 

Thank you friend for your question concerning working nights, weekends and holidays.  OUCH!!!!  Who among us wants those shifts!  No one.  One of the problems we have however is that certain jobs must be covered on weekends, holidays etc.  What ever would we do without a police force on duty over Christmas?  I suspect all honest people would have their Christmas presents stolen!  And what about all those drunk drivers and car accidents over the holidays especially New Year’s Eve?  Ambulances off duty?  Hospitals closed?  Nurses and doctors home for the holidays?

Now the number one common denominator for all depression is unrealistic expectations.  What that tells me is that perhaps you entered the nursing field with such unrealistic expectations.  Anotherwards, you chose a field of work that clearly required these undesirable work shifts.  But now you are fully trained and employed as a nurse.  Did you unrealistically think the rules of the game were suddenly going to change?  Of course they weren’t going to change therefore the only change that needs to occur is with you, with what goes on between those earlobes of yours.  🙂

First of all realize

you have chosen

a profession that is of utmost importance hence it is hardly a nine to five job.  It is a job with deep purpose and commitment.  Patients and families of your patients you’ve worked with REMEMBER you for your sacrifice, compassion and work ethic.  That’s a gift given to very few professions.  When I see a former client whose marriage

has been restored or whose depression has been lifted due in part to my efforts, that truly goes a long way in working past the late calls or interrupted family functions.  Take time to meditate on what you HAVE, on the many benefits and blessings derived from your profession, rather on all that you DON’T have the better work schedule.

Next you can realize that we are in a marvelous country where we are for the most part in control of our work situations.  If the nights, weekends and holidays are simply too problematic for you your nursing skills can certainly be used in an office setting.  Many nurses move to office settings due to such family issues or scheduling conflicts for children etc.  Like every job out there we have benefits and deficits.  You might find the office more or less rewarding, more or less stressful, etc.  There might be a change in your pay scale or benefits package however no situation gives us everything we want.  Therefore, compromise is always the key to a well life.  Figure your priorities and the adjust your job situation accordingly.

A final possibility might be to work within the job situation you already have.  Have you approached your supervisor concerning taking turns working weekends or holidays?  I have rarely seen a nurse be pressured to work on both Thanksgiving as well as Christmas.  And if you do get ALL the holiday shifts it is probably due to the fact that you are the most recently hired employee.  Anotherwards, be patient.  In time the shifts should adjust as you acquire more time at your place of work.  You can also talk to fellow nurses to exchange holidays—the Passover shift for the Christmas shift, Memorial Day when you have that big family picnic for July fourth which perhaps has been a less celebrated day in your family.  When you approach supervisors with SOLUTIONS rather than just PROBLEMS they are far more apt to adopt your solutions as it is their job to run a smooth ship!  The most important issue however, is for you to MAKE a decision as to what you want to do and then MAKE that decision work!  Contentedness concerning your job situation will be achieved between those two earlobes of yours realizing no job has it all.  REALISTIC thinking is the key.  Whatever you decide, I thank you for the times you have been there for all of us on those very inconvenient times.

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Working the holidays

Enjoy the holiday, even when you work.

 

Working the holidays?  Have the holidays have lost their luster?  Traditions, holidays and parties make our lives special.   They are a necessary activity for healthy nurses to participate in.  But, we give them up, or at best squeeze into them at the last minute – out of breath and exhausted, as if just barely showing up is good enough.

If you are working the holidays, you will have to find a way to put the joy back into your day.  There are several things you can make it through.  The good news is that you will enjoy it better if you plan ahead.

An important part of your holiday is food preparation. There are many supermarkets and restaurants that sell quality pre-made food. Using these give you a chance to make only your star dishes.   Also, you can also teach older children or family to cook part of the meal.  Or, you may want to cook ahead, and freeze or refrigerate items.  If you are working an especially long shift, you may want to eat out.

Little touches are important.    Don’t forget to decorate the table, and add some nice music.  If eating out, bring items to put on the table to personalize your time.  Don’t worry what other people think; most of them will be jealous.   I have brought a table cloth, candles, and ornaments, and decorated my table.  Many people came by and commented on how nice my table looked, and wished they had the foresight to do the same.

Dress up, and wear makeup even if you have to pack your clothes and change at work.  Always dress for your special days.  It gives you a much needed emotional boost when you look in sync with the holiday.

Documentation is not only important at work, but during your holiday.  Take pictures, videos and keep mementos.  Write in a book or on your computer how it all went down.  You will be glad you did, later when you have enough energy to review it.  You can then create the memory books that you and your family will enjoy year after year.

Consider that even if you had a couple days off, you may still feel stressed during the holidays, so while feeling no stress is an achievable goal, most of your stay at home friends and neighbors are still feeling stress trying to get their long lists done.  Don’t waste your emotional energy comparing the perky energetic people who may have shown up at your party or fest.  Pat yourself on the back, relax, and ask them do a little serving and management for you.  Your job, now that you have arrived is to relax and enjoy.

A lot of nurses will celebrate either ahead of / or after the holiday.  Many are happy with that, and in many ways it can make you feel special to be celebrating against the traditional day.  I would however recommend doing this as a last resort, as a lot of people report this just makes them feel more out of sync with the society.  But, if you are working a 16 hour shift, it isn’t always appropriate to celebrate Christmas with your young children at two in the morning.

It may be too late for this year, but consider the best alternative for next year.  It is important that you schedule your holidays off now for next year.  Pull out your new calendar and mark out your work schedule, and your paydays.  That way you will be able to see quickly what days you need off.  Consider birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and weddings. Request them off now – January 2nd.  Don’t wait until someone else beats you to the day you want.

PawWorks Website:   www.pawworks.net

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Getting your money’s worth from a nursing conference

Elaborate planning goes into the logistics of getting yourself to conference; the trip, the hotel and the food. But more important is the preparation you need to do in order to get your money’s worth. It is important to take time to study the brochures finding out which topics will be covered. When you don’t plan you will get the left overs. Plenty of people sign up in advance and get the best sessions and they fill or early. By waiting until you arrive at the conference you will be behind every one else right from beginning, with a little hope of catching up.

 

The first thing you want to do is to download any information the association has made available, it will be a topic list. You will benefit by looking up speakers online getting to know their views in advance. When you look at websites don’t forget to look at all the links, especially the ones at the bottom at the site. They may not look especially interesting, but many informational of gems are hidden there. Make a file and print things out. Then highlight things that interests you. Write down any questions. Feel free to contact the conference well in advance for the answers you need.

 

Before you leave home, drive to an office supply store and purchase a business card kit. Make up lots of cards containing your name and email address. You will meet many people, if you collect cards and are diligent to write a little something about the person who gave you the card on its back, this will ignite your memory after you get home. Lasting contacts are made when you email a few days later. Networking is just as simple as that.

The main topics will be held in a large room, and there could be thousands of people in attendance. The secondary sessions will be in satellite areas meeting at different times throughout the conference. It is ultra-important to know which sessions you want to attend, as seating may be limited in the smaller sessions. Most sessions will hand out CEU’s. . Make sure you get your paperwork. There is usually a question and answer time at the end of breakout sessions, so be prepared in it advance.

 

When you get into any session look around and find interesting people to sit next to. Stay away from bored looking people, if you happen to find yourself next to a complainer just move to a different seat. You’ll be able to strike up a conversation easily and, score possible friends.

 

There will be booths with representatives, jobs, schools uniforms, and a host of other things. Each vendor is vying for your attention, but since you have already checked the website at out in advance, you already know most of the best vendors. But scope them out and zero in on the most interesting ones first. They will hand out freebies and information. Now is a time to ask vendors for their business cards and find out if they will be around when things quiet down. Remember during the crush of the crowd you may not find an opportunity for the extended talk, but you can set up a meeting for later.

 

When you apply yourself to the process, you will leave conference changed person. You will have coveted business contracts from other nurses and professionals. You will also have new CEU’s use for renewing your license. Your future has been expanded. Make sure mixture you maintain and follow up on the many things you learned. When you get home you can measure your successful experience against the price of a ticket, knowing you have invested in yourself. Then you will know that you have gotten your money’s worth.

 

 

PawWorks Website:   www.pawworks.net

Best Nursing Home Inspection Website:  bestnursinghomesinspections.com

NurseWorks Facebook Site:  https://www.facebook.com/NurseWorksMagazineFlorida/

Our YouTube Site:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-rfxSztSWYxOqOG4Y9KjDQ

Support us on Patreon:  https://www.patreon.com/TropicalPinetree