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It is likely that at some point or another, you found yourself working a holiday shift at the hospital. And while this may be a bit of a Debbie Downer, it’s important to remember that you’re not the only one there. The whole reason you’re working holiday shift is because there are patients who need to be cared for, who also cannot be home with their families.
There are a few times during the year when a difference in beliefs becomes more than just a passing comment, and the holiday season from December to January is one of them. For the vast majority in the U.S., the holiday season represents Christian Christmas and a celebration of the beginning of the new year. However, other religions celebrate additional holidays. In early December, the Jews celebrate a festival of lights called Hanukkah, celebrating the Maccabean revolt in Egypt. The pagans celebrate Solstice on December 21st, and those who practice Zoroastrian honor the death of their prophet on December 26th. On January 24th, Buddhists celebrate Rohatsu to honor Buddha. Ultimately, this means it’s essential to pay attention to the faith and practices of your patients.
Many families have a traditional holiday meal to spend time with their loved ones and engage in traditions that have likely been passed down from generation to generation. By celebrating in your health care facility, you help to lift your spirits and the spirits of your patients who are on able to be home. Some hospitals have a popular holiday ritual that includes bringing food for nurses and patients who are ready to eat. Nurses and management bring in their favorite holiday meals to share, which is sometimes done just with the nurses and at other times shared with patients whose dietary restrictions allow them to partake in holiday goodies.
If your hospital or health care facility does not have a holiday tradition, it just might be time to start one! Learn what’s allowed at the facility and what activities should be avoided to protect the health and welfare of your patients. While the actual holiday is the culmination of the celebrations, it goes a long way toward lifting your patient’s spirits when you include small touches to make their hospital room feel almost as good as home. Battery-powered holiday lights, miniature Christmas trees, or Menorahs and family photos and holiday cards can help to warm up the room and reduce the potential your patients will experience depression during the holidays.
Consider offering a holiday movie to patients and families, setting up a relaxed atmosphere where groups of individuals can enjoy their favorite film and family time together. It may be easy to get carried away during the holiday season, so it’s essential to keep the needs of your patient at the top of your list and be sure you. The celebrations should end before your patient’s energy level dips too low.
The spirit of the holiday season can spill out into the hallways and nurses station with festive and creative holiday ornaments. Consider organizing a craft night for the families of long-term patients who will be unable to get home to celebrate with their children. Involving the children in decorating their parents’ room or the nurses’ station gives your patient’s family a wonderfully warm memory. Make it your goal to bring a smile to the faces of your patients, which ultimately uplifts your spirits.
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