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How to Deal With the Hospital's Holiday Rush

How to Deal With the Hospital's Holiday Rush

Steve Berman | NursingLink

December 15, 2010

Holidays can be a wonderful — and stressful — time for all. And for nurses and other hospital personnel, the emphasis is on the latter. Holidays bring a larger-than-average volume of patients, with fewer nurses to deal with them. Plus, the nurses that are there have to deal with the depressing fact that they’re working during the holidays while everyone else is enjoying their time at home or on vacation.

It’s not whether or not you’re going to be busy this holiday season, but how you’ll handle it. Here are some tips to get through the holidays with your sanity (relatively) intact!

1. Prepare with your coworkers

Check the schedule to see which lucky nurses will be working with you during the holidays, because more nurses will be on vacation than normal during this crazy time. Once you figure out whom you’ll be working with, set up a short meeting to devise a plan to share the workload and make sure your department is stocked with enough supplies. If each person pulls a little extra weight, it won’t feel like the weight of the world is on anyone’s shoulders.

2. Get your holiday errands finished before the big rush

It’s hard enough to handle more patients than normal without also having to worry about shopping for presents, hosting relatives, or arranging for childcare during winter break. If at all possible, try not to wait until the last minute to accomplish any of these tasks, or when your shift’s over you’ll be just as stressed out as you were when you were taking care of patients who got too drunk and injured themselves at holiday parties.


3. Take care of yourself

You’re going to be asked to take care of more people than ever in December, so don’t forget to focus on keeping yourself healthy. Whether it’s eating better, getting more sleep (whenever possible) or exercising (ditto), the more beneficial things you can do to help your body, the better.

You already know how a weakened immune system can be a disadvantage in a hospital environment. While you might be pushed to your limits in terms of hours worked and workload, making small choices like an apple and almonds instead of French fries and Fritos can help you handle the holiday rush.

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