I have been a Registered Nurse (RN) since 1993 and currently work as a Cardiovascular Services Charge Nurse at St. Joseph Medical Center. Most of my work over the last 25 years has been in the Operating Room/Procedural area or ICU/Long-Term Care. Medical teams in these areas work around the clock. I’m also a Perioperative Nurse in the United States Navy Reserve and a Lieutenant Commander (Select) with the Navy.
As a nurse, I expect to work holiday shifts that require me to be on call for a 12- or 24-hour shift. Some might wonder why I have been working holidays like this for more than 25 years. It works for me because I know it’s expected and needed. People don’t schedule to be sick and need us to be there when they are in the most need. There are some jobs in nursing in which you don’t ever have to work on a holiday—such as a school nurse. I have always said if you’re sad, unhappy or angry at your job, it’s time to get a different job than nursing.
My family is always supportive. Even though I work on these special days, we still plan celebrations. And, of course, Santa always comes to our house no matter if I’m working or on call. When the kids are sad because I may not be there, we tell them “This is real life and sometimes we have to do things that take us away from you guys, but we will have fun, no matter what.” It’s also important for children to see that you work for a greater good – for a bigger goal – and it’s not all about you and how happy you are, it’s about giving back and serving others.
My advice to people who have to work on a holiday is, “Make the best of it, don’t be angry or sad.” Working on a holiday may be God’s way of showing you what it’s like to really serve others who need cheering up – you may be the person “picked” for the job.