Being Thankful both a noun and a verb. For some nurses, working this holiday means time away from family. The culture may not be great, your co-workers grumpy, it is just not a nice day. Then we remember why we are where we are, and a mood can be lifted....


...and dare I say celebrated? There will be times that we are spending a Thanksgiving with a patient (or 2, or 10). It is not what perhaps we choose to do, but what we do, put in our turn, do out due diligence. Most patients don't relish the thought of being in a hospital for a holiday. An extra kind word or deed could make the day of someone who otherwise can get really bummed, really quickly.

Most families don't spend all day in a hospital room with a loved one. They have other obligations. What can be said "we had an amazing turkey and it was so funny, Uncle Jack..." you get it--mostly a "you had to be there, I guess" stories.

Holidays spent in the hospital can mean a change in condition. An added stressor of being not where one's family is can affect a patient. And it can affect a nurse.

We can all take a moment and help a patient through a rough day. When and if we are talking about life and death and patient load and poor staffing, we need to just pause for a minute and let a patient know that we are there, present, and if is hard to not be with family on a special holiday.

There are so many things to be thankful for this holiday. Even if one is in the depths of despair when one is looking for any sort of silver lining--one has a brain to think, a talent to share, good kids, good shoes, and not having to walk a mile in someone elses.

A nurse's goal is everything and everyone as they should be at the end of the shift. It is no different on Thanksgiving day. If we have an attitude of gratitude if even for the day I think that we all could have a good feeling.

So even if you have one minute to smile while you are giving meds, to share a kind word or two, to laugh a minute, to gab a second--do it! It does wonders to take you to an alternate place, if even for the day.

I had a patient once who was just-this-close to the active phase of the dying process. I was on a mixed unit, and staffing was poor, patient load high. Each time I went in to turn the patient, he would make a dry-sense-of-humor comment. We bantered back and forth each time I went in, "Whatcha doing here today, Jade--no turkey?" "Nope Mr. Smith, I am not much for turkey" "you're kidding" "no, that is my least favorite meal--I just cook one for looks" "Well, if your husband is not a turkey, point taken" and on and on it went.......he had little family, and the goal is peace, but the road for him was built with stops for some lively conversation. It is amazing what you learn from a patient when they are at their most vulnerable.

So this thanksgiving, even if it is that you are "getting out of" a family dynamic that is not ideal, that you are not a turkey fan, or that you can make a patient's day brighter by sharing a holiday with them, be thankful. And don't forget the "you rock, thanks for everything" to your CNA's, your Unit Clerks, your co-workers. Because even with bad apples, there's usually enough to make cider.

jadelpn, LPN, EMT-B

51 Articles   4,800 Posts

Share this post