How to Bring Holiday Cheer to the Bedside

Tis the season when patients and their families are relying on the nursing team to provide excellent care along with a sprinkle of holiday cheer to the bedside. Nurses General Nursing Video HowTo

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How to Bring Holiday Cheer to the Bedside

Of course we will have days that bring on the normal stress of the job, however many of us may feel the struggle a bit more ourselves with being away from our families because holiday shift bidding didn’t go as planned. Even though it comes with the territory of being a nurse, it doesn’t make being away from our loved ones any easier. Therefore, it’s essential to make the best of our holiday shifts and bring our colleagues, patients and their families the warmth and joy of the season!

Here are 3 easy steps to sprinkle in a bit of cheer at the bedside:

STEP 1 Live in the Light of GRATITUDE

Start each of your days off by giving thanks for all that you have. It’s easy to get used to all of the comforts and conveniences that we’ve worked our butts off to enjoy, but we should always be wise to give thanks for what we have that’s going right for us, rather than focusing on the negative. One easy way to do this is to consider the fact that we get to go home to our families at the end of our shifts, and that our patients in many cases cannot. We should also be grateful that we have the opportunity and capacity to provide service to our patients and their families during the holidays. Whether they say so or not, I know my services are very much appreciated and that makes me feel good. So when you’re feeling frustrated or feeling down because you are not with your family during your holiday shifts, just think about all the things you are grateful for and your spirits will sure to be lifted!

STEP 2 Be Festive and Create Some FUN at Work

Whether it be caroling on the unit, making holiday cards for your patients, or participating in a pot-luck lunches, be sure to join in on the festivities! We all know that organizing a pot-luck luncheon for staff in a healthcare facility can be a challenge, but when we finally get that chance to break free from patient care to grab a bite to eat – NOTHING is better than having a home cooked holiday meal! Also, be sure to involve your patients and their family members in holiday festivities as well. It’s really something special when you can take a few extra minutes out of your shift to do something so very meaningful for your patients. So instead of being a Grinch because you are stuck at work during the holidays – make sure you have a little fun by sharing in the Joy of the season!

STEP 3 Spend MORE Quality Time with Your Patients and Their Families

Nothing means more to a patient and their family than a nurse or nursing assistant who spends a lot of quality time with them. Patients often complain that they get to see their healthcare providers and nursing staff far less than they would like. In order to bring your patients and their families some of that Holiday Spirit, plan to spend a little more time with them. Engaging in conversation about their holiday traditions, about their family members, and even what they plan to do after they are discharged (if possible), will really help to brighten up their stay, and help to pass the time. It’s understandable that you’ll find yourself busy per the usual, but finding an extra 30 minutes or so per patient will mean the world to them!

So if you find yourself working this holiday season, be sure to implement these three simple, yet effective ways to help bring holiday cheer to the bedside!

Best Wishes and Happy Holidays!

NCLEX Columnist

Damion Jenkins, RN, MSN is an NCLEX Prep Expert and CEO of The Nurse Speak - a Nursing Education and Consulting Business. Named the "NCLEX Whisperer" in an article by Nurse Beth, Damion provides individualized tutoring and mentoring services for nursing students, new graduate nurses and professional nurses alike. For more information about Damion and the services he provides, check out

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TheMoonisMyLantern, ADN, LPN, RN

1 Article; 922 Posts

Specializes in Mental health, substance abuse, geriatrics, PCU.

I think it's important to realize that the holidays are a difficult time for many people and that not everyone wants to have Christmas cheer crammed down their throat. Christmas can be a very painful time for many people patients and staff alike may simply lack the mental energy required to fake a smile and sing Christmas carols, and you know what? That's just as okay as going overboard with the holiday.

I think instead of automatically going into ho ho ho season at work it's important to meet patients where they're at and as long as you stay professional there's nothing wrong with not spreading christmas cheer.

Nunya, BSN

771 Posts

Specializes in NICU/Mother-Baby/Peds/Mgmt.

It’s understandable that you’ll find yourself busy per the usual, but finding an extra 30 minutes or so per patient will mean the world to them!

This sounds like someone who doesn't work on a busy floor....nice thought but impossible to do.

GrumpyRN, NP

1,261 Posts

Specializes in Emergency Department.

Bah, Humbug!

Ebenezer Scrooge was a badly misunderstood man.??

Specializes in PeriOp, ICU, PICU, NICU.

....In a perfect world or if profit over patients was ignored for a bit.

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