On Call on Christmas? Here’s How to Cope.


If you work in the medical field, particularly in a hospital setting, having to work on Christmas is not out of the question. While a lot of private practices and clinics will close their doors for the holiday, hospitals do not have holiday hours. After all, illnesses and injuries strike indiscriminately, and they do not have a habit of checking the calendar before they do.

Though many who work during the Christmas holiday may be of a religion that does not celebrate it, or those who haven’t a family to celebrate with, if you do celebrate and find yourself on the schedule, here are four ways to cope with being on call for Christmas.

Remember the Reason for the Season

To many, the reason for the season is found in the importance of giving. From the presents tucked under the tree to the time spent with loved ones, giving is woven throughout the Christmas holiday. By working on Christmas, you are giving, as well. Not only to the patients you are treating, but also to your coworkers who you are “taking one for the team” for by allowing them to spend the holiday outside of the hospital. That surely makes you feel just a little merry.

Reschedule the Holiday

No one says you absolutely, without question, have to celebrate Christmas when everyone else does. Make your own traditions for the years you end up on call—celebrate Christmas Eve on the Eve of the Eve, open presents the day after Christmas. Your family is already likely used to being flexible, given your career, and they will be just as thrilled to celebrate with you a day early, or a day late, as they would be to celebrate with you right on time.

Give Yourself Something To Look Forward To

If you are on the schedule for Christmas, there is a fairly high probability that you will not have to work on other big holidays, such as New Year’s Eve or Valentine’s Day. Give yourself (and/or your likely very understanding spouse, if you have one) something to look forward to and make plans for the days you won’t have to work. The gratification may not be instantaneous, but it may boost your spirits just enough to get you through your shift.

Celebrate with Your Work “Family”

It takes a lot of people to staff a hospital, even on a holiday. Those people are in the same position as you, and all of you can find some comfort in that. Spread a little cheer by celebrating together with a potluck, catered meal, or Secret Santa type of gift exchange. Even if Christmas isn’t your holiday, a good meal or a fun gift can go a long way to get you through a shift.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

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