One of the less favorite aspects of nursing for many is having to work weekends and holidays. It seems like this year, my weekend to work has consistently fallen the same time as something really special to me. My daughter's third birthday, for example. Or a wedding. Or a fall festival. Or a Monster Truck jamboree. Or out of town guests visiting who I'd really like to see. And most recently, my next schedule weekend to work falls on Halloween. It wouldn't be that big of a deal if I didn't have two adorable kids who will look so cute in their costumes, but I'm actually pretty upset. I already feel like I miss out on so much with my kids during the course of a 13 hour workday.
Fortunately, after checking out my local newspaper this weekend, I feel that all hope is not lost. The coming weekend, October 23, our City Parks and Recreation Department is hosting a special trick-or-treating event for young children at one of the parks in town. It's not the real thing, or course, because it won't fall on Halloween, but it's the next best thing. My daughter won't even know the difference, and she'll be really excited to see that one of her favorite cartoon characters, Dora, will be making an appearance. She'll get to dress up in her costume, get candy, and I'll get to watch her do it. And it will REALLY be a memorable weekend, because we're also having my son's first birthday party!
So sometimes, as nurses, we have to come up with alternative family traditions, because we may be working on Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year's Eve, or pretty much any holiday you observe. Maybe we might have to open presents at eight o'clock in the evening instead of first thing Christmas morning. Or maybe we have our Thanksgiving dinner on Black Friday. Whatever it is, we have to make the most of it, and see the silver lining in everything. Like, hey, you might get out of cooking the turkey this year. Or maybe you can avoid that family get-together at your in-law's because, sorry, you have to work! And maybe you'll even get a holiday shift differential.
As much of a bummer as it is to be working on the holiday, we always have to think about our patients, too. No one wants to be admitted in the hospital during the holidays, well, almost no one. Some poor souls don't have any family to spend the holidays with, and being with caring staff is a blessing to them. I work the pediatrics unit, and as sorry as I feel for myself, I feel even more sorry for a child who can't be out trick-or-treating on halloween because he is too sick. Maybe my daughter can help me make up some goodie bags for those kids-hey, could be the start of another family tradition!