My first time working as a registered nurse during the holidays

Holdimng patient hands by a Registered Nurse. MEDIjobs
How did start

I remember very clearly when I officially started working as a registered nurse. It started in the month of August, at the beginning of November the role of working at Christmas was under discussion. Most coworkers were asking to have Christmas off. This day is very important for them since they have family dinner with relatives they haven’t seen in a while.

For my surprise, they gave me free that night. It was not exactly what would have wanted since my family was in another city, and I was still single. I was going to spend Christmas eve alone and maybe sleeping, so I preferred to work on Christmas Eve. I knew that a nurse, mother of three children wanted me to change the shift. So I proposed, she took it as a gift since her children were already sad knowing she would work that night. I still remember the face full of joy and happiness of my colleague.

My shift that night

I worked in a state oncology hospital, in Arkansas. There were the most complex cases that could not be treated in small towns. Many of the patients arrived and had no money for medicines or simply did not have people to visit them, it was a crude reality to deal with; disease and lack of money.

That guard was very special, it was my first Christmas alone, away from home. And my first Christmas in the hospital as a nurse, in fact, the environment was different from a normal guard: everyone seemed to look at you with love.

We had the feeling that everyone walked with their hearts swollen with joy, even seemed to float

I saw more smiles and more camaraderie than usual. It was a friendly atmosphere with colleagues and the rest of the staff. However inside the rooms were the patients, alone in their beds. The hospital was very strict about allowing family members to sleep whit their family members. As each room was shared, and the space was very small.

Therefore most patients were alone, there the environment was different. Some patients were smiling, but sadness was noticed in their looks. Some were simply sleeping and did not want to speak, it was a total mix of emotions.

For them, Christmas was one more day spent in the hospital, dealing with his health, and with the uncertainty of how the course of the disease would be.

The shift started as usual, and around 12 pm, all the hustle, and bustle outside the hospital: fireworks, shrill sounds of ketones, and lots of loud noise. Ee made a check with the other nurse to say hello to patients and wish them Merry Christmas. Many of the patients could not sleep because of the uproar that was heard around. So we were able to hug many of them and wish them much peace and a speedy recovery.

However, a patient caught our attention:

after greeting her we clutched her hands and she told us that our words and hugs had been the best gift she had ever received.

She didn’t know for how long she hasn’t received a hug with genuine affection.

This made her cry. Her relatives had taken her there 20 days ago and that after dropping her off,  no one had visited her. She imagined an endless number of things. She said she preferred to die rather than having to face the indifference of her relatives. The social worker had already evaluated her. She told us that she did not want to cause any discomfort and had not talked to anyone about her real situation.

In her mind, she had the idea that if she complained a lot the staff would be angry with her. However, at that moment she told us all the things that worried her.

It seemed that she was in need of saying everything she felt and did not stop, we just listened to her.

We stayed with her for the time it took her to relieve herself. For a moment forget that I had more patients in my care. At that time I had over 18 patients, but she had become a priority. She was someone who was opening her heart and deserving to be listen.

In the end, she took a deep breath and smiled at us, she felt the relief of being able to talk to someone. 

I’m glad that just a few minutes of my time change someone else reality. Sometimes quality time is the best gift I can offer as Registered Nurse, especially when we work in the healthcare field.

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About the author

Sam Attal

Sam has been working in the healthcare industry for 5 years, she lives in Georgia with her husband and 2 dogs. She freelances as a content writer and loves to read about medical trends and share the knowledge around.

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