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Do you think working at Christmas is depressing?

  • 23 Comments

Answer our poll.

  • 23 Comments

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Readers' comments (23)

  • Patients are people too who often through no fault of their own require a level of care over Christmas. Some of the experiences nurses have over this period are very revealing and make me more grateful for my own and my families health anc social contact.
    Count your blessings.

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  • it is depressing working over Christmas when the celebrations on the ward evoke memories of your family far away, maybe in another country celebrating without you and you just go home after your shift alone and exhausted. and especially if your managers haven't fairly distributed the leave and then turned and blamed you for asking when the planning is going to be done so that you can book a flight - another excuse for discriminating against foreign nurses who are a nuisance anyway.

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  • It's not the working itself or the patient care that is depressing, it's the crap working conditions, the hassle and the even crapper pay that makes me start to hate going into work.

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  • double shift, no bus to work, no where to buy a cheap, tasty sandwich for lunch. they say civilisation's never more three days from food riots, and right now i can believe it. bloomin' christmas! but then i think of the tasty sandwiches i can buy 360 odd days of the year, and the local bus drivers are generally friendly. civilisation's certainly not as good as it should be, but not as bad it could be. merry christmas, one and all!

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  • I just think that working is depressing...

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  • I agree with all the above. We all brought in some food to tide us over on the ward, as the canteen was shut. One of the nurses wore a santa outfit at the start of the shift and it seem to cheer the patients up, even if they were not into celebrating christmas. (Don't worry, he took it off after 5 mins, so no infection control issues...). It was the usual though, no time to sit down and enjoy the spread due to staff shortages, emergency admissions etc. It did get me out of having to spend Christmas day trying to make polite conversation with relatives who are very set in their ways....

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  • As a child growing up in the 1960s Christmas Day on the wards was truly magic and followed a tradition each year of doing a round with the Mayor of our town and local dignitaries. Each ward had a theme such as a fairytale or other and was decorated accordingly with the surgeons dressing up to fit the theme on their ward where they carved the turkey which was always enormous, looked very succulent and smelt delicious. We went home afterwards for a late Christmas lunch and to open our presents.

    On the children's ward there was also a Christmas Party on another day when the children of hospital staff were invited to come along and join in and a consultant dressed up as Santa and gave all the children and the little visitors presents. Sadly though, on one occasion a little boy, one of the visitors, yelled out that is not Father Christmas it is Mr. XYZ (who was the fatherly consultant opthalmic surgeon). This spoilt it for many of us who still believed in Santa. The wards must have been well-staffed in those days with extra staff coming in to dress up and join in the Christmas Spirit of Goodwill and patients, who often remained in hospital for far longer in those days, were often well enough to enjoy Christmas lunch with their visitors and the whole atmosphere was full of cheer, hope and gratitude.

    When my turn came to work over Christmas, in a different country, it was a very different picture where there was a skeleton staff, only the very ill patients stayed in hospital, we had emergency admissions and had to bring in our own picnic as the canteen was closed. If it was quiet we had to make our own fun with any colleagues that were around. We usually organised an end of season celebration on the ward for the staff on another day when the maximum of staff could come in and bring some fare with them. This was fine for those who were off duty as they could prepare everything and bring in the provisions but for those on duty and in uniform they still had to jump up and down answering bells and dealing with emergencies so it was difficult to relax. Patients who were well enough or independent, however, were very understanding and tried to leave us in peace. Otherwise we all went out for a meal together with cash that grateful patients had put in our kitty over the year but then there were always some who missed out as they were on duty.

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  • Conclusion to my comment immediately above is mixed feelings. On one hand patients didn't chose to spend Christmas in hospital and should continue to receive the best possible care. However, I always felt that Christmas should be spent with ones' close family and loved ones. This time of peace together is extremely precious especially as it is not everlasting and the time sadly comes when they are no longer there to celebrate with and without their love and support can make work at Christmas very sad and depressing. But maybe not so much the work itself, it depends what sort of day one has, but going home alone afterwards over the Christmas period is the very worst knowing that everyone else is celebrating in the warmth of their family.

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  • It is depressing, working in an A & E, we do not mind accident and emergencies, but sore thraots and colds is out of the question. Just treat emergencies at this period and we could half the number of staff on duty at this time. Perhaps we should also get modern and not meant to be ofensive but if other religions are able to have their festivals off without question, perhaps christians should take priority over christmas and easter festivals.

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  • I think working christmas is depressing. I just wish the NHS would scrap this tradition that christmas and New Year leave cannot be taken. What makes it different, its only because it has xmas and new year attached to it. This year my manager has put me on shifts to work all throughout christmas and the New year - all because I am single and dont have any children. It pisses me off

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