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‘I feel so guilty leaving my placement understaffed at Christmas’


Can you advise this student nurse?

“The ward I’ve been based on is currently understaffed because a few members of staff are off sick and I know they’re really struggling to cover the Christmas period – at one point they had no nurses scheduled to work Christmas Eve (although they do now but it’s been really tough).

“I’m feeling bad for the staff who will have to work but I’m mainly worried about the patients who need care as much as ever.

“I finished a few days ago and the worry is actually keeping me up at night. I know I won’t enjoy Christmas knowing that I should be caring for patients and doing my bit.

“As a student I know I should be supernumerary but just being there to make patients a cup of tea and being another pair of eyes of ward would help.

“I asked the ward if I can help out but they point-blank refused and told me to enjoy Christmas while I can. I know they’re trying to be nice but I really would rather be there.

“How can I convince them to let me work? Any tips?”


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Readers' comments (3)

  • You don't. Unfortunately this is a problem experienced in every hospital in the UK at this time of year, you cannot solve their problems and nor should you try.

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  • We were told by our University that under no circumstances should we be on placement during any scheduled holidays - whether to make up placement hours or any other reason - as we are not insured during holidays and should anything happen - to us or a patient - there would be a shedload of trouble for us, the placement and the university.
    I know you feel bad but it is not up to student nurses to plug the gaps in cover. Perhaps you can reduce your guilty feeling by making a promise to yourself that for the first few Christmases you are qualified, you will work over Christmas?

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  • We can all feel guilty but this feeling must not erode negatively on your own health . We can be guilty of helping out instead of resting and end up with unintentional burn out. Don't let it be your turn. i worked the whole of xmas and new year when i didn't have to and am now off sick-so don't feel guilty. Pace yourself

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