Major holidays such as Christmas, New Year, and July 4th usually involve a spike in the number of people in need of medical services compared to other times of the year. People tend to have an abundance of both time and money, which leads to terrible decisions such as drunk driving. Patients also rush to Emergency Rooms in need of stitches as a result of bar fights. That’s why new nurses find holiday shifts overwhelming.
Challenges New Nurses Face While Working Holiday Shifts
1. Dealing With Intoxicated Patients That Are Uncooperative
Holidays are usually associated with people consuming copious quantities of alcohol with family and friends. Intoxication can lead to all manner of accidents ranging from DUIs to people falling from large heights and suffering multiple fractures.
Since alcohol takes several hours to disappear from the bloodstream, nurses sometimes come face to face with belligerent patients. This is a frustrating experience because it’s impossible to do a thorough patient assessment when the person is either rude or can’t sit still for a few minutes to let the nurse do their job.
2. Dealing With Unusual Cases Of Drug Overdose
Businesses look forward to major holidays because people spend significantly more money compared to the rest of the year. However, illicit drug dealers also look forward to increasing their profits in whichever way possible. One of the ways is cutting narcotics with chemicals that boost potency to dangerous levels, for instance, cutting heroin with fentanyl or rat poison.
Unsuspecting customers that also want to let loose and enjoy themselves end up consuming these narcotics that have dangerous side effects. That’s why emergency rooms witness high numbers of young patients that have violent seizures and heart attacks.
3. Dealing With Impatient Patients
A road trip with loved ones can get rudely interrupted due to food poisoning, serious injuries, or unexpected illnesses. The main challenge nurses experience with patients in such a situation is impatience because the group feels that they’re wasting valuable time dedicated to sightseeing and enjoying life on the road.
This type of patient will constantly demand lab results even though the nurse has clearly explained that the process takes several hours. They also display a bossy attitude when asked to provide information that’s useful for patient assessment. However, the situation can get hostile when the nurse informs the patient that they need to stay in the hospital to enable doctors to monitor their health for a couple of days.
4. Having To Console Family Members With Bereavement
Holidays mean a lot to expectant mothers who are looking forward to delivering healthy babies. That’s why people that celebrate birthdays on holidays receive special names from their parents to commemorate the milestone. However, deliveries sometimes don’t turn out as expected on a special day.
Nurses feel gutted when witnessing or learning about a patient that just had a stillbirth. It’s almost impossible to console such patients due to the high level of expectations on both sides. It’s also equally as painful to break the bad news to family members who had a family member in the labor ward but passed away as a result of unexpected complications during childbirth.
5. Homesickness For Travel Nurses
The spike in demand for medical services during holiday seasons makes it impossible for travel nurses to enjoy merrymaking with their loved ones. Some nurses get sent on assignments that are halfway across the country where there’s no friend or relative in sight. Such situations trigger lonely thoughts because nurses are emotional and social beings.
6. Missing Out On Holiday Sales
People save up money for holidays because businesses run special discount sales that enable customers to finally get the items that have been on their minds for several months. New products, such as the Sony Playstation 5 get launched around this period and cause such a huge buzz in the market.
Nurses, however, tend to watch these sales from a distance because their long shifts don’t give them time to visit malls or spend a couple of hours on the computer to do online shopping.
Nursing Requires Continuous Personal Sacrifice
Working holiday shifts certainly requires extra commitment compared to normal days. The best way of coping with the extra burden of stress is having a team of supportive colleagues to make work easier.