Hospitals don’t take holidays. Who’s working? (Maternity)
The holidays symbolize many different things for people – extra time spent with family and friends, delicious feasts and, of course, a few extra days off from work. But for hospitals, there’s no shutting down, no half-day closing and no holiday hours, which means some staff will be working.
It’s a busy time for everyone and an important time for those patients who cannot make it home themselves. The care they receive, whether on-going or emergency is crucial to their recovery and well-being – and it wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of the staff members who work those holiday shifts.
So what’s it like working on a holiday? We caught up Wendy Judd, RN and Rosanna Burke, RN from the Cape Cod Hospital Family Birthplace, who can tell you firsthand:
- Have you worked a holiday in the maternity unit before?
“Typically in our unit we rotate each year, I was off last Christmas, so I’ll be on this year. However, we try to look out for one another, especially those with younger kids and new families. If one of our colleagues has plans, we help them out. This year I volunteered to work New Years as well for that reason,” said Wendy.
- What’s it like working in maternity during the holidays? Do you do anything special for the patients or as a team?
“All of our December babies get special candy cane hats. We replace the typical blue and pink with a red and white striped hat. There is also a group of nurses and volunteers who create handmade knit Christmas hats that we give out closer to the holiday. Also, whenever a new baby is born, we play ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” through the monitors across the whole hospital;, anyone can hear it. We do this every day, but it’s especially nice during the holidays because it is a bright spot in the day and lightens the hospital mood,” said Wendy.
“Generally as a unit, we all bring in some food potluck style and celebrate together. In a sense we are all a family as well, so it’s really nice being with my co-workers and spending time with them,” added Rosanna.
- What about outside of the hospital, how do you celebrate with your family? Are you doing anything special when you get off your shift?
“My boys are grown, so for them the day is full of anticipation, waiting for me to get home to open gifts. They’ll have the tree all lit up for me, and together with my husband and our three dogs, we’ll take a walk down to the beach,” said Wendy.
“Since I’ll be working Christmas Day we’ll do a lot of our celebrating on Christmas Eve. Family will be coming over to our house, which means we’ll still have plenty of time to enjoy life and we do have a party,” said Rosanna.
- What has been your favorite memory from working a holiday at CCHC?
“We celebrate life every day here. So for us, every birth is special, whether it’s a holiday or not. For me, being with my co-workers and spending time with them makes the holiday special,” said Rosanna.
“It really is such a privilege to share in someone’s birth, that day is so memorable and means as much to you as it does them. fcapeIt’s a great bond and really wonderful to be a part of that memory. It’s also a really good feeling when you get repeat patients and care for their family or friends. I have friends and teachers from yoga class where I’ve been their nurse and even just two years ago during the holidays I was the nurse for one of my son’s classmates. Sharing in that bond really does span past the hospital’s walls,” added Wendy.
[Pictured above: 3rd in on the left, Wendy Judd, RN and 2nd in on the right, Rosanna Burke, RN gather with members from the CCH maternity unit.]