Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Working the Holidays.

100_0521If you don’t know I am an RN. And not only that but I am also a CL (Clinical Leader). Which is basically a fancy name for charge nurse. It is the reason that I work Monday – Friday, 7 – 3 and never weekends, most holidays (unless I want) or evenings and nights. Pretty amazing job for an RN right?

Well yes, and no. I work in long-term care and most days love my job. I laugh almost every day and have made alot of good relationships. But lately it’s been getting to me. I have 33 residents (or patients) which also means 33 families to nurse. I am responsible 24/7, I carry a cell phone that could ring at any time, and while I might not need to go into work I can’t just ignore it either. I also have around 20 staff I am responsible for. This means discipline and mentoring, and over all making sure they do their jobs. 

So there is the background for my job. The holidays at work are fun, we decorate our unit and play Christmas carols until we dream about them. We get loads of goodies and junk food, and have special functions both for the residents and the staff. We get the residents all dolled up and see many of them go home for a few days with their families if they are able.

It is also sad. Many families don’t come in, many families don’t even leave gifts. This leads to the residents being sad, and the staff being sad for the residents. It’s hard to be happy about that, and it makes you think of your family. Now that Christmas is over, things will be going back to normal, but for me in my role normal never really changes, things just get added on. Our routine stays the same weather it’s Christmas or not, my job is still there waiting for me when I get back. I may be lucky in some ways but to have the lives of 33 people on your hands 24/7 it’s hard and very tiring.

My job lately has been exhausting, while I love it I am aware that nurses have a high burnout rate, and if I don’t slow down I may very well become burnt out. I try very hard not to take work home with me, but some days it’s hard. Also for a nurse it is hard for me to lose weight. There is always food around, weather it is something a family brought in of a bag of chips a co-worker bought. I find that the most challenging of all!

How do you deal with work stress??


  1. I can't offer any stress relief advice because I'm not so great at handling stress myself but I just want to say thank you for all you do. There aren't a lot of people who are truly cut out for the job you do and I'm sure you make a really meaningful difference in a lot of peoples' lives.

    Happy Holidays Holly

  2. I can't help with any advice on stress relief, but I also want to thank you for what you do. My father was in long term care for almost 4 years, and the nursing staff he had was just amazing. He was lucky that we were all able to visit regularly and participate in holdays and other special days. I was heartbreaking to see that we were such a minority and the nursing staff picked up the slack.