by Una Harrington & Shahina Braganza
Whilst you tuck into your mince pies, chilled prawn cocktails and Christmas ham over the coming weeks, WRaP EM wanted to spare a thought and a blog post for those of us who will work through Christmas 2018 and New Year’s 2019.
Many of us know how the negotiations regarding the Christmas roster start far earlier even than the decorations going up in the shops!
‘I worked last year so I hope I get this year off’
‘I didn’t work last year but I’d still really like to make it home to Ireland this year to meet my new niece for her first Christmas. I wonder if my colleagues will be annoyed it I ask for it again.’
‘I work Christmas every year – it’s a pretty quiet shift, the pay is pretty good and my work family is a little less crazy than my real family, especially the in-laws! ’
It can be a time where we are reminded how different our work lives are from those who work ‘regular jobs’, a time when we have to be away from our families to make sure our patients are treated with the same great care they would receive any other day of the year.
It’s also a time when our co-workers really do become our work family.
Tragedy and illness don’t change their frequency or severity in December. It can be difficult to witness pain and grief at work at a time that is supposed to be full of joy and peace.
So, to remind us that there is joy and hope for those of us that will work Christmas this year, here’s an Aussie ED Christmas Tale. It the kind of story that happens in many Emergency Departments and Hospital Wards across the world every December.
It’s a tale of generosity of spirit, of hope, and of finding light in the darkness – something we could all do with a little more of in our lives.
An Aussie Christmas Tale
by Shahina Braganza
‘ It was clear from the outset of my Christmas shift in 2017, that Gold Coast Hospital staff were not going to miss out on the festive spirit just because they were at work. In fact, for many, it is possible that there was more festivity at work than there may have been at home!
Staff were dressed in red and green themed scrub tops and accessorised accordingly, with tinsel headwear or Santa hats. Many pods were festooned with decorations that not only sparkled but also could deliver a carol or a “ho, ho, ho” at the touch of a button. There were even edible decorations for a Christmas snack on the go!
At times, if you closed your eyes, it would be easy to imagine Santa and his reindeer riding over a snow-covered crest ready to deliver their goodies.
The moment that most instilled the spirit of Christmas into me was when I ran into our Social Worker in the corridor. She was working hard to ensure that she would finish work on time as she was expecting company for Christmas dinner.
She explained that every year she put out feelers to discover which staff member might be alone that Christmas. That staff member was given a warm invitation to her home for a special Christmas meal so that they too could enjoy the meaning of this festive day.
Every year, across the globe, staff generously give up the opportunity to be with their family and friends over Christmas Day in order to serve the healthcare needs of our community.
Surely, this must be one of the most precious gifts any one can give this Christmas season.’
So, where ever you are this December, embrace all the fluff and glitter that Christmas brings and take care of yourself, take a slow cinnamon and turkey scented breath and take care of yourselves, your families and your colleagues.