News

How can nurses bring some seasonal cheer this Christmas?

Staff share plans for buffets, festive tunes on the radio – and ‘Chrimbo tights’

Staff share plans for festive tunes on the radio, buffets for patients and colleagues – and ‘Chrimbo tights’

While many are tucking into countless helpings of roast potatoes and turkey around the dining table, it can be easy to forget that Christmas Day can be a day of gloom rather than joy for nurses and patients.

For those working on wards, in care homes and in the community, bringing the Christmas cheer can prove tricky – people might feel too unwell, lonely or simply ‘bah humbug’ to join in with the festivities.

While nurses might want to don their best Rudolf jumper and tinsel crown, it’s not suitable in an emergency, or sensitive for serious conversations with a family.

    Staff share plans for festive tunes on the radio, buffets for patients and colleagues – and ‘Chrimbo tights’

    Picture: Alamy

    While many are tucking into countless helpings of roast potatoes and turkey around the dining table, it can be easy to forget that Christmas Day can be a day of gloom rather than joy for nurses and patients.

    For those working on wards, in care homes and in the community, bringing the Christmas cheer can prove tricky – people might feel too unwell, lonely or simply ‘bah humbug’ to join in with the festivities.

    While nurses might want to don their best Rudolf jumper and tinsel crown, it’s not suitable in an emergency, or sensitive for serious conversations with a family.

    So whether you work on the wards or out in the community, how can you make Christmas Day feel just that little bit special?

    Small gifts and buffets help patients get through the day

    Neil Wood, a psychiatric nurse in Scotland who previously worked at male inpatient units in Manchester, told Nursing Standard that staff on the units used to offer a Christmas buffet for patients, along with small gifts.

    ‘I always enjoyed Christmas on the ward as it felt like the lads really needed cheering up, and we could offer them an opportunity to have a better Christmas than the one they possibly would have had at home – if they had a home,’ he said.

    ‘They got a small bag of presents – deodorant or aftershave, chocolate, maybe some socks – that would be waiting for them on Christmas morning. It’s nice and we would usually have a pretty good day.’

    With Omicron causing a surge in COVID-19 cases, many NHS workplaces have asked staff to ease off on decorations in a bid to help infection control. Add to that the increasing number of hospitalisations and staff shortages due to sickness in the NHS, and Christmas is shaping up to be a stressful one.

    Nurses reveal Christmas plans on social media

    But nurses have taken to Nursing Standard’s Facebook page to tell of how they still plan to spread the cheer this festive season.

    ‘This year my trust has all but cancelled Christmas – no decorations allowed unless they are laminated and cleanable – so I guess it's Chrimbo tights and my light-up headband and bells on my shoes,’ one nurse wrote.

    Another wrote: ‘We make Christmas modifications to uniforms, bring nibbles for the staffroom, Christmas tunes on the radio and the staff canteen does free roast dinners. But it is usually mega busy and everyone forgets it’s Christmas anyway.’


    In other news

    Sign up to continue reading for FREE

    OR

    Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

    Save over 50% on your first three months:

    • Customisable clinical dashboard featuring 200+ topics
    • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals including Nursing Standard
    • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
    • NMC-compliant RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
    • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests

    This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

    Jobs