Nurses, The Holidays, and Work-Life Balance, The Nurse Keith Show, EPS 88

It’s the holidays, nurses, and that means it’s time for me to thank you for all you do as a nurse, and for listening to this podcast. I also need to take a pause for the cause of cajoling you to up your self-care game during the holiday season. It’s all about

nurse self-care and the holidays!


On December 19th, 2016, I published a blog post that’s basically a companion to this episode. In that post, I wrote the following about working as a nurse during the holidays:

Many of you who are employed in hospitals are likely working during the holidays, perhaps even on your favorite holiday. You may miss special moments with family and friends, even while you do your best to spread cheer amidst your colleagues and your patients and their families.

Having to show up for work at 7am on Christmas Day or New Years Day is no fun, and having to work 11-7 in the ER on New Years Eve is no picnic. Those of us who don’t work in hospitals may forget how our nurse colleagues are slogging away while we tuck into Christmas dinner and open presents with family.  For those of us Jews who celebrate Hannukah, having eight days makes it easier to be flexible with our celebrations. And for African Americans who celebrate Kwanzaa, it can be a challenge to ask for time off for a holiday that few people recognize or understand; then again, Kwanzaa has multiple nights like Hannukah, so that takes some of the pressure off.

No matter how you slice it, the holidays can be difficult enough without the added stress of working odd hours and missing out on the fun.

Now, what I want to know is what you’re going to do for yourself this holiday season. You might have to work on your favorite holiday or miss out on some fun festivities, and that’s a drag. I asked the following questions in that blog post, and I’ll repeat them here:

  • What can you do to make your holiday shifts easier? 
  • How can you bring more cheer to your workplace, colleagues, and patients? 
  • Can your family be creative about the timing of special celebrations and meals so that you don’t miss out on my favorite holiday activities? (I’ve heard of nurses having Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner the day before or the day after in order to accommodate work schedules.) 
  • Are there nice things you can do for yourself at this time of year? Can you enjoy more baths? Can you take myself out for a pastry and hot chocolate? Can you spend a few hours in your favorite bookstore just for fun? 
  • How can you reward myself after the holidays for a job well done? 
  • What gratefulness can you feel and express for the abundance and love in your life? 

What I recommend is practicing being present during the holidays. If you’re working a shift, be as present for your colleagues and patients as possible. Go deep inside yourself to summon compassion for your patients who, unlike you, don’t get to go home when your shift is over; you may be working on Christmas Day, but your patients remain in the hospital throughout every shift for days at a time. And who wants to be sick and in the hospital during the holidays?

Finally, I need to thank you for listening to The Nurse Keith Show. We’re just about at 100 episodes, a goal we’ll reach somewhere around March of 2017 at the rate we’re going. This is the final episode for 2016, and I can’t strongly enough express my gratitude for you being out there in Podcast Land and allowing me into your ears and mind (and hopefully heart, as well).

Whatever you do this holiday season, do it with joy, and when times get stressful and you need support, reach out and ask from loved ones, friends, and trusted colleagues. Your self care is paramount, as is your ability to remain present even as things get holiday crazy. And you can read my recent post about taking care of yourself during the holidays over at

Folks, enjoy the last days of 2016 and the launching of 2017. I’ll be bringing episode 89 to you during the first week of January, and I send you my best wishes for whatever holiday you choose to celebrate.

Be well, keep in touch, dig deep, and happy holidays!

The episode of the Nurse Keith Show sponsored by StaffGarden, episode of The Nurse Keith Show is brought to you by my friends at StaffGarden, a unique digital healthcare company allowing nurses to create a private online ePortfolio that StaffGarden shares with high-quality employers (with your permission, of course) in order to connect you with the best facilities and positions.

StaffGarden partners with fantastic employers seeking the best candidates in the nursing profession; through powerful partnerships with the recruiters and talent acquisition professionals employed by these healthcare leaders, they deliver your ePortfolio directly to the people who are looking for nurses just like you.

Having a StaffGarden ePortfolio and landing a job with a partnering employer costs you nothing. However, your ePortfolio will get you noticed for positions that you would likely not have access to through traditional ads or job postings.

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Be well, dig deep, and keep in touch!

Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BCKeith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.

Keith is co-host of, a wildly popular nursing podcast; he also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. Keith was previously the resident nursing career expert at

A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.” He has also contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession, and currently writes for MultiViews News Service,, StaffGarden, and Working Nurse Magazine.

Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, online nurse personality, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known successful nurse entrepreneur. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his lovely and talented wife, Mary Rives.

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