Provide extra doses of kindness to patients during holidays




Being under treatment at any time can be a difficult, stressful and depressing experience for a patient. No one likes to feel ill, to undergo surgery or to need medication. These situations take on even more of a burden when they happen during the holiday season.

Whether you’re working in an inpatient setting, an outpatient clinic or in home care, as a nurse showing extra kindness during this time of year can mean all the difference for a patient regardless of his or her age.

Many nurses have written about how they try to convey kindheartedness to their patients and clients. In nursing homes, residents often feel overlooked and forgotten. Offering simple things to the residents, such as gloves, socks or a handmade card can mean a lot. Author and blogger Pamela Rice, who obtained these suggestions from the nursing staff at her mother’s nursing home, suggested that members of a local church or synagogue could be asked to visit the residents and provide these simple, but appreciated, gifts.

An article I read suggested that simple things like wearing your best smile, making simple decorations at the nurse’s station and in the hallways and spending more time talking with your patients helps uplift their spirits during this time of year.

How have you been a blessing to your patients during this holiday season? Share in the comments section below.”

Also important is to remember that not all individuals celebrate the same holiday. Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are all celebrated in December. Therefore, your holiday efforts have to include the many different religions of your patients so that no patient feels offended, discriminated against or overlooked because of his or her religious beliefs.

Likewise, it may be that some patients do not acknowledge a religion or celebrate any of the holidays. If that is the case, these individuals should know they are welcome to participate or skip the celebration.

Sara Moss-Wolfe, author and gardener, said: “Nurses, one of the few blessings of being ill.” Being generous, friendly and warmhearted are characteristics nurses display on a regular basis. However, during this time of the year, extra effort is needed to ensure your patients and clients experience your caring side on an even higher level.

How have you been a blessing to your patients during this holiday season? Share in the comments section below.

As this is my last blog for 2016, Happy Holidays — or simply Happy Days — to all of you and my best wishes for a peaceful and healthy new year.

Nancy Brent’s posts are designed for educational purposes only and are not to be taken as specific legal or other advice. Individuals who need advice on a specific incident or work situation should contact a nurse attorney or attorney in their state.  Visit The American Association of Nurse Attorneys website to search its attorney referral database by state.


About the author
Nancy J. Brent, MS, JD, RN

Nancy J. Brent, MS, JD, RN 

Nancy J. Brent, MS, JD, RN, Nurse.com's legal information columnist, received her Juris Doctor from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and concentrates her solo law practice in health law and legal representation, consultation and education for healthcare professionals, school of nursing faculty and healthcare delivery facilities. Brent has conducted many seminars on legal issues in nursing and healthcare delivery across the country and has published extensively in the area of law and nursing practice. She brings more than 30 years of experience to her role of legal information columnist. To ask Nancy a question, email BrentsLaw@nurse.com.

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