Nothing says summer more than Independence Day – the 4th of July! For those with long, brutal winters, there is nothing better than soaking up the rays and then watching the fireworks at night with family and friends.
But for nurses whose work is 24/7, 365 days a year, their celebrations are not always “traditional.” So what are some ways for nurses to celebrate the 4th of July?
Make some extra money: For many nurses, this is a great day to make some extra cash for future vacations. Although many people spend the 4th with their families, it is not necessarily considered a holiday that most want off.
When I was younger, I worked all the holidays that I could, especially to pay off those pesky school loans. So, most will work to earn some overtime and have their BBQ later. Plus, it often counts for your holiday yearly quota, if you are lucky.
Potluck throw-down: If there is one thing most nurses like to do is eat—especially if working a holiday. In fact, it’s often better than the picnic you were missing.
The unit I worked in was known for putting on big spreads. We always tried to top the last one and word would spread quickly. Most of the respiratory therapists and other mobile folks knew where to get a good lunch or dinner. Plus, the cafeteria is never good on a holiday. So plan ahead and get your potluck sign up started!
Picnics, fireworks, and fun: Nurses work hard and like to play hard! They pour out so much of themselves each and every day, so when they have a day off, they make the best of it.
Plus, if you were the lucky one to actually have a holiday off, you better make the best of it. Remember those poor souls that got stuck working so you didn’t have to—make them proud and enjoy life!
Relax and refresh: Again, you’re lucky to get this holiday off. So use it to refresh and recharge if you need to. Admittedly, the parties and fireworks are fun. But when you are around people every day, it does feel good to just hibernate and have a Netflix marathon. Or maybe finish up that project or hobby you have been putting off.
Remember, nurses pour so much of their hearts out that they need to be recharged and refilled to continue at being great caregivers. If you do not take care of yourself, you cannot take care of others.
Volunteer: With so many community events going on, there are certainly plenty of opportunities to give back and volunteer. Most events are very patriotic in nature and nothing is more American than giving back to their communities. Nurses are trusted and have a unique skill set to offer so go ahead and offer your services.
Other places to consider volunteering at are nursing homes or assisted living facilities, especially veterans’ homes. They often are unable to get out, so bring the party to them!
So whether you got the day off or it was your turn to work a holiday, try to make the best of it as nurses usually do. But more importantly, definitely take some time to reflect on the freedom and independence we do have as Americans!
HOW ARE YOU SPENDING THE 4TH OF JULY?