Holiday Blues: 10 Ways to Make Your Patients Smile During Holidays


Being on duty during the holidays can put your spirit down. However, as a nurse, you should consider how your actions will affect your patients.

Being hospitalized during the holiday season is both traumatic and sad for most patients. It’s difficult for patients and their families to celebrate the holiday season away from their home and with health problems in their minds.

As nurses, we can do simple things to help them overcome holiday blues so they can still feel the spirit of the holiday season despite being away from their homes.

To help you get started, here are some simple ways to make your patients smile during holidays:

1Give simple gifts

As the saying goes, it’s the thought that counts. No matter how small, gifts can make anyone happy. Try to give simple gifts to your patients like a grooming kit, a box of cookies or a hand towel. For kids, they will be happy to receive stuffed toys or board games. Wrap the present beautifully and create a nice greeting card for them.

See Also: Holiday Shopping Guide for Nurses

2Wear your best smile

A genuine smile can go a long way when brightening up someone’s day. Whatever the situation, try your best to smile in front of your patients. Smiling is contagious; when someone approaches you with a great smile, you just can’t help but smile back. It lightens up the atmosphere, especially during stressful situations.

3Make simple decorations at your station

Let the spirit of the holiday season reflect in your workstation. Decorate the nurse’s station and the hallways with creative holiday ornaments. Whenever patients and their relatives see festive decorations around, their mood might feel lighter and better. Christmas decorations create a homey and jolly atmosphere everywhere.

See Also: DIY Christmas Decor Ideas for Nurses

4Share your treats

Nurses oftentimes receive sweets and other treats as gifts during the holiday season. Whenever you can, share these treats with your patients. A simple gesture of sharing is usually appreciated by most patients as they can feel that they are also an important part of the team.

5Participate in gatherings

Relatives usually organize small gatherings for their patients. Participate in these gatherings whenever you are invited. Most patients appreciate the presence and cooperation of their nurses during these times. Bring a gift or some food to share with them to show your appreciation and sincerity in joining their small gathering.

6Express your greetings

On Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, be sincere in expressing your greetings to your patients. Be jolly in greeting them “Merry Christmas” or “Happy New Year” even while providing nursing care to them. These simple greetings will remind them of the joyful spirit of this year’s holiday season.

7Have a little chit-chat

If you have plenty of time, have a short talk with your patients while you provide bedside care to them. Explore their feelings about the upcoming holiday season so you can properly address signs of depression. Sometimes, allowing patients to verbalize their feelings also helps them in relieving holiday blues while they are still hospitalized.

8Brighten up the room

Draw the curtains up and let some sunlight into the patient’s room. Ensure the availability of drinking water or clean towels within the patient’s reach. Maintain the cleanliness of the room by ensuring the housekeeping personnel is not missing out any part that needs to be cleaned.

These little efforts are appreciated by most patients as they can see that their nurses are paying attention to their needs.  The little details in the patients’ room help in promoting a relaxing environment for them.

9Compliment them

Most people don’t get the appreciation they deserve at home or at work so it helps a lot to complement patients during their hospitalization. Praise what they are wearing or what they have accomplished. Take time to listen to them and find something sincere to compliment.

Giving sincere compliments to your patients help boost their confidence. It also helps them avoid self-pitying especially when they feel helpless about their condition.

See Also: How To Build Rapport With Your Patients

10Know your patients more

Address your patients by their first names. Know their favorite food, TV program or sports. This way, your patients will not feel that they are just “another patient” in your unit.

Most of the time, simple gestures we often take for granted already mean a lot to other patients. It’s easy to make them smile once you treat them as one of your friends and not just another client to care for.

Aim to make your patients smile this holiday season and be compassionate in providing care to them. It’s hard to be hospitalized during one of the most festive seasons of the year so they indeed need extra care and careful attention. After all, it feels good to know that you made someone smile every day. Include this mission in your daily nursing care plan at work especially this holiday season.

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