This Thanksgiving, as your fork fills with luscious mashed potatoes, crispy yet moist turkey, and creamy gravy in the moment you’ve been dreaming about for weeks, take a second to pause and remember…
Oh, yeah, maybe you should be grateful for everyone who is working today.
Because as you’re about to do nothing all day except test the limits of your stomach, there are thousands of HCPs still showing up to work over the holidays. Nurses, physicians, NPs and PAs across the country are running codes, placing tubes and passing meds during the shifts no one else wanted.
Here are a few suggestions to show your gratitude that don’t require you to sacrifice family time or your wallet.
Offer to work a shift for someone in need
Perhaps this isn’t the gesture you were hoping for, but it’s worth considering. If you have a struggling coworker who hasn’t gotten time off recently, gift him or her with a shift switch. (Just be sure they weren’t looking forward to that holiday pay, of course!)
Give a social media shout-out
Post a special holiday shout-out on social media to honor your work bestie. Tag ’em, recognize ’em, thank ’em for their hard work. You might even go viral…
Send a non-food goodie basket
The holidays are all about edible treats, but not everyone can indulge. So it’s extra thoughtful to say “thank you” with gifts like flowers, candles, lip balm, gloves, eye masks, gift cards… The list goes on.
Just say thanks — literally
Not to get all Kardashian on you, but you might be surprised at how much literally saying thank you — like, out loud — to someone working on a holiday can make a difference. The next time you share a shift with your colleagues scheduled on Thanksgiving, or if you find yourself in urgent care with a sick kid the day of, take a quick second say thanks.
Drop off holiday hand lotion
As a healthcare worker, you know all the hand-washing you’re required to do dries out your skin. When I worked as a nurse, I got unreasonably excited about pocket-sized lotions that I could keep in my scrubs for a scented pick-me-up between patients. With holiday sales, like this one Bath and Body Works, you can affordably buy a batch to drop off at your hospital or office. Just avoid petroleum-based lotions because they ruin latex gloves.
Send food, but not on the actual holiday
If you’re tempted shower your colleagues with turkey and stuffing on Thursday, may I suggest you wait and send food another day instead? On Thanksgiving, anyone working will eat plenty of free meals and participate in at least one potluck. But on days between holidays, you can really stand out. Brighten up Black Friday with delivered donuts or order pizza over the weekend when the buzz has died down. And if you’re working those days, even better…
Don’t forget the night shift
Whether you send snacks, drop off gifts, or just say “thank you,” don’t overlook the night shift. When I worked nights, the cafeteria was always closed, as were local restaurants, and I usually felt left out of the fun. When expressing your gratitude make a special effort to include the night shifters, too.
Enjoy your holiday to the max
What’s the best way to thank the people out there working the holidays? Fully embrace your time with loved ones! Load up mashed potatoes, send a sentimental note or some gift cards, and enjoy the festivities made possible by the physicians, nurses, CNAs and APPs caring for patients while you sleep off your dinner.