What Working Christmas is Really Like for Healthcare Staff

Even though the majority of us will be piling our plates with a delicious dinner on Christmas Day, there are many people who are at work, especially in the social and health care sectors.


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On 25th December, it is estimated that around 136,000 care workers will be working, which is more than any other group of employees. Working on Christmas Day, these healthcare assistants and nurses will make up a third of all of those people who have to go to work on Christmas Day. Paramedics, midwives and doctors will also be on standby, keeping the emergency services and hospitals in full working order throughout the festive period.

But what’s it like to work on Christmas Day?

Emergency Care Nurse

Speaking to the BBC, 35-year-old coronary care emergency unit nurse, Pamela Gildea, says that on Christmas Day they’re dealing with those who’ve had heart attacks and need emergency operations. She works at the NHS Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank, which is a specialist care unit, meaning anyone can be referred there from the west of Scotland.

Her shift usually lasts 12 hours and can vary from being fairly quiet to having lots of emergencies. But the nurses on her ward don’t go without their Christmas treats as they share food throughout the day, with people making cakes and bringing various pieces of party food in to enjoy together. They also wrap up presents and create stockings for their patients, bringing a warm, party atmosphere to the hospital. Sometimes shifts can be traumatic, with people suffering a cardiac arrest on Christmas Day, but Pamela knows that the patients they’re caring for appreciate their hard work throughout the festive time and feels it’s important that they make a difference to them.

Great Camaraderie

One thing’s clear, when you read the stories of these incredible people who work in hospitals or in specialist roles at a contract research organization such as, you see that everyone is brought together for the festive period. As they miss out on their family Christmas lunches, they’re bringing their Christmas celebrations to work, and most importantly, to their patients.

Together, they make sure no-one is missing out and even though working on Christmas Day is something everyone wants to avoid, these healthcare staff members make the most of it for themselves and their patients.

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