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over 5 years ago by Eavanne Allen

Working Over Christmas

Baubles Circle

When you are settling down in front of the fire after your Christmas dinner with the family, spare a thought for those essential workers who have to go into work on Christmas day. As the holiday season is upon us, Meridian's Lead Clinical Nurse, Annette Sparks talks about her time on a Children's ward at Christmas. 

"As a Senior Paediatric Ward Sister for many years, I used to work every Christmas day. It is always a poignant time for children who are very ill and in need of care in hospital on this special day. The whole nursing team pull together to make the day as special as possible for every child and their family who were not able to enjoy their Christmas celebrations at home.

Preparations would start weeks in advance. Local businesses would donate presents which we would carefully wrap and store away for the big day. The ward would be brightly decorated to make it as festive as possible for the children, with a large tree with fairy lights in the centre, and lots of tinsel around each cot or bed.

Lead Clinical Nurse, Annette Sparks

The ward was always very busy on Christmas Eve trying to get as many children as possible home for the day if possible. The air of excitement would be tangible and trying to get the children to bed and asleep at a sensible time was a challenge for all parents and nurses. It was great fun to be on night duty to see the children waking up and checking to see if Santa had been – especially as they were in hospital and not sure if he knew the way.

On the big day itself one of the Paediatric Consultants would dress up as Santa and travel the ward giving out presents. Nurses were allowed to decorate their hats with tinsel to add to the festive air. After the presents the Consultant would carve the roast turkey and help the nursing staff to serve Christmas dinner to the children and their parents.

So that the nursing staff could spend some precious time with their own families at home, the shifts were shorter and the rota was agreed months in advance so that plans could be made.

As well as the nursing staff, key essential staff such as housekeeping and portering staff are needed to come into work to keep the ward clean and tidy and running smoothly. Without their invaluable support the wards wouldn’t be able to function."

Everyone at Meridian Business Support would like to thank all the essential workers who are working over the festive period to keep us safe.