For nurses, the job is never really done-even during the holidays. While other businesses and industries take breaks around the Christmas season, hospitals continue to be as busy as ever, and the doctors and nurses still have to keep up. In fact, Monster.com has a great article on coping with those holiday nursing schedules right here.
Whether you’re currently working in a hospital or clinic with holiday hours on your schedule, or whether you’re still studying to wear the scrubs during those times in the future, it’s a good idea to be mentally prepared for the upcoming challenges, and not just the challenge of planning holiday and family activities around your schedule. Every year around this time, nurses see many of the same injuries and emergencies come through the emergency room doors, so brace yourself for some of these most common holiday accidents.
- Slips and falls continue to lead the way as the most common reason for visiting the ER around Christmas. In many states, ice and snow contribute to the problem. But there are also shaky ladders for decorating, people on roofs stringing lights, lots of cords, presents, and children underfoot, and family members wandering around unfamiliar homes during visits. The resulting injuries can range from minor fractures, bruising, and sprains to head injuries and dislocations.
- Alcohol-related injuries are also some of the most common, and understandably so-the alcohol industry makes more than 25 percent of its profits during this time of the year. That’s a lot of eggnog. Be on the lookout for alcohol-related slips and falls (see above), accidents from drunk driving, and even the occasional case of alcohol poisoning. You can also help prevent these kinds of injuries by making sure your family, friends, and co-workers plan on drinking responsibly this December. There’s a great article from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism here.
- Burns may also be a common injury seen around the hospital during December. Open flames (candles and fireplaces) are used more liberally, crowded kitchens can lead to grease fires and burned hands, Christmas trees themselves are very flammable, and with the temperature dropping, the risk of fires caused by space heaters rises quickly. All together, that’s a lot of ways for a person to get a nasty burn, and if they do, they’ll be headed your way quickly.
- Cuts requiring stitchesaccounts for about 11% of holiday accidents-whether it be from a knife slip while carving a turkey, stepping on a broken glass ornament, or poor attempts at cutting open a gift or assembling a new toy.
- Back strains are also a big problem around the holidays, accounting for about 10% of injuries. Be on the lookout for those slipped discs and pulled muscles, and remind your friends and family to life with their knees and not their backs when moving those heavy boxes and luggage.
“There are about 250 injuries a day during the holiday season. Adding safety to your checklist can keep a holiday tradition from becoming a holiday tragedy,” said CPSC Acting Chairman Robert Adler. “Keep Christmas trees watered well, don’t leave candles unattended, and use caution whenever you are on a ladder.”
There’s a lot to prepare for as the holiday chaos descends on us, but if you can keep a cool head, rely on your training, and get rest whenever you can, you’re going to make it through just fine. And for those of you on the front lines during this Christmas season, you have our sincerest thanks and gratitude. It’s a tough job, but we all feel a lot better knowing you’re there to do it.
If you’d like more information on how Unitek College can help you achieve your goal of becoming a nurse, or for information on how you can start the new year by taking steps towards a new career, you can contact us here.