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December 12, 2013

Prof: Tips for those new to working holiday shifts and praise for those who always do

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Expanded retail hours during the holiday season means more people are working holiday shifts, and a Purdue University expert has tips for those employees and their families, as well as a reminder to not overlook other professionals who traditionally cover holiday shifts.

"Working holidays can be tough because it intrudes on family time and tradition and can even create personal problems as families reschedule and adapt," says Cynthia L. Bozich Keith, a clinical associate professor of nursing. "Families need to openly communicate, be flexible and work together as they make holiday plans. Employees new to these hectic holiday schedules, especially in retail, need to make sure they are getting enough sleep, eating healthy and exercising.

"The best way to cope is to take the negative and make a positive. What good things can come from it? Most nurses do not choose to work the holidays just as patients do not choose to be patients during that special time of year. But as a nurse, it was personally rewarding for me to be a part of the holiday time when I can help people most. For others, the positive might be the incentive pay."

Bozich Keith, whose expertise focuses on mental illness, interpersonal communication, and grief and loss issues, also says it is important to not forget the other professions working holidays such as firefighters, law enforcement and health care.

"Nurses have been working holidays since the beginning of the profession, and students know the commitment to their patients and the profession," she says. "There is often cohesiveness and camaraderie among those who work, and they often create their own celebrations, such as gift exchanges and bringing food to share." 

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu  

Source: Cynthia L. Bozich Keith, 765-494-6339, bozichke@purdue.edu  

Related websites:

College of Health and Human Sciences

School of Nursing