We asked nurses what they really want this holiday season: If you could get one thing, tangible or intangible, what would it be? Responses varied widely after a wild year that encompassed everything from a once-in-a-century global pandemic to natural disasters and a hotly-contested presidential election.
The majority of 2020 has been especially challenging for nurses who are primary caregivers to their own young children, with quarantines and lockdowns forcing parents to manage their kids’ remote learning while juggling overwhelming work shifts, often at understaffed facilities. Many nurses wished for simple gifts or trips that were more common before the pandemic, e.g. ones requiring social interaction. Several of the ideal gifts on nurses’ wish lists are rare or even impossible now, due to the pandemic and social distancing requirements.
Even if some of these gifts aren’t doable for this holiday season, hopefully, circumstances in the following months will allow for more of these nurses’ wishes to come true very soon.
“As both a nurse and a grandpa, my number one wish for the holidays would be for COVID-19 to finally be eradicated so that I can see my granddaughters and grandson. Social distancing and working extra hours to help care for patients have made it even more challenging to see my grandchildren and I miss them very much!” – Tony Anno, APRN, ACNP-BC, DNP and faculty member at Walden University’s Master of Science in Nursing Program
“Nurses spend their life taking care of other people. We take care of our patients, families and kids, but are not known for taking great care of ourselves. My ideal gift would be the gift of time so nurses can self-care. It could take many different forms... an offer to babysit, an offer to pet sit, a delivered meal, a meal service... etc. Anything that would give a nurse a chance to rest and relax... a break from the responsibility both inside and outside work.” – Nancy McLaughlin, RN, BSN, Hemophilia of Georgia
“If I could have one thing this holiday season, it would be a two-week vacation somewhere overseas. In normal times, such a request wouldn’t be a big deal -- my husband and I have taken numerous lengthy vacations during my career as a nurse. However, our floor is currently experiencing a shortage of nurses due to COVID, both because of positive tests that have required co-workers to quarantine, as well as older nurses taking leave to avoid exposure. This staffing shortage has been great for my paycheck with OT hours, but I am exhausted and tired of wearing PPE every day. So, if I could have one thing this Christmas, it would be a two-week vacation, preferably to Greece. – Alaina Ross, RN, BSN, PACU Nurse
“If I would have one thing for Christmas, I would have an all-inclusive spa overnight stay. I would have massages, body wraps, facials, and a pedicure and sit in the steam room and relax in the immersion spa pools. Nurses spend their entire days using their bodies, minds, and souls taking care of others and need to also be restored body, mind, and soul.” – Dr. Jenna Liphart Rhoads, Ph.D., RN, CNE Advisor at NurseTogether.
“The best holiday gift any nurse could ask for this year is for everyone to finally band together to stay home, wear masks, and practice social distancing. Staying safe at home will help give us and our patients a much-needed break.” – Emily N. Giddings, MSN, RN, CCRN, CNE, Critical Care Nurse & Remote Nursing Author, UWorld
While many of the above gifts can’t be bought or obtained until the pandemic is over, there are several pandemic-safe gift options you can purchase this year to show your favorite nurse some love, with this list of 9 holiday gift ideas for the nurse in your life.