Caring at Christmas – A Day in the Life of a Frontline Worker on Christmas Day - By Princy Kurian, Naas General Hospital
Hello, my name is Princy Kurian and I am a Staff Nurse working in the Respiratory High Dependence Unit at Naas General Hospital. During weekends and night shifts, I may also undertake the role of Team Lead on the ward, depending on rostering.
Usually the Christmas Day shift begins at 7:45am and ends at 8:15pm. The workload on Christmas Day is very different to a usual day. As a healthcare worker on this special day, you are the family for your patients and I always try to make my patients feel special on Christmas Day. I always ask my patients how they normally celebrate and ask about their childhood Christmas memories. I generally wear a Christmas hat and wish all my patients and colleagues a Happy Christmas. We play Christmas music on the radio all day and after evening tea we sing some Christmas carols to make everyone feel merry and happy.
We are very lucky in Naas General Hospital to have Christmas lunch provided for the staff in our canteen and it is always so delicious and a lovely treat!
When I have Christmas Day off it is a lovely busy day with my family. On Christmas Eve we go to mass and, as part of the Indian Christian community, we follow the Advent. As an Indian Christian, we have Christmas breakfast with appam and duck or chicken curry. Christmas cake is cut after a small prayer. Then the children will be running to the Christmas tree to open gifts.
I came to Ireland in December 2012, since then I have never celebrated a Christmas or Easter in my own native land. I am lucky enough to have my cousins and friends living in Ireland so we plan early and share the workload of Christmas lunch. If my cousin is preparing the biriyani or fried rice, I will prepare the starters and the dessert. We will gather in one of our houses with Christmas gifts. For Christmas supper we usually go to a friend’s house but with COVID that was put on hold last year, and this year as well, as we still need to keep our social contacts low
Of course, working on Christmas Day is a different feeling. You miss your family. On break time we call overseas and see how our families are celebrating. I will always cherish the memories of childhood Christmas with my big family back at home and always miss them at this time of year.
As a healthcare worker who has battled through the pandemic on the frontline over these last two years, I would implore everyone to please take heed of the public health advice, especially over the Christmas holidays. I for one am afraid of what the Omicron variant might mean for us in the hospital over the coming weeks. Keep your social contacts low and when your turn comes, avail of the booster vaccine. This will help to keep you and your close ones safe over the weeks ahead.
From all of us at Naas General Hospital, we wish you and yours a very Happy Christmas.