Solent NHS TrustHigh quality community and mental health services

A Christmas day nurse

Written by Tre Daughtry, Senior Nurse Manager at the Kite Unit

Not everyone is able to take time off work over the festive period. Tre, who is the Senior Nurse Manager at our Kite Unit which offers neuropsychiatric rehabilitation for people who have experienced a brain injury, would like to share with you her experiences of working as a nurse at Christmas.

“Within my 30 years of NHS service as a nurse I have worked, or been on-call, over many Christmas days and festive periods. As a nurse, it is always a pleasure to be able to share Christmas Day with patients and we always look forward to welcoming relatives and carer. I am often told that ‘I’m an angel’ and that ‘I’m truly dedicated’, but to me working Christmas Day is just part of being a nurse.

“Christmas under these circumstances can be very difficult, but we see it as a privilege to be able to make a difference, striving to make it the very best we can for our patients.

“This week we have sung carols, accompanied on the recorder by Dr Wagner. We held our Christmas party – our patients were over-joyed to have at least two loved ones enjoy the festivities with them. The unit is beautifully decorated with home-made decorations, made by our patients with the support of an occupational therapist and assistant. Delicious biscuits and cakes have also been made in the baking group, supported by the enablement assistants.

“We can’t wait until Christmas day! Christmas lunch will be prepared and cooked on the unit by the patients and staff. They will be busy peeling brussel sprouts, roasting potatoes and basting the turkey. We will all eat lunch during the Queen’s speech and funds from the Trust’s charity have made it possible for us to buy gifts for those patients who will have no presents. As well as enjoying the festivities, our nurses and our support workers will continue to ensure we provide the very best care possible – we still have a very important job to do.

“We receive lots of lovely Christmas cards with lots of thankful messages. I would like to share an extract from one of our card: “Every staff member is very important in the treatment, care and rehabilitation of our brother. At this Christmas time, we wish to give a heartfelt thanks and appreciation for all that you do with and for him. We really appreciate all your efforts. We send you season’s greetings, bless you all.”

“We are not angels or truly dedicated, our rewards come from seeing that we make a difference and our care is appreciated.”