What NOT To Do This Holiday Season

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

We nurses sometimes forget to separate our personal lives from our work ones. For some reason, we tend to socialize with the very same people we work with (or used to work with), or we socialize with fellow healthcare professionals (Docs, EMTs, Medics, RTs, etc.).

It’s neither good nor bad–until we’re not around them but continue to act like we are!

Here are some tips to keep in mind around the dinner table this holiday season:

Refrain From Talking About Work At Dinner

Yes, contrary to what you may believe, there actually are people out there who cannot talk about bodily fluids, blood, and drainage while shoving food in their mouths. Call me crazy, but slurping down Christmas Eve cranberry sauce while discussing bloody wounds is not what most people call normal. Besides, you’d rather be enjoying your time off from work than resuscitating a family member who fainted.

Try Actually Tasting The Food

Try not to eat your Karamu feast with the same “hot-rod racing style” that you do when you’re at work. Most of us don’t get a full-fledged traditional meal break, so we eat on the go, on the fly, or while we are still moving. Some of us inhale our food so fast, we forget what the heck we ate. I’ve uttered the phrase, “I’ll taste it later.” This is that rare occasion when you can eat at a normal pace, so give it a try!

Cutlery Improvisation

Whatever you do, I mean, whatever you do–if the supply of utensils is low, please do not break out the tongue blades, urimeters and other equipment to aid in eating your latkes. Once again, it’s not normal to eat your food with a piece of equipment used to examine the back of the throat, or drink from something that normally collects a bodily fluid. Please refer back to family members fainting.

Native tongue

This goes right along with the bodily fluids topic. The minute you start speaking in medical mnemonics, you’re more than likely going to get that glazed over stare and be asked to explain yourself. Play it safe and avoid them altogether.

Maybe I’m the only one who has had to follow these tips? One thing’s for sure, the holidays are always entertaining when there’s a nurse around.


What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. I’d like to add also that I too am guilty but comes naturally. But in retrospect, non medical personnel are guilty in pulling us back into “medical mode”. We are trying to have normalcy outside of overtime, acuity , etc at a holiday party or dinner SOOOO unless it’s a life and death situation- please refrain from asking me for an assessment or opinion or referral on someone I don’t know. I simply let everyone know at the beginning of the event how exhausted and busy I’ve been and how much of a relief it is to be able to enjoy myself, relax and not talk about work. That usually solves it for me.

  2. All good suggestions. I would also like to add the following: Consider avoiding the unholy trinity of conversation (sex, politics and religion). My grandmother believed that it was the hallmark of genteel people. The older I get, the more I believe in this
    Avoid booze. Sometimes one gets too loose. Further, you are always being observed. While you are not responsible for someone else’s proprieties, you are responsible for your reputation and public appearance.
    If your host offers you something, take even a nominal amount (barring food allergies or religious restrictions). Graciousness is viewed as gratitude.
    Give the non-work group guest similar time and attention as you would to colleagues.
    Most importantly, have fun. All work and no play makes for a dull nurse!

  3. Yes, I’m guilty of nurse talk at the table. My father in law would interrupt me by heartily asking my husband,”How many miles do you have on your truck,Scott?” Then I knew I was over the line.

    • Me too! I’m so guilty of everything!😂 My husband will usually cut me off at the pass by using the direct approach. Problem with that? No, but it usually leaves me speechless until the end of the meal. This is because I work all shift tending to people’s needs, then I come home and have to take care of my 91 y/o demented mother in law. So basically my nursing is 100% of my life. I can’t even work on my hobby anymore! Nursing 24/7! What else is there to talk about?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

A Cloudy Forecast At Work?

This is once again an inside joke among nurses. I myself have been labeled the ‘black cloud.’ It has happened in my last three...

Become A Critical Care Nurse, They Said. It Will Be Fun, They Said

I am a proud, critical care nurse, and I have been in that specialty for the majority of my nursing career. Over the years...

Transforming Health Care One Unit at a Time?

Daily huddles to discuss patient's needs for safe transition out of the hospital. Hospitalist and specialist co-management agreements. Monthly review of unit-level data including...