By Cori Tharp, RN
Cardiovascular Services Charge Nurse
St. Joseph Medical Center
I have been a Registered Nurse (RN) since 1993 and currently work as a Cardiovascular Services Charge Nurse t St. Joseph Medical Center. Most of my work over the last 25 years has been in the Operating Room/Procedural area or ICU/Long-Term Care. Medical teams in these areas work around the clock. I’m also a Perioperative Nurse in the United States Navy Reserve and a Lieutenant Commander (Select) with the Navy.
As a nurse, I expect to work holiday shifts that require me to be on call for a 12- or 24-hour shift. Some might wonder why I have been working holidays like this for more than 25 years. It works for me because I know it’s expected and needed. People don’t schedule to be sick and need us to be there when they are in the most need. There are some jobs in nursing in which you don’t ever have to work on a holiday—such as a school nurse. I have always said if you’re sad, unhappy or angry at your job, it’s time to get a different job than nursing.
My husband Dennis and my family are always supportive. I have two children, Monica (13) and Nick (11), and a large extended family. Even though I work on these special days, we still plan celebrations. However, if I’m on call, we adjust our plans to attend family celebrations and take both cars in case I have to leave. And, of course, Santa always comes to our house no matter if I’m working or on call. Santa is pretty flexible that way. No matter what, at home, we make holidays special. I still prepare a side dish and dessert (brownies are the favorite) to take over to whoever is having the family dinner. When the kids are sad because I may not be there, we tell them “This is real life and sometimes we have to do things that take us away from you guys, but we will have fun, no matter what.” It’s also important for children to see that you work for a greater good – for a bigger goal – and it’s not all about you and how happy you are, it’s about giving back and serving others.
My advice to people who have to work on a holiday is, “Make the best of it, don’t be angry or sad.” Working on a holiday may be God’s way of showing you what it’s like to really serve others who need cheering up – you may be the person “picked” for the job.
Congratulations to Cori Tharp, Charge Nurse; Cath Lab, EP Lab, and IR. Winner of the 2018 Janet Rees Nurses Award for extraordinary contributions to patient satisfaction and staff support. Cori pictured with Stephanie Kolesar, MSN, RN, Nurse Manager Cardiovascular Services & Interventional Radiology.
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