What Christmas day is like for Nurses at Griffith Base Hospital

There’s no such thing as a silent night at Griffith Base Hospital on Christmas.

And yet the dedicated nurses doing shifts finds ways to make their colleagues and their patients enjoy a little bit of the season’s spirit, always making the most out of what is not necessarily a bad situation, but one where everyone is in the same boat.

Nurse Unit Manager in the Emergency Department Simone Hazelman said the day always has a huge and unpredictable workload.

“What we see varies from self inflicted injuries from driving under the influence – that is what we have found is the biggest increase overall,” said Simone.

She said other common presentations include kids injuring themselves with toys, like rolled ankles from skateboards and related accidents, as well as a lot of presentations resulting from drugs and alcohol.

BAUBLES: Nurse practitioner Sandra Hungerford, Doctor Akin, nurse Helen See, Monique Hopwood, and unit manager Simone Hazelman from the Energency Department. PHOTO: Jacinta Dickins.

BAUBLES: Nurse practitioner Sandra Hungerford, Doctor Akin, nurse Helen See, Monique Hopwood, and unit manager Simone Hazelman from the Energency Department. PHOTO: Jacinta Dickins.

“At Christmas time we always remember that really bad fatality or the family who had bad news on Christmas day, so its about it's sheltering those people and making it better for them.”

As for dealing with those tragedies and not so nice memories, nurse practitioner Sandra Hungerford said the staff become good at remembering the happy times.

“I think over the years, you try not to remember the bad, otherwise you can get really down and in this job you need to focus on the good, so all my Christmas memories are the happy ones,” Sandra said.

Children experience the magic of Christmas in a massive way, and as you can imagine the staff at the Children’s Ward go all out to create that Christmas cheer.

 Registered nurse Mandy Ratcliff said working in children's ward on Christmas day is a pretty big deal.

I think over the years, you try not to remember the bad, otherwise you can get really down and in this job you need to focus on the good, so all my Christmas memories are the happy ones.

Nurse Practitioner Sandra Hungerford

“Obviously we have to turn the hospital into a home away from home and try to replicate what they do there as best as we can, taking into consideration the families and all the visitors as well,” Mandy said.

With a special visit from the big man in red himself, the night shift staff will also sneak around to help him by putting out presents.

Nurse unit manager Tracey Costin said they enjoy keeping the spirit alive and well, even if they have to spend some of it away from their families.

“It’s like Christmas at home though, because we get to see the joy on kids faces when they get to open their presents, the spirit is still there,” said Tracey.

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