You will find that most nurses are diligent and hardworking – dedicated to helping people less fortunate.

But in their dedication, they can take on so much work that it impacts their lives outside of being a nurse.

Nurse wages are incredibly low considering the work they do, and because of it, they take on extra shifts. And in order to make ends meet, nurses are missing out on special family occasions.

This is especially seen in the Christmas holidays, or any public holiday during the year, where most people with more “conventional work hours” are given time off.

More likely than not, you’ll find a nurse working hard during a time when they wish they could be with their loved ones.

In an open letter by a nurse named Mandi, she writes to her children about those missed moments.

“You have told me how hard it is to spend holidays without me-that there seems to be a hole in the family photo albums where your mother should be.”

“We tried celebrating on different days but your heart always knew the day that the world was celebrating on and that I was not there.”

“I am sorry for each and every holiday that I missed. I promise you that I was with you in spirit and that, as I tended to my patients, I was often thinking of you.”

“I am sorry for every day that you wondered if my patients mean more to me than you.”

Sarah Zanoni, the new interim director for the RCN South West, told Nursing Standard “some of the stories they are telling us are heartbreaking”.

“Rather than take days off, nurses are [working public holidays] to get more money because they can’t make ends meet without it.”

“We have people talking about missing special days and events such as children’s birthdays because they are working extra shifts.”

Zanoni also mentioned that in some houses, the nurses are the main household earner, “nurses are often the main breadwinner and trying to look after a family on a nursing salary is just not enough to have a decent family life.”

“It cannot be right that our nurses who are looking after the health of the public have to worry about how they are going to feed their families.”

“Every time their kids come home from school talking about a school trip that they have to tell them they can’t go,” she said.

Nurses are often exhausted with the demands of delivering quality care while struggling with staffing difficulties, low wages and the threat of decreasing public holiday pay – it’s not uncommon for nurses to leave the sector.

Finding the balance can be hard at times, it’s something that many nurses struggle with. While they focus on caring for others, it’s also important to step back to focus on themselves and their families too.

Whilst this article talks about nurses, we understand that this applies to all staff in the aged care sector. 

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