I was devastated. Newly engaged, it was my first Christmas back home with my family after many years. But with no seniority, I had little clout to get Christmas off while my dedicated colleagues worked.
While lamenting my predicament, I came up with an idea. Since I couldn't be with my family, I would bring my family to the hospice. With the patients and their families struggling through their last Christmases together, maybe this gathering would lend support. My family thought it was a wonderful plan, and so did the staff. Several invited their relatives to participate, too.
As we brainstormed ideas for a hospice Christmas, we remembered the annual 11:00 P.M. Christmas Eve Service scheduled in the hospital chapel. "Why don't we take the patients to church?" I suggested.
"Yes," replied another staff nurse. "It's a beautiful candlelight service with music. I bet the patients would love it."
"Great. And we can have a little party afterwards, with punch, cookies, and small gifts," I added. Our enthusiasm increased as we planned the details of our hospice Christmas celebration. Now, it never occurred to me that all these great ideas may not float so well with administration. It never occurred to me that we might have to get permission for each of these activities- until the director called me into her office.
"Uh, Barb, I'm hearing rumors of a Christmas Eve celebration here at the hospice."
"Well, yes," I replied. Eagerly, I outlined all the plans and ideas the staff had developed. Fortunately for my career, she thought involving our families with the unit activities was a wonderful idea, too. "But, she said, "certainly you are not serious about taking the patients to church. It has never been done." "Yes, I'm serious. It would mean a lot to the patients...