Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle critical care unit nurse Lauren Beasley says working on the holidays allows her to bond with co-workers and patients. Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff
December 23, 2017 10:09:38 PM
What do Peking Chinese Restaurant, Waffle House and Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle have in common? They'll all have open doors Christmas Day, and workers will be at each location to bear the load, perhaps missing the opportunity to open presents or enjoy holiday traditions with friends and family.
For Baptist critical care unit nurse Lauren Beasley, working the holiday allows her to bond with co-workers and patients -- people she considers family.
"We wear tacky Christmas sweaters and have a potluck lunch together," she said. "It's nice to eat good food and laugh and be able to care for our patients."
Beasley, who worked Christmas last year and Thanksgiving this year, said all Baptist Hospital registered nurses are required to work at least two holidays each year. Six other nurses will accompany her in the intensive care unit Dec. 25.
As a younger nurse without kids, Beasley said she doesn't mind working Christmas.
"When I chose this career, I knew those were sacrifices I had to make," Beasley said. "Your loved ones understand."
The Starkville resident plans to celebrate with her husband and parents another day. On Christmas, she adds, her patients are her loved ones, and she and her fellow caretakers try to include them in their holiday festivities at the hospital.
"Columbus residents are really good about bringing gifts by," Beasley said."A lot of these patients are critically ill and don't have families to go home to on Christmas."
About 90 other nurses will accompany Beasley at the hospital Monday, said Brandy Waldrop, director of the hospital's critical and progressive care units. That's not including support staff, nurses on call or paramedics.
Richard Holloway, EMT paramedics supervisor for Baptist Memorial Hospital, said eight staff members and four trucks in his unit will be at the ready in case of emergency.
Outside the hospital, other first-responders will also be ready for action if disaster strikes. Martin Andrews, Columbus Fire and Rescue chief, said 21 firefighters, spread among Columbus' five stations, have Christmas duty, and Fred Shelton, Columbus Police Department assistant police chief, expects eight to nine police officers per shift to be on duty and patrolling the town.
Rita Stewart, secretary for the director of nursing at Oktibbeha County Hospital Regional Medical Center, said 57 people, including nurses, EMS personnel, emergency room staff and nurse technicians, will be on duty at the hospital throughout the day Monday.
"You just never really know what's going to happen," Holloway said. "Holidays tend to be a little lighter, but there's just no guarantee."
Holloway has been with Baptist hospital for 24 years, and he's worked about eight Christmases since he started.
"You just get used to the fact that it's a duty," Holloway added. "If it's your year to work, it's your year to work."
Holloway has an 11-year-old and a 14-year-old at home and three grown kids, so his children know the ropes. He said he is one of the fortunate ones this year because he won't have to go into work until a little later Christmas Day.
"The people who have younger kids, we try to cover for them so they can come in later," he said of his staff. "We try to take care of each other. It's a family type atmosphere."
1. Air Force Base receives best-ever inspection rating in 2017 COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. Courage and class: New Hope teacher uses her breast cancer fight to impart life lessons COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
3. Winning Market Street artist overcomes heavy odds COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
4. Starkville works to improve cash monitoring after Parks embezzlement STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY
5. Tabernacle shooting suspect nabbed in Tennessee COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY