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Mixed emotions for hospital employees working Christmas

"On Christmas, you want a Christmas miracle and in healthcare there are Christmas miracles," said Angie Hinson, a registered nurse for 37 years

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Illness doesn't take a break for Christmas, so healthcare workers around the world spent their holiday caring for patients.

Working Christmas 2020 is a bit different, Washington University Psychiatrist Dr. Jessi Gold said. 

"The whole year's been really hard for healthcare workers," she said.

Dr. Gold said working on a holiday when caregivers could be with their families, even just the members they live with, probably makes Christmas 2020 a bit harder than it would be otherwise. 

Doctors, nurses and other staffers usually have to work a few holidays during their careers and this one might have a bit of a bonus. 

"I think they know that maybe they wouldn't have been able to go anywhere," Dr. Gold said, "so perhaps that makes it a little bit easier. Not being able to travel and then knowing you can work, gives you an excuse to not feel bad."

She said being able to go to work and actually help people could be a real blessing. Angie Hinson, a registered nurse for 37 years, knows very well.

"It's wonderful to be a nurse and to be able to give a little bit of hope when hope is warranted," Hinson explained, "because sometimes things seem so dire. On Christmas, you want a Christmas miracle and in healthcare there are Christmas miracles."

Miracles like receiving a vaccine for COVID-19. Hinson received the first of two doses last Saturday, "getting vaccinated definitely felt like a Christmas present," she told 5 On Your Side.

The long-time nurse's advice for working the holidays, "Enjoy the day. Enjoy your co-workers. Enjoy the camaraderie that comes from working a holiday, a day your co-workers become more a family."

She added to try to brighten up the day of a patient, "It warms your heart, more than any Christmas present ever could."