New year does not offer break to hospital staff

Published 3:33 am Wednesday, December 31, 2003

By By ANNA M. LEE Assistant Editor
While many of us take a break during the holidays, hospitals get no time off.
Steps are taken at Brewton's D.W. McMillan Hospital to ensure that the proper staff is available at all times and that those in the hospital or visiting the hospital can share some holiday spirit.
It may seem that few would be willing to work during this time of the year, but there are no major problems with staffing during the holidays, said Bob Ellis, director of nurses for D.W. McMillan Hospital.
The nursing staff alternates holidays so those who were off last Christmas worked this Christmas, Ellis said.
Though the holidays don't have much affect on how the hospital is staffed, another potential problem with staffing this time of year is the flu, as flu season can affect the staff as well as patients in the hospital.
The hospital is typically quieter during the holidays, Ellis said, except for the emergency room.
Just like during the rest of the year, doctors work out among themselves who will be working in the hospital during the holidays and who will be off, Hunt said.
The spirits of those working in or visiting the hospital this holiday season were lifted by the work of local students, according to Mae Downing, D.W. McMillan Hospital's chief financial officer.
For any children that are hospitalized during Christmas, the hospital tries to provide gifts from the gift shop, Downing said.
The hospital also organizes a Christmas party for children and grandchildren of the staff.