To choose nursing or medicine as a profession usually means that sometime in your career, you will be covering weekends and holidays. So when my children were young, I had to take my turns doing shifts on Thanksgiving and Christmas for many years.

As much as I loved being home during a holiday, from the beginning I was always grateful to be the one ‘wearing the uniform’ rather than being the patient when I did have to work. Being in the position to help someone who has to be stuck in a hospital over the holidays was actually pretty gratifying.

We have patients at The Coleman Institute who are going through Accelerated Opioid Detoxes now, over this this holiday season. Clearly they would rather be elsewhere, not having this illness of addiction take over their holiday time. For these people, coming in over the holiday is the only way they can make it work into their schedules. For them, it’s become a life or death situation. They know they are losing their dreams, their families, their professions—their very lives--as long as they continue to use.

And once again, it is with lots of compassion Dr. Coleman, the staff at the Coleman Institute, and I see these patients over the holidays. We already have patients booked over the New Year, so even while we won’t be seeing family practice patients, we will be working with patients going through a detox. If you need some help—we know the problems don’t stop during the holidays. We can be here for you.

Joan R. Shepherd, FNP