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Working for the holidays

Few people want to work the holidays. But some professions require it. They can't simply turn the sign around, lock up shop and head home for Christmas dinner and presents.

That's perhaps most true at a hospital. And Fairview Red Wing Medical Center is no different.

But despite having to work Christmas Day, many nurses, doctors and other caregivers found a way to be joyous Friday.

For Camie Cordes, who registers patients when they arrive at the hospital, working this holiday meant being away from her children on Christmas morning when they open presents.

But she found a positive in the situation.

"Being able to help someone in a time of need -- that gives me the feeling of Christmas too," Cordes said.

Registered Nurse Julie Gaitonde said working Christmas is fine with her because it meant she got to be off during deer hunting.

Also she and her fellow nurses found ways to make the workplace festive, by wearing Santa hats, some of which move and sing. And R.N. Penny Cole made tacos for her colleagues.

"I love it," Cole said, about working on the holiday.

And there's Doctor Greg Kays, director of Emergency and Urgent Care. What does he like about working over the holidays?

"Nothing," the doctor said, laughing. Although he admits the holiday pay is nice.

But his services are needed, Christmas or not, he said, and the holidays are often a busy time for the emergency room.

Also, he said working the holiday shift only takes a minor adjustment though. Kays family simply opens presents and visits a day later and it isn't that big of a deal.

The caregivers said it's hard to gripe about working, because they know the patients don't want to be sick or hurt and in the hospital. And it's their job to help them.