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Nurses Say Working Thanksgiving is Part of the Job

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Casey Castillo, a nurse in the White Plains Hospital's emergency room, said working the Thanksgiving shift Thursday won't be too different from the typical workday, except staff will bring in turkey and side dishes to snack on with their "extended family."

"People are sick 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. So they need us all the time no matter what holiday it is," said Castillo, 30, a Milford, Conn. resident.

Castillo said she probably won't be celebrating Thanksgiving with her family because her husband, a nurse in Stamford, Conn., will be leaving for a nightshift before she gets home. However, the couple both arranged to take off for their 8-month-old daughter Mila's first Christmas.

"We'll have a big Christmas. It's a great holiday and this year it will just have a whole new meaning with her there," said Castillo, who has worked at the White Plains Hospital for nearly two years.

Cecilia Villafuerte, another emergency room nurse on duty Thanksgiving, said entering the medical field was synonymous with signing up to work holidays. After working at the White Plains Hospital for 14 years, Villafuerte said she feels like she's spending Thanksgiving with her "second family."

"That's part of the job. You know working holidays is going to be part of your life," said Villafuerte, 40, a Rockland County resident whose family will start its holiday celebration when she gets home at 7 p.m. Thursday. "I have a 6-year-old, 4-year-old and 8-month-old baby, so my priority is Christmas."

The hospital will be host a free Thanksgiving dinner from 11:30 am to 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. for all staff working Thursday.

How are you celebrating Thanksgiving? Have you or anyone in your family ever had to work on Thanksgiving? Join the conversation below.

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