Posted on May 4, 2016
6 Survival Tips for Night-Shift Nurses
Being a nurse requires a level of schedule flexibility, especially when starting out. You may not be able to pick your shifts and get stuck on an ever-changing day shift to night shift switch. That doesn’t always allow your body and mind to adjust to when you are supposed to be awake and alert. But there are ways to get through this challenge and eventually you will be able to have more say in your schedule. You may even end up preferring the night shift!
To help you through the night shifts, we’ve gathered a pocketful of survival tips to help you out.
- Focus on the Advantages – Yes, there are advantages. For instance, you’ll probably have a higher pay rate and slower work pace. Many nurses have also found the the night shift creates closer ties with fellow nurses on duty because there are far fewer. In addition, you must learn quick self-reliance, which could lead to a quicker promotion and picking the shifts you want!
- Don’t Rely on Hospital Food – The cafeteria might be fully stocked during the day, but there’s less chance of finding tasty food at night. Eat before your shift and bring several snacks with you in case you become hungry or need an energy snack.
- Sleep, Don’t Nap – A nap (or several naps) during the day isn’t sufficient. Your body needs to enter REM sleep. Force yourself to sleep a solid 8 hours so that you are not tired when your shift begins or (more likely) halfway through.
- Wear a Watch – The night shift can play tricks on your mind, causing you to lose track of time and miss a patient schedule for medication, etc. Always have and be checking a watch. Make it habit. Or, if you still find yourself missing things, set alarms on a digital watch.
- Decompress – After your night shift ends, your body will have a renewed jolt of energy (especially as the sun comes up). You need not sleep right away. Instead, use these hours to relax and watch recorded shows, get your kids ready for school, or do household chores. Your body will tell you when it’s time to sleep.
- Reconnect – A night shift nurse can easily lose touch with friends and family who keep a ‘normal’ day routine. Set time aside on a day off to socialize. Also, breaks are great for staying connected through social media. These options will help you maintain emotional stability.
Surviving a schedule of night shifts requires poise and planning. Just like the day shift, it also helps to have the right tools. That way, you can better establish your self-reliance. Tafford can provide all of the necessary equipment to get you through any shift. Check out our selection of stethoscopes, comfortable shoes, and best-selling clearance scrubs today!