It’s not unusual for nurses to work 12-hour shifts. Working such long hours can seem daunting to some, but with a few tips and tricks, you can minimise stress between shifts and focus on giving your all to your work. To have a less stressful shift, we suggest following our tips to help prepare for your shift.
Get Adequate Amount of Sleep
It is important for you to make sleep a priority at home. You might think you only need five or six hours of sleep per night – you have been doing it your whole life, right? The problem is that there is no getting around the importance of sleep to function effectively – a lack of sleep can add up to physical and mental health issues and it affect your job satisfaction.
To make sure you get the best quality of sleep, make sure you take measures to create an environment conducive for sleep by using curtains that darken the room or block out the sunlight if necessary.
Digital devices disrupt sleep and phones, tablets, and TVs emit blue light can interfere with your circadian rhythm and keep you awake. Make sure you switch off digital devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime and other things that might make disruptive noises such as the doorbell.
Get in the Right Mindset
It is paramount that you stay positive before your shift to have enough energy to get through all the tasks. Remember to eat a good breakfast (or dinner if you’re working a night shift) and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. If you have time, squeeze in a quick walk to wake up your body and mind.
Get Active to Stay Alert
Many nurses are familiar with the feeling of fatigue and drowsiness that creeps in after a long shift. Engaging in exercise is a great way to fight sleepiness. Staying active during breaks is an effective way to boost your energy levels; anything from taking a walk outside or climbing a few flights of stairs can help.
If you often find yourself running on autopilot mode during a shift, be sure to take a look at our blog on mindfulness for nurses.
Get in a Weekly Routine of Chores
In most cases, you should know your shifts long enough in advance to plan the chores that need completing each week.
Make a list of tasks you want to accomplish each week – a normal list might include things like washing up, laundry, cleaning the house, grocery-shopping, and meal-prepping. You should also make the most of the time before and after a shift to take care of errands while you are already out, to have more time for weekly chores and time for yourself.
Get Home Safely
Getting through a shift doesn’t only pertain to the time you spend in the workplace: it extends to what you do after your shift ends.
Did you know that almost 20% of road accidents are caused by or at least in some way linked to driver fatigue? Next time you finish a 12-hour shift, ask yourself if you’re really in the right frame of mind to be driving your 30-minute commute home. Even if the sun is out when you’re leaving work, drowsiness can be a problem, so you may need to call a friend of a family member to arrange a lift, carpooling with another nurse when possible or catching a bus instead.
Get in Touch
If you’d like to find out more on how we can help you fit your lifestyle around your work schedule, head to our contact page now or send us a message.