Nursing can be a very demanding job, especially with the added workload of overnight shifts. Taking up a night shift nursing job can be very challenging particularly when you are doing it for the first time.
According to a study, 85.7% of nurses faced patient security issues and 93.6% encountered physiological consequences such as weight gain and fatigue when they worked at night.
Night shifts aren’t an easy feat which is why in this article we will talk about how you can prepare for night shifts as a nurse.
Here are the 6 tips that we will be discussing in detail:
- Follow a proper sleep schedule
- Prepare your family for the new schedule
- Develop a positive relationship with your coworkers
- Stay active
- Stay hydrated
- Eat healthy food
Although some nurses like working in the quiet conditions of the night when the patients are sleeping and the hospital is comparatively less busy.
Tip # 1 – Follow A Proper Sleep Schedule
Staying up at night goes against the natural working of the sleep schedule. It can get very difficult to adapt to an entirely different sleep pattern. In such a case, Patience is key, you have to give yourself time to adapt to these new conditions.
Sleep should be a priority at home. And you should learn to train your body on how to fall asleep quickly and for long periods. At the same time, you must follow the same sleep schedule on weekends and your days off because otherwise, it may become more challenging for your body.
To be able to function well try to get 7-9 hours of sleep and avoid staying for a period longer than 12 hours because it can be tiring.
Tip #2 – Prepare Your Family For The New Schedule
It is not only going to be a challenge for you but also for your family. They will also have to adjust to your new working hours, your new sleep schedule, and the odd hours that you will be getting back home.
You can plan and schedule meals such as breakfast that you can enjoy together. Further, establish the times when you are unavailable and need to catch up on your sleep. You must prepare your family for the challenges of night shift nursing because family support can positively impact your mental and physical health.
Tip #3 – Develop A Positive Relationship With Your Coworkers
It can be greatly beneficial if you have a healthy work environment. You have to build relationships with the people you are going to work with because working a night shift means you will need people to have your back.
Having a positive relationship with your coworker could mean you will have someone step up and help you out when you are struggling. To ensure that things run smoothly, good communication between the working staff and bonding amongst them will help make the night shift a success.
Irrespective of the time of the day you are working, a healthy working environment always benefits every individual. Night shifts especially include less interaction with patients and their family so it will be great if you make friends at your workplace so you don’t get bored and have a positive mindset.
Tip #4 – Stay Active
At night we all tend to be a lot lazier and generally when you are sleepy you must stay on your feet to counter the tiredness and sleepiness. Moving and staying active releases adrenaline which helps in staying awake.
Avoid doing monotonous and tedious tasks because boredom will make you sleepy and feel fatigued. To stay active and avoid feeling fatigued try doing some exercise or walking around or even listening to some music to keep your mind fresh.
Also with more time on your hand at night, you could try to get some extra work done to relieve the nursing staff taking over for the day shift when things tend to get busier.
Tip #5 – Stay Hydrated
It is necessary to monitor your health when you are working odd hours at work. Drinking ample amounts of water should be on your night shift checklist because otherwise, you will tire easily. For your mind and body to function properly they need water.
Therefore you should always have a water bottle in hand.
Instead of having caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee for bursts of energy, you should prefer having water only. Caffeinated drinks will only provide bursts of energy for a short time, and you will be tired once its effects wear off. This is why water is your best solution even though it means you will have to visit the bathroom often.
Tip #6 – Eat Healthy Food
What nurses eat during the night shift impacts their performance during the night. Because in a similar way to caffeine some foods and snacks only energize your body for a short while and end up making you feel tired and sleepy. Instead of having huge servings of food, a sustainable approach would be to eat in smaller yet frequent amounts.
Eat well-balanced healthy meals such as salads and nuts. Avoid eating carbs and sugar-heavy foods because they make you tired. Have nutritious foods because they will help you stay active and alert during your night shifts.
Night shifts aren’t easy and despite preparing to your best extent for them, there will still be many challenges you will have to face. The key is to be patient and remain steadfast because giving up easily does no one any favors.
Some challenges will be harder to overcome than others but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Believe in yourself and work hard. If you have properly prepared for the night shift of nursing you are likely to feel comparatively less anxious and nervous.
Working night shifts as a nurse is nothing out of the world so stop thinking about it like that and half of your problems will be solved by having such a mindset. Many people work night shifts and have experienced situations similar to yours. So don’t pity yourself, rather make most of what you have!