Nurses working the night shifts have the same importance as any other nurse out there, whether working inside a clinic or a hospital. They typically take care of patients during their sleeping hours. When patients sleep in an unfamiliar environment, it makes them feel uncomfortable. A night shift nurse has to ensure that these patients feel at ease and remain as comfortable as possible during their stay.
That said, nurses usually have an option to work wherever and whenever they want. While most nurses consider working the day shift as it allows them to maintain a healthy work-life balance, some opt for night shifts.
As a nurse, you might face many challenges working the night shift, knowing how to overcome these challenges will allow you to get the most out of your work schedule. You must exercise regularly, get enough rest, and eat a healthy diet to feel recharged and energized if you want to get through your shift with ease and avoid burnout.
Listed below are a few steps that night shift nurses can incorporate into their daily routines to overcome the challenges of working late hours!
Acquire Higher Education for Career Progression
To work as a nurse, you typically need to do two things; obtain a bachelor’s or master’s in the nursing field and pass the NCLEX-RN test. In short, if you’ve earned a nursing degree from an accredited institution, it doesn’t matter if you’ve done it by sitting inside a classroom or obtained it online.
That said, going to nursing school while working the night shifts is something that every nurse dreads. Just imagine working the night shift and waking up at seven in the morning the following day to go to university- it will be challenging to do so.
Fortunately, various online msn to dnp programs out there allow aspiring night shift nurses to create a study schedule that works in their favor without ever having to worry about waking up early and traveling to a campus-based university.
For example, you could complete your night shift, get some well-deserved sleep afterward and be up and ready to attend online classes.
Adopt a Night Shift Sleep Routine
When you don’t get ample sleep every day, your professional life begins to suffer. It will be best if you create a strategy that allows you to get enough sleep. Adopting an effective sleeping routine will help you find a rhythm and ensure you are well-rested.
To adopt such a sleeping routine, set a time for when you should sleep and wake up. Also, try to avoid planning any social activities around your sleeping routine to remain consistent with it. Though you might miss out on socializing opportunities with your family and friends, following a set sleeping routine will ensure that you are well-rested and ready to get through the grueling night shift.
Always Stay Hydrated
There is no doubt that water is a vital part of any diet. When you stay hydrated, you can easily avoid fatigue and unnecessary headaches. When you drink ample amounts of water while working on the night shift, you will remain energized and perform your nursing duties efficiently. So, try to keep a water bottle on you at all times and slowly sip away whenever you feel thirsty.
That said, do not confuse thirst for hunger. So, try to stay away from that sugary treat from the vending machine. Instead, consume some water to quench your thirst.
Follow a Healthy Diet
Whether you’re at home or work, you must ensure that you follow a healthy, well-balanced diet. Incorporate healthy food choices in your meals, including food items like vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Also, please avoid using the vending machine at all costs as they contain sugary, high-calory food items that will make you feel sluggish while on the job.
Moreover, considering no cafeterias are open during the late hours, keep some healthy snacks with you. It can be anything from a few pieces of fresh fruit to your favorite energy bar.
Consume Caffeine Responsibly.
Yes, when working late hours, you will surely need your daily fix of caffeine to get through the last few hours of your shift. However, consuming too much caffeine just for the sake of staying awake will disrupt your circadian rhythm.
However, we aren’t saying that you throw away your bottle of instant coffee. Try to control your caffeine intake and keep it down to a minimum. Or consume it when necessary. A hot cup of joe will allow you to stay awake, but it can be pretty detrimental to your health in the long term.
Build Healthy Relationships at Work.
Social isolation can make any nurse feel sleepy and depressed when working late hours. To avoid the depression and sleepiness that comes with working the night shifts, try to build positive relationships with your coworkers. Doing such a thing will enable you to remain focused and get through your shift without feeling lonely.
Furthermore, workplace friendships will boost your morale and increase job satisfaction tenfold. Not to mention, someone will always be there to cover for you when you need a breather.
Many nurses prefer working late hours as it allows them to gain more work experience because there is less competition. There are also fewer distractions and disruptions from management and coworkers and shorter commute times due to less traffic.
Furthermore, competitive salaries and better employment opportunities are a few other perks of working as a night shift nurse. That said, try to focus on the positives and work at a manageable pace to achieve the benefits mentioned above.
Read More: How Nurses Are A Blessing To Society