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12 Survival Tips for Night Shift Nurses

12 Survival Tips for Night Shift Nurses

NursingUniforms.net

9. To ensure you sleep soundly during the day, use a sleep mask, earplugs and black out curtains. Create a ‘nighttime’ effect in your house to cheat your body into thinking that it’s indeed night and time to sleep. Regular exercise keeps your body flooded with positive hormones and makes you feel good about life. Regular exercise will also help you go to sleep naturally and deeply.

10. Don’t depend on drinks or sleeping pills to put you to sleep. This will not help your body establish normal circadian rhythms and your sleep architecture might be altered. For restful sleep, allow your body to relax, listen to soothing music and read a pleasant book. Stay away from activities that stimulate your mind or cause you anxiety, thus keeping sleep at bay.

11. Don’t drink more than a cup or two of coffee in 24 hours. Caffeine may help you get past the occasional feeling of lethargy and stimulate you, but in the long term, caffeine is addictive and disrupts your circadian rhythm. That apart, coffee is diuretic and you don’t want to wake up to pass water during your sleep time!

12. If you consistently work nights, you might not be visible to the daytime administrators who influence career advancements. Look around and see what you can do to overcome this obstruction. See if you can help daytime administrators in coordinating night schedules, orientation programs and so on. Volunteer to work as liaison with EMS and projects if that gets you noticed. The idea is to make sure your work and contributions are noticed by the powers that be so that you don’t lose out on career advancements.

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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Stanggirlrn

    about 1 month ago

    2 comments

    I completely disagree with the "slower pace" at night comment. I work in a busy ER and the pace is not slower, there are less core and ancillary staff to help, and we seldom get a break. At night the Nurse plays many roles that are filled by others during the day such as clergy, social services, dietary, transporter, phlebotomist, etc.

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    wheresjanethesedays

    5 months ago

    2 comments

    I've had dreadful problems sleeping after night shift for years. I sleep one strait stretch after I get home, but I rarely get more than 4 hours before I just can't carry on. At the moment, I'm trying the sleep patterns mentioned in this article:

    http://www.melanienightingale.com/sleep-patterns-and-night-duty/#sthash.qiYL95ik.dpbs

    The polypahsic patterns were impossible, but the Biphasic is working out great!

    Jane

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    ldyhwk

    over 3 years ago

    6 comments

    Obviously, the writer of this article have not worked the night shift... come and see for yourself!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    jgs

    over 3 years ago

    4 comments

    Look at a digital watch so I do not forget a medication? Are you serious? I also must give props to the night floor RNs, who often work with much less staffing than we do in the ICUS. Even if we are understaffed, I remember many a night of getting an admission from a floor where there were only two Rns for thirty patients and one RN had to spend most of her/his time with the patient that would then be transferred to us at three a.m.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    jgs

    over 3 years ago

    4 comments

    I have to agree with most of the comments here. This article seems to be written by someone who has not worker many, if any, night shifts. THere is little, if any, ancillary support, less pharmacy personnel, so it is harder to get stat meds up, fewer lab techs, so you cannot get lab results back as quickly, and in recent years in our ICUS the CCM fellow needs to cover more patients and has less residents. That means the nurses need to be even more self reliant.

    I may have read one of the points incorrectly, but how or when are nurses going to be able to have the time at the end of their shift, when they are more awake, to "Pay bills, make important phone calls, or check homework?" Does the author actually think this can be done at work at the end of the night shift, when you are trying to wrap everything up?

    Get eight hours of sleep? I worked nights in an ICU in Manhattan for thirty years. I would have killed for eigiht hours of sleep every day. In today's world many of us do not live near our place of employment. Accounting for rarely getting out on time due to many factors, travel time and having a few minutes to ourselves, never mind our families before or after we come home or before we go to work , eight hours is a dream. If I got six hours, it was rare. Everyone knows that "day sleep" is not the same as "night sleep."

    It may be more common today,but for years, we tried having in-services, meeting with administrators, staff meetings, etc. on our time. That does not mean at the beginning of our shift or at the end. It rarely happened.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    pokuneff

    over 3 years ago

    2 comments

    I am pretty nervous - am an older nurse and also a new grad. After 3 months of orientation, I will be starting nights tomorrow night. Sleep is tough for me regularly, so this is definitely daunting.

  • Rn_superwoman_max50

    ICU_RN

    over 3 years ago

    10 comments

    Whoever wrote this article obviously works dayshift and decided to try to invent some helpful tips for night staff. Night shift is always busy and is sometimes busier than days. There's no secretary, no tech, and no support from administration. Plus we get just as many admissions and sometimes more than dayshift and there's no secretary to put the orders in the computer or call stat consults. Also I agree that we have more codes since the floor nurses have more patients and there's less or maybe no support staff so patients are not checked on as often. A patient can be going bad and it's not discovered until it's a code. Plus that tip on not going to sleep right away when u get home is very bad advice. I guess the author thinks night shift is so slow that we couldn't possibly be tired when we get home. I don't know about anyone else but I know that I'm exhausted when I get home and I definitely go straight to bed.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    andrea_stoffels39

    over 3 years ago

    2 comments

    I have been working both day and night shifts. It is important for all nurses to understand that there are complexities encountered on both shifts. This is definately a team effort.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    IndyEm

    over 3 years ago

    2 comments

    Nights are definitely as busy (if not busier) than days. People don't realize how hard it is for patients to sleep in the hospital - it's bright and noisy night and day. Plus, night shifters get the lovely benefit of sundowners :) however, in my experience, night shift nurses are much more supportive of one another and work better as a team than day shifters. Maybe it has to do with the fact that there isn't as much support available to them - they know they have to rely on each other.

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