Are you one of those who are dreading nursing in the night shift? Well, there's no need to be scared.
We can't deny that working night shifts can be extremely challenging for new nurses, but it also comes with its fair share of advantages as well. If you are struggling, here are a few tips that will make it easier to adjust.
The Pros of Working During Night Shift
There is a huge demand for nurses who are willing to work night shifts. Thereby, working when the entire world is asleep will give you an edge over others in an interview. It is believed that new nurses who have graduated recently may get their desired specialty or position if they are willing to work at night.
Those nurses who are working at night may get a shorter work week or 13-hour shifts. Moreover, there is also a difference in terms of the compensation for night or weekend nurses.
For nurses who work at night generally avoid distractions and the shift is also slow paced. This way, these nurses get to spend more time with their patients and are able to administer better care. Moreover, the imaging department, labs and technicians are likely to respond faster to them.
Similarly, many nurses enjoy the autonomy that comes with being a nurse working in the night shift.
The Downside of Working During Night Shift
Working in the night shift can have adverse effect on the physical and mental wellbeing. If your sleep schedule is compromised, your natural circadian clock gets affected. This may lead to weight gain, heart disease and insomnia. Moreover, working in night shifts may affect your social wellbeing as most people work during the day.
The way you adjust to the night shift depends primarily on your preparation, determination and attitude.
Tips To Survive Night Shifts as a Nurse
- Understand that this will be a major lifestyle change for you and your loved ones. Your family and friends need to understand that they may get to see less of you on days you are working. Moreover, you will also have to work on your sleeping pattern. This also needs to be communicated so that nobody disturbs you. All in all, you will be required to get everyone on board with your adjustments so that you don't compromise on your social relationships.
- You need to sleep properly. Make sure to get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep within a 24 hours timespan so that you don't compromise on your overall health and wellbeing. Don't consume caffeine at least 4 hours prior to bedtime. Also, you can create an environment that encourages a sound sleep such as ear plugs, facemasks or blacking out the room. Make sure to shut down all electronic appliances that can hinder sleep and do not rely on alcohol or pills to make you drowsy.
- Eat well in order to avoid gastrointestinal issues like constipation, bloating, heartburn and nausea - try to eat a full or almost full mean before your shift is about to commence. This will be similar to having your breakfast as it will serve as your first meal of the day. In order to avoid feeling lazy, try to eat high fiber and protein diet cutting on the carbs. Moreover, you should restrict your caffeine intake to two cups a day. In order to overcome the hunger pangs, you can also pack snacks that keep you full.
- Keep yourself hydrated by keeping a stainless-steel water bottle that keeps water warm or cold in close proximity. It is recommended to consume at least 12 ounces of water to avoid fatigue.
- Make sure that you know that all nurses adapt differently. It is certainly not in your DNA hence give it some time for your body to adjust to the changes. Do not try to rush into things rather give it time.
There is no doubt that nursing is a difficult profession, where night shifts are a burden. However, by staying aware of the ways you can make your night shifts merrier, you can make the process easier and rewarding