Nursing is undeniably a profession for the tenacious. As early as nursing school, most nurses are well aware of the challenges that accompany the job, which they welcome because confronting challenges is just one of their many abilities plus, they know the rewards of a nursing career are well worth it. But one factor nurses perhaps didn't anticipate is how a nursing shortage affects their day-to-day work.
Nurses who work on understaffed teams must take charge of many additional responsibilities. A well-deserved round of applause is in order for those nurses who can cope with the added pressures.
If you're about to enter the nursing field, or are one of many nurses taking on additional tasks, please check out the tips below for how you can stay on top of every shift, and enjoy your days off.
You come first! Nurses understand the importance of preventative care and ensuring one's personal health is maintained while caring for the health of others. Nurses are no exception!
- Get enough sleep. Most adults need seven to eight hours to fully recharge. Evaluate the worth of giving up sleep for activities like watching TV, and remember that most sleep distractions will still exist once your workweek ends.
- Eat right during your shift. If you need something quick and nutritious try fresh fruit, jerky or nuts, simple sugars and high-protein snacks. If those items don't satisfy your hunger, make meals at home and take the leftovers to work.
- Fit in exercise at work. Lunges or calf-raises are easy enough to execute as you make your way between tasks. Similarly, you can work out your arms and chest with improvised weights, such as filled water bottles, while you fill out paperwork. Get creative with new ways to reduce stress through exercise.
Stay alert! Many nurses consume beverages during shifts to help keep their energy up this can include coffee, tea, soda, or energy drinks. Many of these beverages are dehydrating, however, so be sure to drink enough water during your shift regardless of what else you drink. Some nurses take vitamins, while others simply make every effort to keep busy as a means for fighting fatigue. Consuming alertness aides is certainly a personal choice and nurses are not advised to substitute high-octane products for a good night's sleep.
Take your breaks! Plan your breaks around the times of your shift that are typically slower. If a particular task has you concerned, try to complete it before your break to avoid worrying about it. Leave your work area and make a genuine effort to catch your breath and ease your mind. Take a walk around the building or fit in a short catnap if time permits. Some nurses change their shoes and socks during a shift to help recharge their batteries. Give it a try!
Keep stress to a minimum! The onset of stress leads to hasty decision-making, a poor attitude and may even compromise patient safety. To help avoid stress during your shift, consider these tips:
- Arrive early. Get a head start by granting yourself enough time to plan your workday and orient yourself to the tasks being carried over from the previous shift.
- Review orders carefully. Taking time to review a doctor's orders can help reduce errors and confusion, which will help avoid stressful situations later.
- Know your limits. Evaluate your expertise. If the needs of a patient are outside your skillset, notify your charge nurse and ask for advice. Nurses that are open about their limitations are rightfully putting the safety of their patients first.
Enjoy yourself! Even while they work under challenging circumstances, nurses still manage to love their jobs. Many nurses get to know their patients and develop personal rapports, which provide some very fulfilling rewards amidst long, hard-working shifts.
Do you work long shifts? Please tell us in the comments section what you do to get through each shift and what you enjoy most about your work schedule.