Many nurses dread the night shift, but everyone has to do it every once and a while. However, when your sleep pattern is suited to normal hours, this can be a difficult time to work, and if you have to get up the next day and do it all over again, even the most veteran nurses can struggle. Here are a few ways that you can survive the long night, as a nurse.
Know Your Enemy When emergencies are taking place left, right, and centre, your number one enemy is always going to be fatigue. Make sure that you get as much sleep as you can before your shift, even if that just means lying in and having a long afternoon nap. Invest in blackout curtains for sleeping during the day, and lay off the caffeine until your night shift. If reading a good book makes you sleepy, let Thomas Hardy or Jane Austen lull you off to the land of nod. The more sleep you can get, the better your shift will be.
Keep Hydrated And Stocked Up On Slow Releasing Food Another force of evil that will work against you: hunger and dehydration. Keep yourself fuel led and watered throughout your shift. If you’re tired, it will only be exacerbated by not looking after yourself. Cereal bars are a great pick me up. If you have to do a lot of walking around, you will want healthy snacks and water.
Have Your Tools To Hand You can do your shopping at online retailers such as Color4care to keep to hand all of the necessary equipment, including essential pieces such as your nurse watch, stethoscope, pens, clipboards, etc. You’ll need to know exactly where all of these items are, should something happen on your night’s watch. They will keep you organised and efficient.
Get A Great Handover Make sure that you know exactly what has gone on with your patients when you were away. Of course, let the other, weary colleague go home as soon as possible, but get as much information as you can out of them (without keeping them for too long), so you can get your bearings. This will reduce the chance of anything unfortunate happening on your watch.
Don’t Get Lonely Although it sometimes feels as though you’re the only one there, you’re certainly not. Give someone else working a helping hand, and they’ll probably return the favour. Teamwork is really important at night, especially as this can be some of the busiest times, and it will provide you with some much-needed human interaction.
Take Public Transport Home When it comes to going home, try to take public transport back, if you can. Driving when you’re overtired and emotional increases your chances of being an accident. To stay safer, talk things over with your colleague during your handover, as something may have had an upsetting impact, and talking about it often helps. If you have to drive home, be aware of your condition and be safe. Don’t be afraid to take small breaks on the commute home.