Working the night shift in the healthcare industry can be a real challenge. This is because it involves staying awake all throughout the night, and oftentimes, completing very difficult and stressful work during these late hours. It also goes against the body’s natural rhythms, which can be very uncomfortable.
Here are some great tips for how to survive the night shift in healthcare.
1. Make sure you get enough sleep during the day
If you are going to stay up late working the nightshift, it is crucial that you get enough sleep during the day. This means that you really have to block out 7-9 hours during the day when you can have interrupted sleep. You may need to tell your roommates or family members not to disturb you during this time, so you can make sure that you get quality sleep.
If you are struggling to achieve alertness during your nightshift, then coffee or caffeine can help you to obtain it. However, you need to make sure that you consume it earlier into your shift, otherwise you may struggle to sleep when you get home. Healthcare scheduling often involves many nightshifts, and if you are booked for regular nightshifts, you can’t afford to be jacked up on caffeine when you are trying to sleep after your shift.
Even if your company’s healthcare scheduling has resulted in you having to work all through the night, you may be able to take one or two naps during your shift. You might be able to squeeze in a nap or two if there is a lull or a period with considerably less activity. Even a ten or fifteen-minute nap can be extremely helpful.
4. Remember that you probably won’t have to work the night shift forever
Healthcare staffing often involves rotations. So, there is a very good chance that your night shifts are temporary, and that you will probably get to rotate to a better shift some day. Remembering the temporary nature of healthcare staffing can help you stay motivated during the difficult periods of your nightshift.
5. Talk to your coworkers
Talking with your coworkers during your shift can help you to keep up morale and energy levels. You can encourage each other and keep each other motivated during the long and difficult shifts.