How Newly Minted Nurses Can Survive the Night Shift

Almost all nurses who are fresh out of nursing school dread the graveyard or night shift. Even veteran day shift nurses abhor working ungodly hours. For them, working the night shift sucks. But is it really that bad?

You need to reconsider your perspective about the night shift if you are to survive. Sooner or later, you will get a schedule to work at night. For a newbie nurse, it is better to know how to deal with the situation just in case.

First thing you need to do is to change your attitude towards working the night shift. It’s no use whining about your schedule since it is unlikely to be changed. Staffing assignments can be tough for managers to adjust. So you might as well get ready and look forward to having a good working experience.

You would be surprised at how the night shift can make you a better nurse in many ways. Because the pace is relatively slower, you get more time to talk to your colleagues. Take advantage of the downtime to ask the veteran nurses of your unit about a procedure or a clinical situation. Get tips and invaluable advice that will help you become more effective and efficient.

It’s not all about work of course. You also get the chance to know your colleagues on a more personal level. This fosters camaraderie, cooperation and cohesiveness. All of this is possible because of the free time during night shift which would have been scarce during the busier day shift. Just knowing that you can count on your colleagues when the going gets tough can make the night shift a lot easier. It also helps that higher-ups are not present so you can relax without anyone looking over your shoulder to watch your every move.

Another important thing is to take care of your health. Make sure you get enough sleep during the day. You will be useless if you take frequent naps at work because you are so sleepy. It can be especially tough for those just starting to work nights because the body’s circadian rhythm has not adjusted yet. Keep yourself hydrated during the night. Watch what and how you eat during graveyard shift. Vegetables and fruits are more preferable to eat than most other snacks. If you keep eating sugary foods, you will feel sluggish and sleepy. Many nurses gain weight while working during nights. Don’t be one of them.

If you find yourself nodding off, get up and take a walk in the hallway. Find something useful to do. Chat with fellow nurses or check a patient. You might be surprised at how patients can be more relaxed and more willing to open up during the night when the environment is quieter and family members are not around.

Please don’t treat the morning after work as the start of a full shopping day. Drive home safely, eat a light breakfast and hit the sack. Inform your family about your need to get uninterrupted sleep so you won’t be disturbed unless there is an emergency. Make your room conducive to sleep by drawing the curtains or using a fan to drown outside noise. Some nurses benefit from medications. Do whatever works for you best to get enough sleep.

The night shift is difficult for the unprepared mind and body. Newbie nurses can adjust and make the most out of this working condition by adopting a positive attitude, eating healthy meals at the right time, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and working closely with nursing colleagues.

Latest Posts...

An Overview of Nurse Practioner Programs and Other Advanced Degrees

Nurse Practitioner Programs

NP or nurse practioner programs are for registered nurses who would like to become advanced practice nurses or APNs. Other APNs include the CRNA, the CNS and the CNM. All of these nurses have earned master’s degreee, the difference has to do with [...]

Read the full article →

The Advantages of ADN to MSN Programs

MSN Nursing Programs

ADN to MSN programs may be the right choice if you have your associate’s degree and want to earn your master’s in the shortest period of time possible. Both full- and part-time courses are available from a variety of institutions. Full-time [...]

Read the full article →

All About DNP Programs

Doctoral Nursing Programs

Doctor of Nursing Practice or DNP programs provide the necessary education for executives in the field. It is the right career for someone who enjoys administration or research. The time necessary to complete the program is 4-6 years. So there [...]

Read the full article →

Clinical Nurse Specialist Programs Offer Many Options

Nursing Education

Clinical nurse specialist programs include the courses necessary for registered nurses to attain an advanced degree in the medical specialty of their choosing. The fields of study are numerous. Some CNSs specialize in treating specific diseases, [...]

Read the full article →

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: