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14 Surefire Tips To Get Through A Shift

You can make it! It’s only 12 hours.

1. Make sure you are well rested

You know your shift is going to be long and you owe it to yourself and your patients that you are well rested. Nobody wants a tired nurse. Heck, I don’t even want a tired Barista at Starbucks.

2. Start energized

We all get ready for our shift differently. The way we begin our shift can foreshadow how the next 12 long hours are going to be so we need to begin ENERGIZED. Here are some ideas: go to the gym, meditate, walk, ride a bike, or get a VENTI Vanilla Latte from Starbucks (just an idea).

3. Begin prepared with the tools you need

Make sure that you are prepared to get report and pass your first medication. Have all your tools necessary to take care of your patients. If you want to know what is recommended for a successful shift, click the link below:

5 Items Every Nurse Should Have

4. Set a goal for each patient

I’m not sure what your exact policies are at your facility but you may be required to set care plans for each of your patients before or after a shift. Please make sure you do that. But what I am referring to is different. I encourage you to set a personal and realistic goal for each patient that you can accomplish. For example, maybe a patient has been in the facility for a few days and has had bed baths but needs his/her hair washed. If possible, set aside time to do this for your patient. When setting each goal, think of a way you can make the patient’s day.

5. Wear comfortable shoes

Not having the proper footwear is one of the ways you can set yourself up for failure during a long shift. I know nurses aren’t the richest people in the world, but we do make a decent living. GO OUT AND TREAT YOUR FEET TO A NICE PAIR OF COMFORTABLE SHOES! #Shopping #Shoes

6. Eat

We make sure our patients are getting enough nutrition but we tend to forget about ourselves. We must ensure we get proper nutrition before and during our shift. Eat a nice meal before work and take another meal and snacks to work with you. Don’t forget, make healthy choices.

7. Drink water

Just do it! Stay hydrated.

8. Go to the bathroom

If you are drinking appropriate amounts of water, you should have to go to the bathroom. PLEASE DO! If you don’t have to go, no worries, just sit in there and relax or take a selfie in the mirror. Use this break!

9. Get to know your patients

Just because you know your patients name and have read their story in the chart, do you really know your patient? You have to answer this question for yourself. We can all know more about our patients, so ask them questions and engage in a healthy dialogue. This will benefit the nurse-patient relationship.

10. Take your lunch break

Please take your lunch break! Don’t clock out and continue working. Be assertive and make sure you get the lunch break that you deserve.

11. Be proactive

Try to stay ahead of the game and anticipate your patient’s needs. This will prevent you from falling behind and staying over your hours.

12. Find ways to improve your unit

I know it’s tempting to just scroll Facebook on your phone or read content on www.NurseBlake.com when your not busy but look into ways you can improve your unit. Maybe there needs to be a new process developed to improve patient care or a storage closet that needs re-organized. Use this time to show initiative and be a leader on your floor.

13. Smile

Remember to smile! I know our work is hard, difficult, and challenging. More importantly, it is rewarding. Think of the different ways you are making an impact in your patient’s life to make it through the shift.

14. Set-up the incoming nurse for success

Try your best to make sure the next nurse will have a great start to his or her shift. For example, bathe the patient, clean the room, organize the cords, give any medications that are due, and make sure the patient is prepped for any procedures that are planned. We are all nurses and we need to make sure we help each other.

 

Written by Nurse Blake

Blake is a registered nurse and received his BSN from the University of Central Florida. He has worked in a number of healthcare roles throughout his career and has managed several injury prevention programs and started Banned4Life, which ended an outdated FDA blood donor policy. Today, Blake is an advocate for nurses and patients and encourages a healthy work environment. He is a writer, public speaker, and has been a paid contributor to the New York Times.

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