How To Get Through Night Shift – Your Tips And Tricks

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Earlier this week, we shared a guide on how to survive night shift for nurses and midwives from The Nourished Shift Worker. Everyone has their own way of dealing with it and here’s some ideas from the Nurse Uncut Community, starting with a whole routine from Wendy…

Allow one hour’s work, like mowing, gardening, dog walking, catch that morning swim. Then shower and eat properly afterwards, before going to sleep. That extra hour of work is a killer when you start but after a while, the treat of a shower and good food is perfect to help get through 6 straight shifts.

I’m a productive insomniac and work 9 nights straight. On my first day off, I stay up until 10 pm then crash, waking at 6/7am. I’m now ready to revert to day mode. It’s taken me years to get used to this, as I used get away with a certain amount of no sleep… then the insomnia kicks in and I was virtually hypo-manic. Swimming is my go to as yoga didn’t help and I’m totally against hypnotics.

It’s essential to prepare decent meals in advance.

Merilyn has some good ideas and emphasises the importance of going straight to bed after a shift…

Go home wearing sunglasses, shower and go straight to bed. If you stop to shop, or play music, it wakes your brain up. Also, don’t forget, you can buy Restavit over the counter for when you are really desperate for a decent sleep, just start with a quarter of a pill. Try to stop thinking about work once you’re in bed. Darken your room, keep it cool and turn off your phone.

Here’s a simple guide from Tim that you could almost write on a business card!

During night shift, you have to keep hydrated.
Stick to easy digestible foods.
Yoghurt, fruit, salad (no oily or creamy dressings), no confectionery or soft drinks.
Sleep well after night shift.
Exercise.
Overall care for yourself as how can you care for others if you don’t care for yourself.

And one simple trick from Jayne…

After 18 years of nights.
My tip… lol
NO coffee after 3am.

Let us know if you have any secrets or tips that help you as a nurse or midwife. It can be about any problem or challenge you experience and we want to know how you overcome it. Get in touch here: nurseuncut@nswnma.asn.au

1 COMMENT

  1. I am not sure if you answered the legitimate question, ‘at what point I say a patient is too heavy to roll? A patient with spinal injuries and shoulder injuries can’t use monkey bars, how do you roll them in the first place to put them on a slide sheet or hover mat?
    A nurse I work which is only 48k I am 60k at 60 years of age; how do we ‘roll a 280k patient when 1 leg or arm is heavier than my colleague? We don’t have ICU beds in our ward that automatically roll a pt. Then
    Throw in a head hold for a spinal patient.

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