We can almost guarantee that if you are a nurse, you have had to pull in double shifts at least once. Double shifts can be draining both physically and mentally. Often, healthcare workers begin to feel demotivated to work and begin to experience signs of burnout. If this is the case, then don’t stress! Today we’ll be offering some top tips on working a double shift to avoid such things from happening. These tips include:
● Sustain Yourself
● Have a Good Night’s Rest
● Take Small Moments for Yourself
● Support Your Staff & Be Friendly
● Comfort is Key
● Keep Yourself Busy
● Your Next Steps
Being fueled with nutritional food and hydrated with fluids is a very important step. Like a car that needs fuel to run, we need sustenance to energise ourselves and get through the busy working period. We encourage you to make sure you eat a balanced meal when your double shift is coming and try to cover foods from all sectors of the food pyramid. We know a few of our nurses are guilty for indulging in a cheeky coffee or two (or five!), but it’s important to limit your caffeine intake too. Whilst consuming more cups of coffee may energise you and give you a good buzz for an hour or two, it won’t last and will likely lead to burnout & great bouts of fatigue. Taking things in moderation is key so a cup of coffee or two a week will be more than sufficient. There are also many healthy alternatives available for consumption including hot teas which are arguably a great way to start your day!
Have a Good Night’s Rest
Who loves sleep? We certainly do and for good reasons too! A good night’s rest makes you alert and ready to take on the day. It can also lower the risk of health problems and improve your overall mood (which makes for an enjoyable shift). Especially for all healthcare workers that have double shifts lined up, with enough sleep you will be energised and your productivity will be increased. The average amount of sleep for adults in Australia is about 7-8 hours. If you are working the night shift, then the sam rules still apply. Whatever hours you miss during the night should be made up for in the daytime. We understand that finding time for adequate sleep (especially as a nurse) can be difficult, but we implore you to find moments of rest when you can.
Take Small Moments for Yourself
When you are stressed, it is very important to take a step back and take a break – even if it’s only for 10 minutes. Throughout your double shift, you are constantly interacting with patients & staff, and there aren’t many moments where you can check in on your wellbeing. With tough deadlines too, many healthcare workers don’t often take advantage of their break times leading to high levels of stress & burnout. Perhaps check in with yourself once every 2 hours and ask yourself if you’re feeling ok. One of the best methods to destress is by finding a quiet corner, taking a deep breath and partaking in moments of peace & mindfulness to soothe your mind. Some other methods could be going outside for a light walk & fresh air, taking a nap during your break time, and refueling during your shift by eating some good food.
Support Your Staff & Be Friendly
Lean on your colleagues for support and be friendly to one another. As an agency nurse, you have tendencies to jump around to different facilities. This means you will be interacting with a wide range of people. Networking is very important and gives you a chance to make yourself known and offer help to everyone you meet. You never know, different facilities may offer you more work since they may regard you as reliable and supportive to all staff and patients. Supporting your staff is also very important in boosting morale and increasing work culture. You motivate yourself to keep returning to work and may create lifelong friendships along the way which will make those long double shifts go by in a flash.
Comfort is Key
Comfort truly is key and can be the difference between having a productive shift as opposed to one that could feel never-ending. Having the correct footwear can ensure that your feet are comfortable and you’ll be able to stay on your feet – plain black runners are your best friend! Changing your footwear mid shift can also be helpful in relieving overworked areas and relaxing your foot muscles. Speaking of comfort, being on your feet all day certainly is not, so when the opportunity arises, find a comfortable seat and give your feet a rest, even if it’s only for a few minutes, this can make a big difference.
Keep Yourself Busy
Whether it’s catching up on your paperwork, or checking in with your patients, it’s always important to maintain your work to keep yourself busy. Maintaining a productive mindset and good work ethic is more likely to keep you alert than lazing around and waiting for your shift to end. By staying on the move, you lessen the chance of fatigue setting in. You may be surprised, but when you put your head into the work and get the job done then time will fly and before you know it, the double shift will be over! You should always assist your fellow healthcare workers if they appear too busy. Sharing a workload will result in companionship and productivity too. If you happen to run out of work, then always report back to your supervisors – as a healthcare worker, the work never ends.
Your Next Steps
The next time you have long hours lined up, or you get approached by your supervisor to work a few extra hours, we hope you find our tips helpful and consider the extra work. We certainly hope these tips will help combat the fatigue & burnout you may be facing, and instead create an enjoyable workplace and fun double shift!
Disclaimer: The advice provided in this article is general in nature. For more information relating to your specific circumstances, please get in touch with us.
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