3 Helpful Tips For Parents Working The Night Shift

3 Helpful Tips For Parents Working The Night Shift

*This post may contain affiliate links.  You can find our disclosure page here.  

Written by Adela Ellis, RN, BSN

Working the night shift is never easy.   Add a kid or two into the mix and it becomes even that much more difficult.

Life can be challenging for working parents, even in the best of circumstances and working night shifts is no exception.  Raising kids when you are sleep deprived is challenging at best, and it’s often challenging to find someone who can take care of your children while you’re on the clock.

There are perks, though. For example, nurses are usually paid more per hour when they work nights instead of days, and working nights means that you’ll have more time to spend with your family during the day.  There is even some evidence that working the night shift can benefit the parent-child relationship.

Plus, the lines at the grocery store tend to be really short first thing in the morning when night shift workers are heading home. 

If you are a parent and you are struggling with how to make working the night shift work, you’ve come to the right place.  Keep scrolling to discover three tips for parents working the night shift.

Night Shift Nurse Tip #1:  Prioritize Self-Care

Woman Running

Night shift nurse tip #1: prioritize self-care

As a parent, you probably put your kids’ needs ahead of your own pretty much all the time. But it’s important to remember that you need to take care of yourself too.  Self-care is important for everyone, and it is even more important for nurses who work the night shift.

Working the night shift can take a serious toll on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

As humans, we are naturally programmed to be awake during the day and asleep at night. Working the night shift means fighting against one of your body’s most basic instincts, and it’s not easy.

To minimize the negative effects of working nights, you need to make self-care a priority.  Make sure you get plenty of sleep each day, maintain a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, and pamper yourself once in a while.

Set boundaries with family members (including your children) to ensure that you are able to get the rest you need. Don’t feel guilty about saying “no” to afternoon playdates if you need to sleep. If you want to be the best version of yourself, both at home and at work, you need to make taking care of yourself a top priority.

Even choosing the right clothing to wear to work can be a part of your self-care. Invest in quality scrubs that you will feel great wearing. Keep in mind that you’re likely to get chilly during the night and make sure you have a few nice scrub jackets in your closet. Invest in high-quality nursing shoes that won’t leave you feeling fatigued just a few hours into your shift. When you feel your best in cute nurse scrubs and comfy footwear, it’s a lot easier to make it through your shift with a smile on your face.

Additional recommended reading:  

Night Shift Nurse Tip #2:  Find an Amazing Babysitter

babysitter taking care of kids for night shift working mom

Tip #2 for working the night shift with a family: find an amazing babysitter

If you and your partner work opposite shifts, having someone to watch the kids while you are at work might not be a problem. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that you won’t need someone to watch them during the day too. You may get home first thing in the morning and not need to return to work until later that night, but you need that time to get some rest. 

Plenty of parents think that they can work at night and take naps throughout the day when the kids are asleep, but that very rarely works out. You might not need a sitter if your kids are in school during the day, but, if you have little ones at home, a good sitter is a must.

Find someone that you can depend on to watch your kids on a consistent schedule. You need between seven and nine hours of sleep each day (roughly), so make sure you choose a sitter who is available for enough hours each day to enable you to get some much-needed sleep. Consider sending your kids to daycare or choosing a sitter who can watch them in their home. This will help minimize the noise in your home and allow you to rest without worrying about why your little one is crying or being woken up by random noises throughout the day.

Night Shift Nurse Tip #3:  Learn to Embrace the Night Shift

Nurse working the night shift and smiling

Working night shift with a family tip #3: embrace the night shift

For most parents, one of the hardest parts of working the night shift is knowing that you’ll have to miss out on things like family get-togethers and school events. A big part of your kids’ lives will happen when you are asleep, and that can be a really tough thing to accept. If you want to successfully navigate working the night shift as a parent, though, you are going to have to learn how to embrace it.

Instead of thinking about the negatives, consider the positives. You’ll make more money and be able to pay off debt faster or surprise your kids with special treats. You’ll get to provide better care for your patients and build stronger relationships with your coworkers.

In addition, you won’t have to deal with things like grocery shopping during the hours when most of the world is awake. Your nonstandard schedule may even enable you to spend more time with your kids.

The Bottom Line For Parents Working The Night Shift

As a parent, you want what’s best for your kids. Often, that means doing things that you don’t really want to do––like working the night shift––in order to provide a better life for them. Working nights isn’t always easy, but there are things that you can do to face the challenges head-on and be a great employee and parent. Use the tips listed above to make life as a night-shift working parent happier and healthier for you.

Additional recommended reading: 

About the author:   Adela Ellis is a full-time nurse and part-time ambassador for Infinity Scrubs. Adela attended the University of Arizona and has been a travel nurse for the last 6 years. She enjoys working with different doctors, nurses, and patients from all over the country and blogging about her experiences. In her free time, she loves true-crime podcasts and cooking for friends and family. 

7 Helpful Tips For Compassion Fatigue In Nursing

7 Helpful Tips For Compassion Fatigue In Nursing

*This post about compassion fatigue in nursing may contain affiliate links.  You can find our disclosure page here.

I first realized that I was experiencing compassion fatigue as a nurse after only two years in the profession.

That’s correct.  After only TWO YEARS, I was already feeling overstressed, exhausted, and cynical about my career.

When my mind finally wrapped itself around this understanding, I thought I’ve barely graduated with my BSN, and I’m ALREADY burned out? How am I going to continue in the nursing profession for an entire career?  

I was frustrated, confused, and, to be honest, a little heartbroken.  I was passionate about helping others, and I did enjoy the mental stimulation that I got as a nurse.  But I couldn’t figure out how there were nurses on our unit who had been doing the same thing for the last 5, 10 or even 20 years.  Didn’t they feel the same way?

Lately, I have spoken with a lot of nurses about their experiences with compassion fatigue. The truth of the matter is that most, if not all, nurses feel spent and exhausted at some point throughout their careers.

What is compassion fatigue in nursing?

Simply put, compassion fatigue is the gradual lessening of compassion over time due to extreme caregiver stress and overwork.  Compassion fatigue in nursing is also almost always tied to the chronic stress that comes with working 12-hour shifts, which can be very physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging, even on a good day.

Unfortunately, compassion fatigue is prevalent in the nursing profession.  But with awareness and the willingness to make a change, it is possible to overcome this chronic, stressful state and learn to thrive within your nursing career again.

Here are seven tips to help deal with compassion fatigue in nursing:

 1.  Find a better work-life balance

Are you rotating days and nights?   Constantly working overtime?   Or maybe just working too many hours per week?

That may work for a while, but it is not a very good long term plan.  Everyone needs a break, especially nurses.

Consider taking a vacation (or stay-cation) and plan a few solid days of  “me” time.  A little TLC can go a long way.   You simply can’t continue to take good care of others before taking care of yourself first.

Becoming a per diem nurse helped me find a better work-life balance.  What can you do to help balance your life?

2.  Make your health the #1 priority

One of the best things a nurse can do to help prevent nurse burnout is to take good care of themselves.  Often this notion is counter-intuitive to nurses because the nature of their job is to put others’ needs in front of their own continually.  Ask yourself, what do I need to be healthy?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Take a yoga class or join a gym.
  • Make sure you plan for your 12-hour shifts, so you have healthy snacks while you are at work.
  • Get at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep before a shift.
  • Try meditation or just sit alone with your eyes closed for 10 minutes during your lunch break.
  • Create a calming environment (at work or home) with a stress-relieving essential oil such as Lavender.

3.  Find the “why” in your compassion fatigue

What is it that is causing you to feel compassion fatigue?  Try writing your thoughts down at the end of a few shifts to help figure out what is overwhelming you.

Is there a pattern?    Perhaps you need to plan your shifts differently.  Are there a few personalities in your workplace that you are not jiving with?

Or, maybe you just are not inspired by your chosen specialty.  Permit yourself to be brutally honest.  If a change is what you need, then make a change.

Additional recommended reading:

 

4.  Challenge yourself

Are you under-challenged at work?  There are so many ways to challenge yourself as a nurse:

  • Become a certified nurse in your specialty (or a completely new specialty!)
  • Take on a charge nurse role.
  • Be a preceptor to novice nurses in your unit.
  • Take on additional committee roles.
  • Attend a nurse conference.
  • Change your nursing specialty.
  • Consider advancing your nursing degree.

5. Surround yourself with positive support

Compassion fatigue and nurse burnout are so common among nurses.  Left unchecked, they can lead to mistakes, unhappiness, or even depression.

Share your nursing compassion fatigue struggles with a close comrade from work who can empathize with your effort.   If that doesn’t help, consider talking to a trusted mentor, a therapist, or find a career coach that can help you work your way out of nurse burnout.

Nurses are self-giving creatures by nature, but we must give to our own needs as well.  Crawl out of your shell and start talking it out.

6. Find an outlet

What do you do on your days off that may you happy?  If you don’t have a stress-relieving outlet, then its time to find one.

Is your inner artist craving a creative outlet, such as painting, designing, or even scrapbooking? Does a day on the golf course or an afternoon on the tennis court bring you joy?  Maybe you have been so busy that you have forgotten how wonderfully distracting it can be to become enveloped into an activity that you love to do.

Research has shown that finding a joyful outlet can enhance your mood, increase energy, lower stress levels, and even make your immune system stronger. Find out what makes you happy outside of the nursing profession.

7. Consider new options

Do don’t have to stay in the same place throughout your entire career.  If fact, one of the greatest benefits of becoming a nurse is that there are so many types of nursing careers out there.

Have an honest discussion with yourself about your career.   Are you a med/Surg nurse who has always dreamed of working in the ICU?  Or maybe you are an ER nurse with interest in becoming a flight nurse.  A change in specialty might be what you need to tackle your compassion fatigue as a nurse.

On another note, nurses don’t have to work in a hospital.   Perhaps working in a dermatology office or as a home healthcare nurse would be a better fit. There are so many nursing careers to choose from.   The sky is the limit.  Find your passion!

Additional recommended reading:

8 Jobs For Nurses Who Don’t Want To Be Nurses Anymore (2020)

8 Jobs For Nurses Who Don’t Want To Be Nurses Anymore (2020)

Once a nurse, always a nurse.  But what if you have come to the conclusion that you don’t actually want to work as a nurse anymore?

Even though you don’t want to practice nursing at the bedside anymore, it doesn’t mean that you lose the RN title after your name.

After all, you struggled through nursing school.  You worked your tail off as a new grad to learn challenging nursing skills along-side your peers.

In fact, you may have already spent many years in the profession, working on several different units, while adding new specialties and certifications to your resume along the way.

Most importantly, you have helped humankind and even saved lives.

But now you are starting to feel it’s time to move on.  And it really shouldn’t be a surprise  – nurses are burning out at a rate unparalleled to any other profession.

(This post may contain affiliate links.   Read our disclosure page for more information.)

coll career alternatives for nurses

For me, it started after having my own children and realizing that I wanted more flexibility in my life that a traditional nursing career can’t offer me at this time.  In fact, I speak with mothers all the time who are looking for alternative ways to practice nursing so that they can be more present for their children at home…  and finally stop working 12-hour shifts!

My point is that you will always be an RN.   And the best part of being a nurse: your skills are highly transferable.  There are many different ways to practice nursing…   What will your next nursing pathway be?

I don’t want to be a nurse anymore…   What else can I do?

There was one aspect of the nursing profession that appealed to me when I was considering becoming a nurse as a second career: flexibility.  There are so many pathways that nurses can take outside of the hospital setting.  Now it’s time to take those critical thinking skills and apply them in a new direction!

After all, nurses are lifelong learners by nature.  Taking on a new job away from the bedside can be an exciting adventure.  Where will you end up next?  Have you ever considered looking for a way to use your nursing degree working for a corporation, or as a nurse entrepreneur?

If the answer is YES, then you may be ready to embark upon a new nursing career journey.  It is time to open up your mind to new nursing jobs away from the bedside.

8 Awesome Nursing Jobs Away From The Bedside

#1.  Medical Device Sales Representative

Sales person shaking hands with doctor

Alternative nurse job #1: medical device salesperson

Medical device sales representatives are sales experts who sell medical equipment to hospitals, surgery centers, or physician offices.  Their job is to detail the unique features and benefits of their products and work as a liaison between the device company and the client.

Many medical device sales representatives spend time in hospital operating rooms teaching physicians and staff on how to use their company’s products.  However, many sales reps sell products directly to hospital units as well.

If you have an outgoing personality, a bulldog attitude and enjoy meeting hospital and office staff around your city, this may be an excellent fit for you! It’s a lot of hard work- but medical device reps often make a high salary to match the stress.

Also, many medical device companies hire “clinical nurse specialists” to work as educators for specific products. CNS’s travel to business accounts and do in-services.  That is a great way to get your foot in the door as a medical device sales representative when you have a clinical background as a nurse.

How to get a job in medical device sales:

  • MedReps
  • Work with a medical device headhunter
  • Network on Linkedin
  • Polish up your resume and upload online to jobs boards

#2.  Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

Pharmaceutical Sales Professional

Alternative nurse job #2: pharmaceutical sales representative

Pharmaceutical sales is very similar to medical device sales. However, pharmaceutical reps sell drugs, not devices.  (Although there are some companies who have reps that sell both).  Pharma reps provide drug information and product samples to physicians. Also, pharmaceutical reps monitor prescribing patterns of physicians within a specific geographical territory.

Pharma reps go door-to-door and meet physicians who work in specialties that may be interested in prescribing their products.  For example, a drug rep who sells a medication for atrial fibrillation would focus on selling drugs to cardiologists.

To be successful in pharmaceutical sales (much like medical device sales), you need to have a go-get-em’ attitude and an outgoing personality.  There is a lot of talking involved in pharmaceutical sales for things such as educational events, in-services, and in-servicing to clients.

How to get a job in pharmaceutical sales:

  • MedReps
  • Work with a pharmaceutical headhunter
  • Network on Linkedin
  • Polish up your resume and upload online

#3.  Nurse Freelance Writer

freelance writer typing on laptop at home

Alternative nurse jobs #3: nurse freelance writer

Do you enjoy writing?  Nurse freelance writers write about healthcare topics and work on a self-employed basis.  Most nurse freelance writers are independent business owners who manage their work right out of their own homes.

As a freelancer, your clients hire you to write articles, and you are generally paid per writing assignment or a group of writing assignments.  Nurse freelance writers often have clients with recurring projects that they pay for on a per diem basis.

There are many different types of nurse freelance writing, depending on what you want to do, such as:

  • Ghostwriter-  write under a client’s name (not your name) for blog posts, eBooks, or webpages.
  • Freelance blogger-  write blog posts for other healthcare bloggers.
  • Content writer-  write for various websites and online magazines.

How to be a nurse freelance writer:

  • The Savvy Scribe Podcast:  One way to get started as a beginner nurse freelance writer is to learn from other nurses who have made the transition.  Listening to the Savvy Scribe podcast with Janine Kelback and Carol Bush is a great way to start learning how to be a nurse freelance writer when you already have a busy schedule.

#4.  Nurse Blogger

Jobs for nurses who don't want to be nurses anymore: Nurse blogger

Alternative nurse job #4: nurse blogger

Nurse bloggers generally create and manage a website where they have a specific nursing niche they write about.  For example, I am a nurse mom blogger who writes about working mom & nurse lifestyle topics – things I have directly dealt with myself as a working mother.  Over time you can grow an audience that is interested in the topics you like to write about.

Advertising, affiliate links, and creating & selling products are a few of the ways that bloggers make money.  In general, bloggers have to start their work as a side hustle for many months or years before they start making an income. It’s more of a long game – you can start it as a side hustle, or work as a per-diem nurse until you get things moving along.

How to be a nurse blogger:

Health Media Academy:  Health Media Academy is a company managed by two very experienced nurse influencers:  Brittany Wilson and Kati Kleber.  They help nurses harness the power of social media, blogging, and other methods of online influence to create an audience of your own as a nurse blogger.

In addition to influencing positive change on the healthcare blogging front, Health Media Academy aims to promote wealth-building strategies and business-focus for healthcare influencers, all while maintaining the dignity and integrity of their profession.  Check out their nurse Blogger 101 course!

#5.  Legal Nurse Consultant

legal nurse consultant at work

Alternative nurse job #5: legal nurse consultant

Legal nurse consulting is an excellent job for nurses who don’t want to be nurses anymore – but still want to utilize the knowledge they have learned while working in patient care.

Legal nurse consultants analyze and evaluate the facts and testimony in legal cases as it relates to the delivery of nursing and other healthcare services.  Often, LNC’s analyze cases involving injuries and other medical-legal situations.  These nurse experts must have strong experience and education in the healthcare setting, and act as expert witnesses in legal matters.

LNC’s clinically analyze and evaluate facts and testimony related to the delivery of nursing and other healthcare services and outcomes.  They also analyze and review the nature and cause of injuries in legal cases.

Many LNC’s are entrepreneurs and start their own legal nurse consulting businesses.  This means you should have a self-starter attitude and be willing to hustle to get your business up and running.

Legal nurse consultants’ responsibilities vary depending on the employer and often include:

  • Attending medical reviews by independent medical exams
  • Testifying in court as an expert witness
  • Reviewing cases to identify strengths and weaknesses
  • Preparing chronologies or timelines for medical records
  • Working with lawyers to plan healthcare litigation
  • Drafting legal documents in medical cases under the guidance of an attorney
  • Educating attorneys and paralegals about healthcare issues, and nurses as it relates to legal situations

And although certification isn’t necessarily a requirement for working as a legal nurse consultant, many employers prefer to work with nurses who hold a certification from the American Legal Nurse Consultant Certification Board (ALNCC).

#6.  Lactation Consultant

Mother with newborn baby

Alternative nurse job #6: lactation consultant

If you believe that breastfeeding is an essential start to babies life and want to help develop the bond between mothers and babies, then becoming a lactation consultant might be a fantastic next career step for you!  Especially if you have had your own experiences with breastfeeding and want to share both your clinical knowledge and personal experience as a breastfeeding mother.  Breastfeeding can be a highly personal and emotional experience – helping a new baby get a positive start in life could be a very fulfilling and exciting career.

What a lactation consultant does:

  • Helps mom and baby develop a healthy bond
  • Shows mom what a good latch looks like
  • Helps position the baby correctly for feeding
  • Performs weight checks with the baby to assess sufficient intake
  • Offers emotional support to breastfeeding mothers

Lactation consultant’s work can work in hospitals, for private businesses, and even for themselves.  They do both individual appointments and classes for larger groups.

#7.  Nurse Health Coach

women working out

Alternative nurse job #7: nurse health coach

Nurse health coaches can actualize their patient’s healthcare goals outside of the hospital setting by helping them develop the healthiest version of themselves.  By teaching patients how to take optimal care of themselves and holding them accountable, the nurse health coach can inspire clients to achieve even greater results.

Nurse health coaches work with patients to provide guidance and resources to assist their patients in living a more healthy and balanced lifestyle.  In terms of nursing experience, nurse health coaches generally have many years of direct patient care in the hospital setting and have the desire to have a more direct and positive health impact on their patient’s lives.

Many nurse health coaches are entrepreneurs who work in private practice, although some hospitals and doctors offices hire nurse health coaches as well.  According to some surveys, nurse coaches can earn similar or even more income than they do working in hospitals.

Nurse health coaches help their patients by working with them in the following ways:
  • Understanding their patients’ unique healthcare dynamics
  • Holding patients accountable for their pre-established goals
  • Assessing patients’ readiness for change
  • Identifying client opportunities and issues for improved health
  • Identifying and setting goals to achieve optimal health
  • Empowering patients to reach their goals

In addition, nurse health coaches can decrease healthcare spending by:

  • Helping insurance companies reduce the cost of disease management, and
  • Assisting patients to improve their overall health and well-being by decreasing the incidence of chronic illness and the healthcare costs associated with them

Resources to become a nurse health coach:

#8.  Nurse Recruiter

Nurse on the phone

Alternative nurse jobs #8: nurse recruiter

You don’t need to be a nurse to become a nurse recruiter. However, most employers prefer working with candidates with a nursing background.  In fact, experienced nurses may have more career opportunities in this field than those without prior nursing experience. This is because nurses already understand the qualities needed to be a successful nurse.

Some of the roles of nurse recruiters include: 

  • Marketing- It is the nurse recruiter’s job to find great nurse candidates to hire for the company.  This may include attending professional conferences, designing and implementing media advertising campaigns, attending job fairs, and developing relationships with student work advisers.
  • Interviewing – Screening candidates, setting up interviews and performing telephone interviews
  • Collaborating with departments to fill job vacancies quickly

How to be a nurse recruiter:

  • Apply for entry-level nurse recruiter positions. Employers list job openings through their websites and on Internet job boards. Increase your chances of getting an interview by applying for as many nurse recruiter positions as you can find.

Conclusion

There are other career opportunities out there for nurses who don’t want to be bedside nurses anymore.   The great news is that you have learned valuable career skills both in nursing school and while working as a nurse in patient care.

So, take these critical thinking and time management skills and abundant clinical knowledge that you have gained as a bedside nurse and apply it to a new endeavor.

Good luck!

Additional recommended reading: 

 

alternative nurse careers

The 2 Best Diet Plans For Nurses With A Hectic Schedule

The 2 Best Diet Plans For Nurses With A Hectic Schedule

*This post about diet plans for nurses contains affiliate links.  

Written by Adela Ellis, RN, BSN

In theory, dieting is an easy concept.  After all, it’s merely a process of eating less and exercising more to achieve a calorie deficit that allows us to reduce body fat, right?

Anyone who has dieted, however, will tell you just how challenging it is to stick to that seemingly simple plan, and for nurses, adhering to a diet on a hectic schedule can seem nearly impossible.

For nurses, finding the time for regular meals on alternating night and day shifts can be a hassle.

With 12-hour shifts, you get busy, end up exhausted, and eat whatever is available whenever there is a chance. This can be a reality that is seemingly impossible to overcome.

But it doesn’t have to be! When many of us think of dieting, we think of harsh, impossible to follow restrictions that are doomed to fail, leading to yo-yo dieting and repeated unsuccessful attempts.

So how do nurses lose weight and get proper nutrition to fuel even the most hectic schedule?

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to make radical changes to begin losing weight: You simply need to stick to a series of small ones. A healthy diet plan can teach you to reconsider how you eat, not only what you eat. The following diet plans can help nurses develop a new lifestyle while boosting metabolism, energy, and weight loss for overall well-being and a longer, happier, and healthier life.

#1.  Plant-Based Diet

There are many plant-based diets to choose from, and all emphasize consuming foods that are known for their heart-health benefits, including veggies, whole grains, fruits, legumes, nuts, and oils. Based on the consumption of foods that are found in Italy and Greece, such as fish and seafood, extra virgin olive oil and olives, vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts, the Mediterranean Diet is renowned as heart-healthy and waistline-friendly lifestyle, and is another healthy choice, though not entirely plant-based. It is one of several types of flexitarian diets you could try.

Plant-based diets are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber and help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

They are also known for their ability to reduce the risk of diabetes and help an individual maintain a healthy weight. Diets that are based on consuming nutrient-rich plant-based foods are particularly suited to the hectic lifestyle of nurses because they are based on a relatively simple concept of eating that encourages lifelong healthy eating habits.

plant based diet - vegetables and tofu in a bowl

An example of a plant-based diet meal.  Adopting a plant-based diet offers an excellent nutritional benefit for nurses with a hectic schedule.

To follow a plant-based diet, adopt more plants, fruits, veggies, and healthy fats into your diet and lower your consumption or eliminate any animal foods, including red meat, cold cuts and processed meats, poultry, fish and seafood, and animal-based milks and cheeses. Look for plant-based milks and cheeses in your supermarket or health-food store.

When composing a plant-based meal, half of your plate should be covered in colorful fruits and a variety of veggies. The other half should be divided between healthy proteins, such as nuts and seeds and beans and whole grains, including brown rice and whole-grain bread. There are many plant-based protein products available in most supermarkets, and more on the way, so be on the lookout for them. Remember, the types of plant foods you choose matter. 

Plant-based diet tips:

Limit Avoid Choose instead
Butter Trans Fats Olive oil, canola oil, plant-milk-based butters
Animal-produced milk, Juice Soda Water, tea, plant-based milks like soy, oat, or almond
White rice, white bread Sugary bread Whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta
All meats, animal milk cheese Bacon, cold cuts, processed meats Beans, nuts, seeds, nut cheeses, vegetable-based protein products

 

Meal Prep Tip: For an easy plant-based diet meal, try your hand at Vietnamese spring rolls with tofu. Traditional spring rolls are made of rice roll skins and filled with mint leaves, lettuce, prawns, rice noodles, strips of carrot and cucumber and accompanied with a peanut dipping sauce, but the above recipe substitutes crispy tofu for the prawns.

However, you can try any variation of veggies, lean vegetable-based proteins, whole grain rice, spices, and herbs for an easy make-ahead meal that is healthy, refreshing, and delicious and will have your favorite pair of scrubs fitting a little more comfortably.

Additional recommended reading: 

#2.  Carb Cycling

Carbohydrate cycling diet plans have been used in the bodybuilding world for years as an easy way to monitor carbohydrate intake to build muscle while shedding fat. The basic principle behind carb cycling involves altering your carbohydrate intake according to your needs that week, month, or year. This revolves around the concept that, when your body consumes a limited number of carbs, it uses the body’s stored fat as its fuel source, which can boost fat loss and revamp the metabolism.

carb cycling meal paln for nurses with a hectic schedule

Carb cycling can help nurses meet their nutritional goals and help with weight loss on a busy schedule

By strategically eating carbs according to when you need them, you can more efficiently use them rather than storing them on your body as fat.

Carb cycling is an excellent choice for nurses because, just like a professional weight trainer, your schedule and energy needs vary throughout the week. For “on days,” your body requires more carbs for energy, and for “off days,” it requires less.

The beauty of carb cycling for nurses is that it is entirely customizable according to your schedule. For example, say you work three-night shifts per week. Your meals for those three days should be high in healthy carbohydrates, while your calories on the four remaining days should come from plant and other protein sources.

On high carb days, try to ensure you are getting about 60% of your calories from complex carbs. With carb cycling, it is essential to remember that quality matters: high-carb does not equate to pizza and French fries. In fact, on low-carb days, it is particularly important to choose fiber-packed carbohydrate sources, as achieving adequate fiber consumption every day is still essential.

Carb Cycling:  High Carb Days

Avoid Choose instead
French fries Sweet potatoes
Sugary cereals Oatmeal
White rice, white bread Whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, quinoa
Soda drinks, sports drinks Fruits

 

Carb Cycling:  Low Carb Days

Avoid Choose instead
Fruits Lean proteins
Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and corn Leafy greens, eggplant, tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, avocadoes
Trans fats Olive oil, nuts, seeds, fatty fishes

 

Meal Prep Tip: For an easy, high-carb breakfast in the morning, prepare some overnight oats in a mason jar containing oats, almond milk, cinnamon, flax seeds, honey, and apples.

Conversely, for low-carb breakfasts, make muffin pan egg omelets that can be reheated in the morning containing eggs, peppers, shredded chicken, avocadoes, and a sprinkling of cheese.

Final thoughts

Don’t be afraid to change things up if your diet is not working for you. Part of finding a healthy and sustainable diet is finding the right mix of both habits and foods that contribute to your overall health and well-being, and that process is sure to involve trial and error. Developing a healthy lifestyle as a nurse may seem challenging, but it can be done. In a few months, your new diet will be so routine that you’ll only wonder why you didn’t start sooner.

Additional recommended reading:  

About the author:   Adela Ellis is a full-time nurse and part-time ambassador for Infinity Scrubs. Adela attended the University of Arizona and has been a travel nurse for the last six years. She enjoys working with different doctors, nurses, and patients from all over the country and blogging about her experiences. In her free time, she loves true-crime podcasts and cooking for friends and family. 

The 2 best diet plans for nurses with a busy schedule

4 Helpful Nurse Burnout Prevention Products

4 Helpful Nurse Burnout Prevention Products

(This post about nurse burnout prevention products contains affiliate links.   You can find our disclosure page here.)

Nursing is not a career for the faint of heart. Humans are living longer with more chronic conditions, and nurses are working hard to care for more and more patients. But despite the many challenges, for most of us, nursing is a calling.  We chose this profession so that we could help patients during the most challenging times in their lives.

But who is responsible for taking care of nurses?

The truth is, being a nurse is not for the faint of heart.  It is an extremely physical and emotional career, and nurses deal with stressful situations such as traumatic accidents, chronic illnesses, demanding patients and families, and even death.  We’ve pretty much seen it all and then some.

After all, they don’t say that nurses are on the front line of healthcare for nothing!

Nurse burnout prevention has never been so important.

Nurse burnout prevention needs to be a bigger priority in the profession.  Nurses don’t want to also end up as patients too, but due to lack of time for self-care, it happens.

Fortunately, there are ways that nurses can help to rectify some of the wear-and-tear that we do to our bodies.  By taking care of ourselves first, we can continue to give great attention to our patients and their families.

Stress in the workplace is not going to get easier for many nurses, especially those at the bedside.  Now is the time to put your health needs first.

And you can start by giving yourself a little TLC on your days off.

Helpful nurse burnout prevention products to help manage nursing stress:

These are items I have personally tried, either at work during a 12-hour shift or at home.  Using some of these nurse burnout relief products during and after a 12-hour shift has made a world of difference in how I feel.  I hope these items help you de-stress and take better care of yourself as well.

#1.  Body Back Buddy Self Massager

Body Back Buddy Back Massager, with Poster, Handheld Massage Stick, Trigger Point Massager, Massage Cane (Blue)

 

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How sore are your back, neck, and feet after a busy 12-hour shift?  The Body Back Buddy is a big winner when it comes to loosening up during and after a busy shift.

I was introduced to the Body Back Buddy by a co-worker of mine in the emergency department where I work.  He brought it to work with him as a way to help him loosen his muscles during his night shifts.  At first glance, it looks a little silly, but when he showed me how to use it, I couldn’t believe how great it felt on my neck and back.

It didn’t take long for other nurses to ask if they could use it, mostly out of curiosity.  But it did help loosen up my neck and back and felt amazing on my pressure points.

I liked it so much that I ordered one that day and have been using it at home several times a week ever since.  This is a fantastic product for long- term nurse burnout prevention.

Here are a few features of this self-massage and trigger tool:

  • Full-body self-massager for simple, fast relief 
  • Calm painful muscle knots and aches in your back, neck, shoulders, and more with a few easy moves
  • Effective pressure point therapy eases tension headaches and sore muscles & helps athletes (and nurses!) recover
  • Single-piece rigid construction – very durable

#2.  Cordless Neck Shoulder Back Massager with Heat

Cordless Neck Shoulder Back Massager with Heat, Deep Tissue 3D Kneading Shiatsu Full Body Massager for Neck Back Shoulder Waist Foot Muscle Pain Relief, Best Gifts for Women/Men/Mom/Dad

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During National Nurses Week in 2019, I tried this cordless neck, shoulder, and back massager during my lunch break in the staff room.  I liked it because it stays around the muscles you put it on and doesn’t move around like many self massagers.  It also isn’t very loud and applies just the right amount of pressure to the muscles.

This device is excellent to use during breaks or after a shift at the hospital.  It also doesn’t require much effort to use, which makes it uniquely relaxing.  And it is cordless so that you can use it anywhere.

Here are a few features of the cordless neck, shoulder and back massager with heat:

  • Cordless & hands-free design:  equipped with a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts up to 100 minutes on a full charge.  
  • Advanced heating: The infrared heat provides necessary warmness to ease muscle tension, stress, and promote blood circulation.  It can be turned off manually, but will also shut itself off after 15 minutes of using (to prevent overheating).
  • Full-body relaxation and pain relief:  comes with eight big nodes and eight small nodes, which provides deep tissue massages on your neck, shoulders, upper back, lower back, waist, foot, tights, calves, legs, feet and arms 
  • Adjustable intensity and two massage directions:   The massagers for neck and back cordless have three adjustable intensity levels, which allow you to get suitable pressure to relieve your muscle pain.   And the body massager has built-in bi-directional movement control, which also auto-reverses every minute
  • One year product warranty guarantee

 

#3. Muse: The Brain Sensing Headband

Muse: The Brain Sensing Headband, BlackMuse: The Brain Sensing Headband, Black

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Meditation has changed my life for the better, especially as a stressed-out nurse.  Before I started meditating regularly, I used to have semi-regular anxiety attacks!

The Muse Brain Sending Headband is for someone ready to take their meditation practice to the next level.  If you do not already practice meditation, I wouldn’t even recommend purchasing this device.  (However, if you want to find a helpful way to find stress relief as a nurse I do highly recommend developing your meditation practice).

Many studies have shown benefits from regular meditation, including reduced stress, lowered blood pressure, increased focus and energy, and improved performance in many areas.  And, as nurses, we can use all the stress reduction we can get!

Here is how it works:  The headband fits across the front of your forehead and wraps around your ears.  A metal strip can detect electrical brainwaves. When specific brainwaves are very active, the weather noise increases. As you calm your mind, the weather noise grows fainter and — here is the genius of the device — if you are very calm for several seconds, you can hear birds chirping.   In the end, you get a graph of your performance and a score.

Here are a few features of the Muse Brain Sensing Headband:

  • Makes meditation easy– is like a personal meditation assistant 
  • Muse will guide you to a calm mind:  Sometimes your mind is calm, and sometimes it’s active – Muse will teach you to recognize a quiet mind and help you get there
  • Allows you to immerse yourself in meditation: Put on the Muse headband, plug in your earbuds or headphones, start the app, and close your eyes. Immerse yourself within the sounds of a beach or rain forest
  • Real-time tracking and feedback: While you meditate, Muse measures whether your mind is calm or active, and translates that data into weathers sounds
  • You can review data after each session: After each session, review your data, set goals, and build an enriching meditation practice that gets better every time
  • Comes with a travel safe case
  • What is included: Muse: Brain Sensing Headband, Quick Start Guide, USB Recharge Cable (Earbuds NOT Included)
  • Limited 1-year warranty

 

#4.  Huggaroo Microwavable Neck And Shoulder Wrap

Huggaroo Microwavable Heating Pad for Neck and Shoulders Pain Relief, Stress Relief, Back Pain Relief, Migraine Relief, Headache Relief, Anxiety Relief, Cramps | Reusable Heat Pad/Cooling Neck Wrap

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Like many other nurses, I carry most of my internalized stress in my neck and shoulders. This, combined with too much computer work and lifting and pulling patients, often leaves my neck in knots, and sometimes the pain keeps me from being able to relax completely.

For the longest time, I used a regular old heating pad on my neck and back- but the one I had didn’t conform well to my body.  So one day, I was looking through Amazon for something to help my neck and back pain, and I came across the Huggaroo.

The design is versatile; if I don’t want it on my back, I fold it up, so it’s concentrated on my neck, and I also like to put in on my chest, almost like a weighted blanket.  The quality is excellent, and the fabric is plush but durable. It’s a frequently used staple in our house. I also take it with me when I travel as well!

Here are a few features of the Huggaro Microwavable Heating Pad:

  • Delivers deep, penetrating, moist heat wherever applied
  • Melts away pain, tension, and stress with heat, soothing aromatherapy, and deep pressure stimulation
  • The perfect heating pad for cramps, neck pain relief or joint pain relief
  • Use as a cold compress to alleviate migraine headaches or a cold pack to soothe strains or a fever
  • Huggaroo is a market leader, featured in Forbes, Women’s Health, Inc, Parade, Reader’s Digest, etc.

In conclusion

Nurse burnout prevention is possible and we need to manage our stress better, so we don’t end up as patients ourselves.   By setting aside a little time every day to relax and de-stress, you will be a happier, healthier nurse and better role model for patients.

After all, everybody wins when nurses are taken care of too!!

Additional recommended reading:  

 

9 Tips To Relieve Foot Pain From Standing All Day

9 Tips To Relieve Foot Pain From Standing All Day

(This post about how to relieve foot pain from standing all day may contain affiliate links.  Please see our disclosure page here.)

How can I relieve foot pain from standing all day for work?

If I had a dollar for every time I hear a nurse say they have sore feet I would be rich!  Where I work, it seems like everyone has sore feet at the end of the day.

Nurses know what it feels like to be on their feet for hours at a time.  And they need to care for themselves now more than ever – especially when it comes to foot care.

Unfortunately, foot pain for nurses can become a chronic issue, and as much as we want to ignore it, it won’t go away on its own.  In fact, as a nurse who writes a lot about nurse self-care, nurse foot pain and sore foot remedies are always on the top of the list.  It seems like everyone else wants to know how to relieve foot pain from standing all day as well.

Do your feet hurt after standing for 8-12 hours a day?

It’s no surprise that foot pain is such a common ailment.  Did you know that feet are made up of 28 bones and 30 joints (not to mention more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments)?

Our feet are very complex structures, yet they carry our entire body weight around.  It is no wonder foot pain is a common complaint among doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who spend long shifts on their feet!

If you’re a healthcare or other professional who stands all day and is suffering from debilitating foot pain, there are steps you can take to help prevent or relieve the hurt.

Here are 9 helpful tips for how to relieve foot pain from standing all day:

#1.  Choose the right shoe size

measuring foot size and foot

Preventing foot pain as a nurse starts with wearing the correct size nursing shoe.

If you’re having foot pain as a nurse or other healthcare professional, the first step is to make sure that you’re not wearing the wrong size shoes.

To measure your feet, put on socks and stand on a flat ruler.  Measure the length of both feet and then compare it to the brand’s measurement chart.

It’s important to do this for each individual shoe brand you’re shopping for since sizes can differ. If you’re checking the size of your existing shoe, compare it to the measurement you made.

Also, remember that some shoes stretch out over time, so if you’ve had your shoes for a while, they might be larger than their original size indicates.

#2.  Invest in comfortable shoes

Nurses rack up hundreds of miles in their shoes, which is why it’s essential to buy comfortable shoes that give your feet the support they need.  In fact, investing in high quality, sturdy nursing shoes might be the best remedy for sore foot pain due to being a nurse who is on their feet for up to 12 hours a shift.

While it may be tempting to go for the softest, spongiest sole, you actually need a shoe with a bit of firmness and arch support to encourage the proper form. The sole should be thick and flexible enough that it will provide shock absorption as you accumulate steps.

#3.  Buy shoes made for walking and standing

Running shoes may be very comfortable for running, but they won’t give you the support you need during a 12-hour day of walking and standing. Your feet (and therefore your shoes) strike the ground very differently while running vs. walking and standing, so the two types of shoes are constructed completely differently.

That’s why we recommend nursing shoes, which are specifically designed for maximum standing and walking support. If you absolutely must wear athletic shoes, look for walking or hiking shoes rather than running ones.

#4.  Consider orthotic inserts

shoe inserts next to bare feet

Relieving foot pain as a nurse might require orthotic inserts.

Shoe inserts promote proper walking and standing posture and help accommodate various foot problems, including corns and bunions. Inserts can also be used to provide additional arch support or shock absorption if the factory-made sole isn’t up to par.

Basic insoles can be purchased over-the-counter at pharmacies and online retailers, but you can also get custom inserts (called orthotics) molded to your feet if you have specific issues that you need to correct.

Tip:  If you think that you might need orthotics, make sure that whatever shoe you buy has removable inserts so you can replace them.

#5.  Wear compression socks

Gravity is your friend in many ways, but foot pain is not one of them.

Gravity pulls on blood, lymph and other fluids, slowing down their normal flow and encouraging them to pool in your lower body, which leads to swelling. This sluggish blood flow also means that your legs aren’t being replenished with nutrients as fast, which makes them feel tired and achy.

Compression socks provide just the right amount of pressure to keep your blood and lymph flowing to help prevent swelling and fend off lower body achiness.

#6.  Elevate your feet after a shift

You can also take steps to reduce swelling after a shift.

Lie flat on a bed or couch, raise your legs above the level of your heart and rest there for 15-20 minutes at the end of your day. This position will harness the power of gravity to drain the blood and lymph from your legs, encouraging it to flow back to your core instead.

If you struggle with a lot of foot swelling and pain, compression stockings–combined with leg elevation–could really make a significant difference for you.

#7.  Pamper your feet

women pampering her feet in water

A great nurse foot pain remedy after a 12 hour shift is to pamper your feet with a massage and soak them in warm water.

If you were looking for an excuse to spoil yourself, this is it.

A cold bath will help reduce swelling in your feet and calves, while a warm soak will loosen up stiff joints and help you move easier. Add some Epsom salts or essential oils to the water for added benefits and a nice smell.

After you soak, gently massage your feet with moisturizer while you check them for signs of calluses, bunions, injuries and anything else that could lead to foot pain.

#8.  Stretch and exercise your legs

Exercising on your days off can strengthen your feet and lower legs and help prevent pain on the days that you work.

Try calf raises, ankle rolls, toe presses, and other similar exercises. Both cardiovascular and strength training activities will build your stamina more generally and make all of your body stronger, including your lower legs.

If your feet are stiff at the end of a shift, it can help to take a few minutes to stretch when you get home. This will lengthen the muscles after 12 hours of work and help keep them from cramping.

#9.  Replace your shoes often

Depending on how hard you are on your shoes and how far you walk each shift, you’ll need to replace your nursing shoes every three to six months. This may sound like a lot, but trust us, it’s worth it.

Wearing worn-out shoes increases your chance of developing both temporary and chronic foot problems. It’s much better to be proactive, buy a new pair of shoes and prevent the problems before they even start.

You only have one pair of feet, so take care of them!

In conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this post about how to relieve foot pain from standing all day.   Managing foot pain as a nurse or other medical professional is so important.

After all, debilitating foot pain could potentially compromise your ability to do your job and give the best quality patient care that you can.

Follow these nine steps to prevent and manage foot pain so you can take the next step forward in your career!

About The Author

Debbie Swanson, Real Caregivers Program at allheart.com

Deborah Swanson is a Coordinator for the Real Caregivers Program at allheart.com – a site dedicated to celebrating medical professionals and their journeys.  She keeps busy by interviewing caregivers and writing about them and loves gardening.

Additional recommended reading: