How to Survive a Long Nursing Shift
May 1, 2020
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It is not an easy time to be a nurse. Long hours, risking the health of yourself and your family, and long hours on your feet are all a part of your daily life. Nursing is hard work that matters. You help save lives and aid in the recovery of hundreds of people. It’s hard to get through long shifts, but with a few comforts, you can make it a little easier.

Check out this guide on how to survive a long nursing shift.

Dress comfortably

While you are most likely required to wear scrubs, there are additional ways to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible. Wear only scrubs that are comfortable. Every nurse knows the struggle of that one pair of scrubs that for some reason is just plain uncomfortable. Whether the elastic is starting to dry rot or the top just doesn’t sit right on you, keep these scrubs out of the rotation on long shifts.

Long shifts are uncomfortable enough without a pair of scrubs with an itchy tag or too-long pant legs. Wear your favorite pair of scrubs and your most comfortable undergarments. Adding a pair of compression socks can help ease the strain on your feet and legs, so consider adding a pair to your usual nursing outfit.

If you can take a break, really take it

On some shifts you may be too busy to get in a real break, but on the shifts where you’re able to take an actual break, really take it. This means get out of your area, go to a break room, a different part of the hospital or office, or even go outside and sit on a bench and simply breathe in the fresh air if weather permits.

Sometimes getting out of the bustling and intense medical care environment, even for 15 minutes, can do wonders for your energy levels, focus, and mental health.

Fuel up

Last, the best way to survive a long nursing shift is by taking care of yourself. As a nurse, you’re always taking care of others’ needs. This can quickly become second nature to a nurse—so much so that you may forget to take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself is essential to taking care of others because, if you are not well, you cannot help others get better either.

Be sure to eat snacks throughout the shift to keep your energy up and your tummy full. Drink plenty of fluids (you tell your patients this all the time—may as well take your own advice!) and give yourself moments to simply take a deep breath when things feel overwhelming.

Additional recommended reading:

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