Nursing Tips: Surviving the Night Shift

Working through the night isn’t something for the faint of heart. Add in the pressure of delivering care that could potentially mean the difference between life and death, and you’ve got quite a stressful situation. Whether you’re new to the nursing field, were recently assigned to a nighttime role or you’ve been burning the midnight oil for decades, the following tips should help you navigate the evening shift like a boss.

Make sleep a priority.

Anyone who’s ever had the pleasure of clocking in at 11pm has already heard a million times over how important it is to get enough sleep before a shift. But it’s so important that we have to mention it again. Sleeping during the day can be challenging — especially for those who work swing shifts or have multiple days off in a row — but it’s critical to both your own success as well as optimum patient care. So, schedule it and do what it takes to stick to it.

Bring healthy snacks and plenty of water.

If the facility where you work supplies healthy snacks, chances are the day-shift folks will have already eaten most of them by the time you arrive, so don’t get caught unprepared. Bring your own healthy on-the-go snacks, like a piece of fruit, a cheese stick or a protein bar. And remember to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated. Fuel your body well and it will reward you with greater alertness and stamina.

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