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5 Tips to Help Nurses Prepare for the Night-shift

There are plenty of registered nurses that prefer to work the night-shift, but not all nurses are night owls. Fortunately, any nurse can adjust to a new clock-in time with a few hidden tricks and the right sleep training. To help you make the switch, here are some of the top transitional changes to make ahead of schedule.

Put Stock in Shift Changes

Because you won’t be able to communicate as much with your sleeping patients, you’ll need to rely on the previous shift for essential updates. Knowing even the most minor updates on your patients will encourage you to keep an eye out for subtle changes and prevent critical situations.

Pick the Right Pick-Me-Ups

Energy drinks and premade performance beverages might seem like a convenient choice for the night-shift, but these unhealthy options aren’t good for the long term. Instead of picking up a sugary supplement, reach for healthier forms of energy found in caffeinated teas or a coffee drink you can stir up yourself. If you have an aversion to caffeine, you can still boost your energy by prioritizing activity during your shift or trying an LED light therapy lamp to stimulate your brain.

Stay Hydrated and Satiated

Hydration is essential for day- and night-shift nurses — especially when consuming caffeine. If you have trouble remembering to run to the water fountain, bring your own reusable bottle to keep at your station. While paying attention to your water intake, pay attention to your food intake as well, because choosing the right food options can play a huge part in your night on the clock. You can make healthy eating just as convenient as the vending machine by meal prepping at the beginning of each week.

Set Aside Enough Sleep Time

While adjusting to the night-shift, you’ll need to rearrange your sleeping habits so you can get seven to nine hours of sleep in before the start of your shift. It might be tempting to try and reset your rhythm by pulling an all-nighter beforehand, but this can end up making it harder to get your sleep on track in the long term. Instead, try modifying your environment to be as sleep-friendly as possible by:

  • reminding your family that your sleep is important
  • setting up thick curtains to keep light out
  • wearing an eye mask or ear plugs
  • avoiding caffeine before bed
  • limiting phone and other screen usage before bed

Work With a Healthcare Recruiter

No matter how new you are to nursing, the right healthcare recruiter can help you find a position that fits your wants and needs. In fact, the team of healthcare recruiters at HealthCare Support will help you find the perfect fit for and lend you all the guidance needed to navigate your new role as a night-shift nurse. To join our talent network and take the next steps in your healthcare career, call us today at 888-219-6285.

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