Tips for Working a Rotating Schedule
Rotating schedules can have you wondering whether it’s time for your shift or time for bed. Within a week, you can be working 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. one shift and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. another.
While rotating schedules give you the opportunity to learn what the job looks like at any time of the day and night, they can take a toll on you, especially if you’re a travel nurse living and working in a completely different location than you’re used to. Here are some tips for working a rotating schedule.
Create a Pre- and Post-work Routine
A solid routine can help you fall asleep or wake up. To keep your mind and body in good shape, we recommend incorporating the following into your day or night:
- Move your body – From full workout routines to simple stretches, regular movement is essential to your wellness.
- Be mindful of screen time – If you need to fall asleep at a good time and limit yourself from any distractions, use the do not disturb feature on your phone and unplug from the digital world by a certain time in the day or night.
- Tune into a good show, movie, game, or book – Whatever it is that gets your mind out of work mode, enjoy it.
- Explore the city – Take a walk, try a cafe or restaurant, and enjoy the time you have as a travel nurse in a new city.
Practice Your Non-Negotiables
As you figure out a solid routine for yourself, incorporate any necessary self-care and recovery activities. Whether it’s eating all your meals, working out a certain number of times a week, or carving out time to enjoy what you love to do, your non-negotiables are what you must do to take care of your body and mind. They’ll be what keeps you energized and ready to take on your upcoming shifts.
Stick to a Sleeping Schedule That Works for You
To best take care of your patients, you need to take care of yourself. That includes getting enough sleep throughout the week, so set up hard rules around your sleep schedule. For example, if you operate best on seven hours of sleep, keep your body and mind used to those seven hours, even when you aren’t working or if you need to sleep during the day.
As a travel nurse, you’ll likely have to go through your own adjustment period, whether it’s you getting used to a different time zone or home. To best help you get the hours of sleep you need wherever and whenever, invest in a good sleep mask, fan, and earbuds.
If you’re working consistent night shifts and getting ready to switch into day shifts, try to give yourself time in between to adjust. For instance, if you’re on schedule to work days after working nights, take time off between switching shifts to ease yourself into a sleeping schedule that works for you.
Additionally, make sure you take your breaks at work. Working long shifts is tough as it is, and doing so when your routine has changed so much is even more challenging. Give yourself a mental break at work and take the time to eat a nutritious meal or go on a walk around the new city you’re in.
Ask For Help
Rotating shifts can get taxing on your mind and body. To avoid or minimize burnout, do the best you can to rest and recover, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help. You can ask other nurses or travel nurses for tips on working a rotating schedule. You can also reach out to your recruiter.
Lean on HealthCare Support for All Your Travel Nursing Needs
From professional tips to support for your career growth, your recruiter can help you thrive in your travel nursing career. Our recruiters at HeathCare Support are dedicated to championing the professional, personal and financial goals of passionate healthcare professionals across the nation. Our network is vast and we’re ready to help you unlock your potential.
To connect with our compassionate and highly responsive team, please give us a call at 888-219-6285.