Patients need care 24 hours a day. This means you have to be prepared to work flexible hours, including the night. Night shifts are popular among nurses as it allows them time for other commitments during the day.
Because caring for patients does not end with the day, so does the nurse’s responsibilities.The role of a night shift nurse cannot be overemphasised. They work with patients into the wee hours of the night, ensuring that they are comfortable and get proper rest. A study found that most night shift nurses have low levels of job satisfaction and suffered from chronic fatigue, psychological symptoms, and inefficiency in work.So, it is all the more necessary for you to manage your health first.
If you are a night shift nurse working for a nursing agency in Worcester, then here are some effective tips for you on how to remain healthy and efficient.
Organisation of Shift Schedule
Factors such as shift time, duration, length of shift cycle, speed and rotation of shifts, and span of rest days all have an impact on your health. So, you need to make sure that your shift schedule is designed to meet some ergonomic criteria. This will help reduce stress and limit detrimentaleffects on your health. You can limit the harmful effects of night shift work by:
Consecutive Night Shifts
Try to limit the number of back to back night shifts to three every fortnight. This will ensure that you have enough days to catch up on your sleep before the next round of consecutive night shifts.
Usually, night shifts are rotated weekly or longer. Instead, opt for shorter rotations for up to 3 days. This will allow you to rest for the remainder of the week.
Go for clockwise rotation, i.e., morning, afternoon, and night. This lets your body adjust to the changing work schedule better.
Try to talk to your agency and set the number of hours per shift, especially during a night shift. Work hours that are not taxing both physiologically and psychologically.
Rest After A Night Shift Rotation
Make sure that you get enough days off after a night shift rotation to rest and catch up on your sleep.
Try and keep the shift rotations and hours as regular as possible to allow your body and mind to settle into the routine. Irregular shifts can have a higher adverse effect on your health.
Education and Counselling
As a nurse working with anursing agency in Worcester, it is your responsibility to learn about the adverse effects of working in night shifts. Being aware of the psychological, physiological, and social concerns of night shift work can help you avoid them.
By understand the disorders and troubles that are associated with night shift, you will be able to come up with coping strategies to make sure that your efficiency is not affected. Education and counselling will help you plan your diet, exercise, and leisure activities in such a way that night shifts have the least impact on your health and efficiency.
Know Your Limit
You should not work night shifts continuously, just because the pay is good. In the long run, it will take its toll on your health and impact your performance. So, know your limit and make sure you work night shifts within those limits. The best way to find your ceiling is to work 1-2 nights a week and see how you hold after that.
Assessment of Fitness
Before considering working in the night shift, you should assess your fitness levels. Some of the factors to be considered are age, gastrointestinal disorders, existing health conditions (such as type 2 diabetes), female hormonal dysfunction, workload, and environmental concerns, lifestyle, and socio-economic conditions.
So, before planning to work in night shifts, make sure that you assess all these factors and conclude if you are compatible for night shift work.
Don’t Overload On Caffeine
The tendency with most night shift nurses is that overload on caffeine to stay awake and alert. While the immediate boost can help you get through the shift efficiently, it can harm your health in the long run. Insomnia, gastronomical disorders, and irritability are known to be associated with excessive intake of caffeine. Get a good rest instead. It will work wonders on your mood and also have a positive impact on your health.
Make sure that you are active during the night shift. This could mean checking on patients every couple of hours, filing paperwork, planning for the next day, and other such activities that keep you occupied. This will not only help you get organized but also remain alert.
As a night shift nurse, you work at a time when most of the staff has gone home, and it can be daunting as there is hardly anybody around, but it is your commitment to patient care that motivates to soldier on. But, it is critical that you first manage your health in order to work efficiently and provide the best care for patients.