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Top Tips for Night Shift Nurses

At one point in their career, most nurses will work the night shift. Some love it, others dread it. Whether you love it or hate it, here are some tips WOCN found to get you through the night.

    • Coffee/Caffeine is not always your friend. While it may seem like a great idea to hit up Dunkin or Starbucks on your way in to work, consuming copious amounts of caffeine can end up doing more harm than good. If you have to have it, try drinking it later in your shift so that you avoid a “caffeine crash.”
    • Keep your guard up. No one ever wishes for an emergency but night shifts can go on for hours without anything “eventful” happening. Don’t let your guard down – be ready for something to happen when you least expect it so that when/if it does happen, you are on top of your game!
    • Change it up. Some nurses report that after they’ve worked the night shift for years, their career has come to a screeching halt. It’s a good idea to occasionally work the day shift so that key decision makers can see you in action and know the skills you possess.
    • Friend me! It’s no secret that night shifts can tend to be tight knit groups. Make sure you get to know who you are working with as those around you can make a long night shift longer if you don’t enjoy being around one another!
    • Brighten up. If you have the ability to wear brightly colored scrubs on your shift, do so. Studies have shown that the brighter the colors, the happier a person is. You can also make patients feel better too when they need a pick-me-up the most.
    • Snack time! Eating can be a huge issue for many that work nights. Eating a “breakfast” before you go to work can help boost your energy while making you feel ready for the day, well, night. If eating as soon as you get up isn’t your thing, bring food with you as well as a snack to eat in the wee hours of the morning. Nothing is worse than being hungry and when you are, it can make you feel more tired than you already are.
    • Not for everyone. Some take the night shift to assist with childcare issues, scheduling conflicts, etc. but sometimes, those who work the night shift find out that it wasn’t everything they thought it was going to be. If you find yourself in this position, it’s okay to talk to your supervisor. If you can’t perform to the degree that you need to, you aren’t helping anyone, especially yourself!