5 Hacks to Help Medical Professionals Adapt to the Night Shift

healthcare staffing

For any healthcare professional, going from a traditional 9 to 5 work scenario to suddenly working night shifts can be tough on the mind and body. 

If your hospital or clinic has you scheduled for an extended period of night shifts, you’re not alone. Most physicians, RNs, NPs and technicians will at some point have to work these grueling hours. Especially with the current shortage of qualified medical workers.  

Here are five excellent tips to help you understand what to expect and how to overcome working while most others are sleeping! 

Take a Trial Run

 Leading up to your shift, push back your normal sleep schedule a few days beforehand. Get as much rest the day before your shift as possible. If you can stay up and sleep in even an hour later in the morning, it can help. If you can manage to carve out even a half-hour nap, do it. The more you’ve rested, the more energy you’ll have during your shift, even if your body wants to sleep. 

Sleep like a Pro!

Sleeping during the day might require going out of your way to make sure your room is dark and quiet. Let your family know when you’ll be sleeping so noise levels are kept to a minimum. If you have trouble waking up in a dark room, consider investing in an alarm that will light up the room when it’s time for you to wake up. When you come home after work, do the things you’d normally do in the evenings. Relax, and don’t get trapped doing chores just because it’s daytime. 

Keep your Mind Alert – Without Coffee

Drinking coffee can be tempting, but as soon as its effects wear off, you crash. That’s risky when you’re caring for patients and supporting staff during your overnight clinical shift. Instead, try dark chocolate or some green tea to supplement more natural efforts at staying awake. You can also take 30-second breaks and use breathing exercises to remain alert. When you feel sleepiness creep in, engage your mind in some way to remain awake – including talking with your colleagues. 

Fuel your Body with Healthy Foods

It may be tempting to binge on sugary foods to feel energized, but these will cause your blood sugar to crash and your stomach to rumble shortly afterward. Prepare your lunch with high-protein foods that will help you stay full longer. Try packing items like apples with peanut butter, salad with fruit and nut toppings, or a brown rice veggie bowl. Along with snacks, pack a nutritious and high-energy meal, since the cafeteria may not be open. 

Attend to Personal Stuff When You’re Most Alert 

Pay bills, make important calls, and complete other important tasks as soon as you get home from your shift in the morning. It may be tempting to crash as soon as you walk in the door, but if you wait until you’re relaxed, it’ll be harder to focus on your important day-to-day tasks.

A Closing Note

Something to remember when it comes to night shifts is it’s normal to feel tired. The secret to success is to manage your body appropriately so you can focus on your clinical duties instead of the inevitable pangs of drowsiness.

i4 Search Group – Recruiting Healthcare Heroes since 2019. We’re a permanent placement recruiting firm specializing in healthcare recruiting across North America. If you’re a nursing, allied health, or any other healthcare professional looking for your next career move, visit our website and see how our experienced team of professionals can help you find a great position! 

Related Posts

About Us

i4 Search Group is a national staffing and permanent placement recruiting firm that specializes in healthcare staffing and recruiting.

Let’s Socialize

Popular Post