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Top Tips for Surviving the Night Shift

Throughout your travel nursing career, you may have assignments with night or variable shifts. While the rest of the world is sleeping, you will be working. Pulling an all-nighter may be easy every so often when out with friends or studying back in college, but consistently working throughout the night for days at a time is much different. Whether you are new or old to the travel nursing industry, we have compiled a list of our top tips to help you adjust and survive the night shift!

Create a Sleep Schedule

Creating a sleep schedule is the most important thing you can do when working night shifts. Your body is used to sleeping during nighttime, so it will be an adjustment. One tip to get your body ready for night shifts is to create a sleep schedule at least one week before your assignment begins. Be sure to have blackout curtains and perform your normal nighttime routine to help your body adjust. This will help you fall asleep faster and have a good night’s rest before work.

Come Prepared

Like with any shift, make sure you have everything you need before leaving your house. Some items might include a water bottle, phone charger, uniforms, medications, snacks, etc. Be sure to also pack items during your break that help you relax, like a book or even a small puzzle.

Plan Your Meals

Along with creating a sleep schedule, you should also plan your meals in advance. Meal prep is a great way to save money too! Try to create meals that are healthy and will provide energy for and during your shift. Another tip to remember is try not to eat right before you go to sleep. Eating right before you sleep can cause a restless night with all the energy from food. It is best to try to eat at least three hours before heading off to bed.

Bring Healthy Snacks

If you are a nurse, then you know that it is highly unlikely that you will have three square meals a day. There may come times during your shift when your lunch break is cut short. To make sure you make it through your entire shift, bring snacks to help keep you energized and focused. Some snacks include trail mix, yogurt, string cheese, bananas, or oatmeal!

Stay Hydrated

As we have heard a thousand times from our doctors, hydrate! Water is very important to your overall health and keeping your immune system at its top performance. Being well hydrated means blood is oxygenated, toxins are flushed, and vital organs and muscles will be in tip-top shape.

Wear Comfortable Clothes

With most nursing shifts being 12 hours long, you want to make sure you are as comfortable as possible. Be sure to wear shoes that provide support and will not cause blisters or other sores. For clothing, you want your uniform to be breathable and a good fit, not constricting.

Make Friends

Befriending coworkers will surely help you get through your shift. They understand just how difficult it can be working the night shift, and together you can help each other. Making friends at work will make your shift fun and help it fly by. It is also nice to have a friend to talk to who can relate when times get stressful. Who knows? You might even meet a fellow travel nurse and decide to travel together for your next assignment.

Take Care of Yourself

Lastly, be sure to take care of yourself. Take breaks throughout the shift if needed to breathe and relax. Nursing is not an easy career, and there will be difficult times. Whether it is before or after your shift, take some time during your day to unwind. Read a book, take a bath, or binge your favorite tv shows to escape reality for a little bit. Doing something you love will help reduce stress, brighten your mood, and leave you feeling recharged for your next shift!

Ready to look for your next opportunity? Check out our jobs with a variety of shifts here