Nursing is a very stressful and taxing job. However, we all know it’s worth it! In order to be the best nurse you can be, you need to take care of your mental and physical health. Sometimes nursing shifts can be long and arduous. In order to make sure you are performing at your maximum level for your shift, you need to have the right pre-shift routine. We’ve compiled a list of five pre-shift tips to help you on your travel nursing journey!
Five Pre-Shift Tips You Should Do!
Get Enough Sleep
One of the most important pre-shift tips we can offer is to get enough sleep. Sleep is super important for nurses, especially travel nurses. Nurses work very long shifts, sometimes over 12 hours. You are constantly on your feet, running around helping patients and coworkers! In order to prepare for your shift, and protect your health, you need to get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can cause you serious problems. You can lose your ability to concentrate, make poor decisions, or even communicate poorly. According to Medscape, sleep deprivation symptoms are similar to intoxication symptoms. You would never think of going to your shift drunk, so don’t go sleep deprived!
Don’t Forget Caffeine
Coffee, or other caffeinated beverages, provide a nice wakeup call. Remember, like most things, caffeine intake is best in moderation. Coffee is even regarded as a great source of antioxidants! Coffee can even help lower women’s type 2 diabetes risk. The best benefit of coffee before a shift is its stimulating effect. Caffeine improves alertness and attention. The important thing to remember when regulating your caffeine intake is to know when to stop. It’s important to not have caffeine too close before your bedtime. Although you might not have a traditional bedtime, make sure to stop drinking coffee or other caffeinated drinks at least a few hours before bed. Caffeine can negatively affect your sleep schedule, which we already mentioned is very important to maintain!
Eat a Good Meal
Because nursing shifts are always so unpredictable, you might not always have time for a meal. In order to have the energy you need for your shift you need to eat beforehand. It might be a cliché pre-shift tip to say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it’s true. Make sure to eat a good meal before your shift. This includes foods like whole grains, and yogurts or smoothies that are high in protein. Try to avoid refined sugars and fast food. It might be convenient, but it will make you sluggish for your shift. It’s also important to bring good snacks for yourself during your shift. Make sure to choose snacks that will help you stay alert without the crash. This can include tea, fruit, protein bars.
Mentally Prepare Yourself
Take a moment before your shift to relax. It can be hectic before work, especially when you’re rushing to get ready. Set aside extra time before each shift just to prepare yourself for the day. Maybe journal or just sit with a cup of coffee or tea. You could also set aside enough time to watch an episode of your favorite show. Some nurses meditate, do yoga, or go over the day’s assignments before heading in. Remember, although your job is to care for others, you need to make sure you care for yourself too. Your mental and physical health are important: not only for looking after patients, but for enjoying your job!
Do Something You Love Every Day
Apart from your nursing job, make sure that you are doing other meaningful activities outside of work. Find something you love, a hobby or a pastime, that gives you purpose and lightens your mood. It’s important to avoid nursing burnout. You can avoid burnout by identifying and eliminating your stressors. Spend more time on activities you actually like to do rather than undertakings that stress you out. A great way to pass time and help your mental and physical health is to exercise. Exercise is not always the most appealing way to spend your time, but it definitely helps in the long run. If you’re having trouble self-motivating, go to a class where an instructor will teach you what to do. You could also join a sports team or play sports with your friends. This way, you’re getting exercise while also having competitive fun!
Are you ready to start a new shift? Look no further than our great job listings and apply today to find your perfect travel nursing position! Check out our video below for more information about pre-shift tips!