Do you dread your upcoming shifts, repress it from your mind, and stress out the day before? Here are some tips to help you prepare for your shift. Every nurse should know: preparation is KEY!
1. Get Energized. Do what you can to get pumped! Most people drink coffee for energy. This might not be a good idea for those PM and Night shifts, though. Other healthy alternatives: doing some light exercise, putting yourself in a well-lit environment, and listening to music.
2. Double Check Your Schedule. There’s nothing like going in for work only to find out you’re not on the schedule. If your facility often flexes nurses due to low patient census, call before your shift to make sure!
3. EAT! Too often, we find ourselves going to work with mostly empty stomachs. It’s sometimes hard to find time to eat before work. But just do it! Even if it’s a snack, granola bar, or fruit, it will help you perform physically and mentally throughout your day.
4. Give Yourself Time. Do you rush to work at the last minute and clock in right on the top of the hour? Change that habit! It’s stressful and will make you prone to rushing and tardiness should anything go wrong. I find it so much nicer to arrive at work 10 minutes early. Chat a little bit, get yourself in gear, and settle in before you get busy!
5. Prepare a Lunch. Or dinner, or midnight snack. It’s just so, so much better than eating whatever slop they offer at work! Find something you really like that you can prepare quickly at home – make it efficient so it’s quick and doesn’t feel like a chore. Make it a part of your routine. You’ll save money and it will most likely be much healthier!
6. Use the Bathroom. We all know you might not be able to once you’ve started!
7. Take A Deep Breath, Smile, and Posture Confidently. If you’re not feeling great, or just want to brace yourself against the oncoming onslaught (just a tad overdramatic there!), force a deep breath and a smile. The act of smiling automatically makes physiological changes for your mood and energy. If you have a minute, posture! Raising your arms like you’ve just won a race, sitting in a confident position with arms wide open, actually makes physical changes in your body as well. You’ll start your shift ready to take on any challenge!
Kevin is President of Brilliant Nurse, and just launched a new English for NCLEX course for foreign/international students. He doesn’t always follow his own advice: he rushes to work, relies on his wife to make lunch, and doesn’t always eat breakfast!