Everyone wants to go on day shift, because it is the most like regular working hours. However, even day shift has its ups and downs, its challenges.
Not only do you have the pressure of management close by, but you also have increased amounts of family, procedures, and morning rounds to contend with. When you still have assessments, med pass, and charting to do, this can really make it difficult to get all of your work completed.
Here are three ways to address these problems and to make navigating the waters a day shift a little bit easier.
Plan around morning rounds
You need to expect that everyone will round in the morning, most importantly the doctor. It will help if you can catch them before they run off to the next patient, but you will most likely need to check the computer or the chart for new orders.
They aren’t the only ones who round, though. Management, social services, physical therapy, and other sub-specialties will round as well, taking time away from your nursing duties.
The trick is to expect the interruptions, just as you would any other interruption. Stop what you are doing, handle the rounds, and go back to the task at hand.
Although this is dangerous during med pass, it is an unfortunate side effect of working first shift – and nursing in general. Planning, as usual, is the best way to go, because these rounds usually happen at the same time every day.
Be prepared for procedures
Procedures are not as predictable, and this is why it is important to keep track of what the doctors or the consults have ordered. If you don’t know, transport can show up at any time and whisk the patient away.
Realize that you’re probably not going to get everything done perfectly. You’re not going to give them their medications at ten.
It just won’t happen, and so you have to be at peace with this. When they come back, then you can perform med pass, assessments, and bedside procedures, but as long as the patient is stable, you need to let them go to radiology and leave your duties until they return.
Have a strategy for family
You will also see an increased influx of family on day shift, and this can be stressful with everything else that is happening. It is a teaching situation, of course, but it can be a time when you have to deal with difficult people.
Again, planning is your friend. Expect to spend more time in the room than you would on every other shift, because you are going to have to explain what the doctor said, what the plan is for the patient, and what it all means.
In addition, you may need to deal with family complaints, and this will require calm, cool, and professional handling. Expect to encounter some push back, especially if the patient isn’t doing well, and tap into your well of compassion.
Dealing with family may very well be one of the most difficult aspects of nursing, and day shift takes the brunt of that. Day shift is about very careful planning of multiple aspects of care, and it takes a careful, conscious nurse to navigate these challenging waters.