In the healthcare industry, there are certain jobs that have certain requirements. Unfortunately, jobs that are designed to provide 24-hour care, like nursing, are usually broken down into two 12 hour shifts to maintain the requirement of available care.
While there is a high demand for nursing care staff, you also have to keep in mind that there is a high turn-over rate, especially among the certified nursing assistant profession. This is mainly due to the long hours endured almost on a daily basis which can ultimately cause a nursing assistant to feel burned out.
So, what exactly can a certified nursing assistant do to help make it through a long 12-hour shift and not feel burned out? Below, we have a few strategies that will not only prepare you before you start work but also throughout your shift too.
Sleep Sleep Sleep
Not only does your body need sleep, but it is detrimental if you expect to make it through the shift. If you know you are about to tackle a 12-hour shift, you should give yourself at least 9 hours of undisturbed slumber. This can be accomplished by having your bedroom as dark as possible and plan for a couple extra hours to ensure you are fully rested for the long shift.
Snack Throughout Your Shift
Not only will snacking keep you energized throughout your shift, but it will keep you awake as well. Every time you move your body it uses energy and your body needs to be awake to move. So every time you take a bite of a snack you are using and replacing energy at the same time. This is a win-win during a long 12-hour shift. You can easily keep simple snacks like a granola bar or assorted nuts in your scrub pockets.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Just as important as sleep, keeping hydrated throughout your 12-hour shift is detrimental for your body. This means drinking at least 1 glass for every hour you work. This will ensure that you keep hydrated. But keep in mind, what you take in you will also need to let out so it is wise to just slowly sip water so your body will absorb more and lessen your amount of breaks to use the restroom.
Downtime can be a killer when working a long 12-hour shift. This can cause you to feel extremely bored during your shift and ultimately tired as well. So what can help alleviate the feeling of boredom during a 12-hour shift? For starters, administrative duties are a part of the nursing assistant’s job description, so go ahead and tackle all of the extra filing and organizing of patient charts. After you’re done with that take a walk around your assigned area and make a list of supplies that you can restock. The main point of all of this is to keep yourself busy and active at work.
Take A Daily Vitamin
Working a long 12-hour shift can take a lot out of you. Because of this, taking a multi-vitamin prior to your shift will allow your body to receive the necessary vitamins and minerals to keep your body and mind charged throughout your shift.
Besides keeping your body and mind sharp, taking a multivitamin also helps to reduce the amount of stress that a 12-hour shift could cause. If the off going shift explains that they had a stressful shift, then you can expect to have the same for your shift. But if you take a multivitamin then your chances of stress will be decreased tremendously and your mind will remain sharp and focused for the duration of your shift.
This is why it is important to start your shift positively and end it positively. Not only for your benefit, but for the benefit of others around you as well as your coworkers.