Tips for Nursing Students

Managing the Nightshift During the Pandemic | Tips for Nursing Students

The coronavirus pandemic has affected society, including how people work, socialize, and learn. The resultant spike in demand for healthcare services has stretched them thin for nursing students and other healthcare workers offering essential services. They have to work for more hours than before, do more shifts, and have even less time to recharge and sleep.

At some point in your career as a nurse, you will be required to commit to working the night shift. For most people, transitioning to shift work can be challenging as it disrupts sleep patterns and makes it hard to attain restful sleep during the day. Although shiftwork mostly affects nurses, it can also affect nursing students.

The clinical rotation aspect of nursing programs and the fact that students are being called upon to help bridge the gap created by the pandemic may mean that avoiding shiftwork is almost impossible.

The good news is that transitioning to shiftwork does not have to be a hectic experience. Nursing students can restore their work-life balance by fine-tuning their time-management skills. This article looks at tips for nursing students on how to manage nightshifts effectively.

What Is the Logic for Shift Work?

Healthcare establishments are often required to provide competent care around the clock. Shift work is understood as any shift outside the conventional 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is linked to a higher risk of errors, sleep disorders, fatigue, and mental health problems.   

According to research, close to thirty-two percent of nurses report not getting enough sleep. While there are many challenges, shiftwork is almost unavoidable since healthcare facilities do not operate on standard schedules. That said, evidence also shows that shift work is linked to an increased risk of disease and illness, including metabolic and cardiovascular disorders.

How Nursing Students Can Navigate Shift Work

If you have chosen to pursue a rewarding career in nursing, you ought to embrace yourself for the challenges you may encounter as part of your job. Although night shifts are mostly unpopular, they are important to ensuring that all patients get access to competent at all times. Here are a few insights on how to handle the hectic nature of shift work:

  • Create and Follow a Sleep Routine  

As a nursing student, adjusting to shiftwork can be a highly challenging element of your studies and future career. In addition, if you are still new to the night shift, figuring out a sleep schedule can be challenging.

Maybe you have already settled on a specific sleep schedule. However, as you work towards adjusting to working night shifts, understand that consistency is key. Have a routine, going to sleep around the same time. Maintain your routine, even on weekends and your days off.

Also, create a comfortable and relaxing environment, permitting you to fall asleep faster and preventing disruptions. Understandably, getting restful sleep during the day can be complicated. However, sufficient sleep is crucial for your mental and physical wellbeing.

Consider turning off your phone as you sleep and investing in darkening curtains to block out light. If you have urgent assignments, consider getting a nursing paper from professionals online.

  • Prioritize Exercise

As a nursing student, you already understand the importance of paying attention to your physical activity levels. As you try to deal with the changes in your schedule, you should also ascertain that you look after your bodily wellbeing. Committing to regular exercise is as important as getting enough sleep.

Unfortunately, shiftwork interferes with nurses’ opportunities to perform physical activity. It can also affect how you respond to exercise. You will have less time to engage in leisure physical activities. However, you can still find ways to remain active with some innovation, including joining a gym or exercising at home. Understand that physical activity also helps with improving the quality of sleep.

  • Eat Healthily

Self-care is important for nurses and nursing students. For those whose shifts are at night, maintaining exercise and eating healthy meals and snacks are critical. The nature of your work will mean that you need more energy during the night. Choose nutritious and wholesome foods and avoid processed and caffeinated beverages. Most importantly, monitor your health and seek support whenever necessary.

Shift work requires nurses and nursing students to find creative ways of balancing the demands of life and work. Getting adequate sleep and eating healthy foods should be a priority. You also need to generate a good balance in your familial and private life, working on your social networks and interacting with colleagues. Most importantly, learn how to accommodate the circadian clock.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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