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Friday, March 22 , 2019, 8:29 am | Fair 44º

2018 Salute to Nurses: A Noozhawk Partnership with Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care

Nursing Can Require a Rotating Work Schedule

Nursing shifts Click to view larger
Nurses who work variable shifts also must manage healthy energy levels. (Green Shoot Media photo)

Life for a nurse can be hectic. With fluctuating schedules and high-stress situations, the nursing profession requires patience and the ability to handle multiple challenges.

A rotating shift consists of morning, evening and night shifts altering during the month. This type of schedule can help prevent burnout, especially for nurses who work in organizations serving high volumes of patients.

The next time you chat with a nurse, let her know you appreciate the long hours she is putting in. You might just make her day.

Variable Schedules

Many nurses work multiple days in a row with multiple days off. This can take some getting used to but generally is a preferred setup for professionals in the demanding health care field.

Nurses who work variable shifts have to be ready for anything, all while maintaining an energy level and focus that result in optimal performance.

Here is what a variable shift might look like in a given week:

» 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday night

» 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday

» 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday

Adjusting your work-life balance around a changing schedule can be difficult. Pulling it off requires an understanding of what your body and energy level can handle.

Diet and Exercise Are Key

When it comes to preparing your body for challenging, inconsistent work schedules, the way you treat it can make a big difference in your sustainability.

Professionals lacking regular sleep should look to vegetables for the vitamins and minerals they need to balance their workloads.

Eat a healthy balance of colorful vegetables every day and watch your energy level increase. Avoid foods high in carbohydrates to avoid crashing when your energy runs out.

Looking for something more custom? Meet with a local dietitian — or one who works at your health care organization — to put together a custom nutrition plan for you.

Hydration also is a key factor in maintaining your body. If you have trouble remembering to drink water during your shift, schedule a personal water and bathroom break to coincide with a patient’s routine medication or check-in. This will keep you on track as you keep up with your work responsibilities.

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