As a nurse practitioner, you will have the opportunity to care for patients and make a difference in their lives. You may be required to work long shifts to ensure that you are able to provide the best possible care for your patients. Sometimes, it may help to make sure you have a few things to make the hours pass a bit easier.
Let us explore some essential components of planning ahead when preparing for a long shift as a nurse practitioner.
Get A Good Amount Of Sleep Before The Shift Begins
People are not typically aware of how much sleep they need. A person’s typical sleep pattern is from approximately ten hours a night (usually followed by two or three hours of night wakings); however, this does not include any late-night episodes or periods where one may fall asleep at their desk during the day!
Long work shifts are common in our profession; after all, the average nurse practitioner takes 11 hours of patient contact per day. As such, it is essential that you obtain a good amount of rest while on duty to ensure optimal performance both now and in the future.
Pack An Energy-Filled Lunch
Packing a healthy, energy-filled lunch and snacks for a long shift is essential for any nurse practitioner. Eating healthy, nutrient-dense foods can help to keep your energy levels up and help you stay alert while on duty. Eating too much sugar or processed foods can leave you feeling sluggish and can impair your ability to focus.
Some recommendations for a nutritious energy-filled lunch include a protein-rich sandwich, a hearty salad, and fresh fruit. Healthy snacks such as nuts, trail mix, or whole-grain crackers are also great for keeping your energy levels up. Don’t forget to bring water or another beverage to stay hydrated throughout the shift.
It’s also a good idea to bring a thermos of coffee or tea for a mid-shift pick-me-up. Eating healthy throughout your shift will help to keep your energy levels steady and help you focus on providing excellent patient care.
Wear Comfortable Clothing And Shoes For Your Shift
Wearing the right type of clothing and shoes for a long shift is essential for any nurse practitioner. Comfort should be top of mind when selecting what to wear for the day, as it will help you stay focused and energized throughout the shift.
Having the right type of scrubs is essential for long shifts. Scrubs should be comfortable and not overly tight, so you can move freely throughout the day. It’s also important to wear scrubs that are made of breathable materials, so you can stay cool and dry.
In addition to comfortable scrubs, comfortable shoes are also essential. Wearing shoes that are made of quality materials and provide support is important. Shoes that are too tight or too loose can be uncomfortable and can cause discomfort while on your feet. It’s best to wear shoes that are supportive but still allow your feet to breathe.
Bring A Water Bottle
Staying hydrated is an essential part of preparing for long shifts as a nurse practitioner. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches, and decreased concentration, all of which can lead to decreased performance and safety risks. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help to keep your body functioning optimally and prevent dehydration.
It is recommended that nurses drink multiple eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. This can be challenging to achieve when working long shifts; however, bringing a water bottle with you to work can help you stay on top of your hydration. Keeping a water bottle with you throughout your shift will help you to remember to drink often and stay hydrated throughout the day.
Staying hydrated can help to keep your energy levels up throughout the shift. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and decreased focus, which can be a safety risk to both the nurse and the patient. Staying hydrated throughout the shift can help to maintain energy levels and ensure optimal performance. Water can help to reduce stress levels. Dehydration can lead to a decrease in cognitive performance, which can lead to increased stress levels.
Bring Music Or Other Comfort Items
Bringing a few items of comfort or entertainment during slower hours can help to make long shifts more enjoyable. Music, books, or podcasts are great for passing time, reducing stress, and staying alert. Depending on company policy, you may be able to bring your own music player, book, or laptop to work. If this isn’t allowed, you can look into free or inexpensive apps and podcasts to listen to during your shift.
Having a few comfort items can also help to break up the monotony of the day and make the shift go by faster. You can also bring items such as a stress ball, essential oils, or snacks to help keep you alert and energized throughout the shift.
It is important to check with your company policy to make sure that bringing these items to work is allowed.
Long shifts can be difficult, but with the right tools and preparation, they can be manageable. Taking care of yourself is essential for providing excellent patient care, and these tips can help to ensure that you are in the best possible position to do so.