Pre-shift Tips for Nurses

If you’re finding that you suddenly would rather be doing your taxes then heading into work, you probably should do something about it.

The secret to a wonderful shift at work just so happens to depend on a nurse’s habits that happen before they even clock in. Smart nurses already know that implementing certain rituals before they start a long workday can turn the whole thing around. So if you’re finding that shifts are feeling uncomfortable, you may want to start practicing some of these easy tips.

Pre-Shift Tips for Nurses

Come to work early.

For me, I feel like its natural to almost procrastinate every moment I can before leaving to go somewhere I don’t want to go. Not that nurses dread their career necessarily, but knowing you have a 12-hour shift ahead of you can cause even the most dedicated employee to wish they were doing something else. And, is it just me or does Pinterest and Buzzfeed seem way more interesting all of a sudden when you have to leave for work in 3 minutes?

Coming to work early is beneficial to your mental well-being, especially when you’re about to step into the hectic life of a medical professional. That little bit of extra time can relieve most of the pre-shift anxiety. First of all, the whole rushing around and need to “beat the clock” only makes matters worse. Give yourself ample time so that you can saunter, not sprint, into the start of your shift. If you add just 15 minutes to your day by coming in early, you can get cleaned up and ready to work ahead of time. Lastly, the added time will give you time to mentally meditate so you’re thinking the most clearly throughout your work day.

Another benefit to arriving early, is that you will gain respect from your co-workers. When you come in a little earlier, you know you’ll always be there on time to relieve the other nurse’s shift, it shows great character which others definitely notice. Avoid possible resentment from co-workers by coming in late. And who knows, this could really help you in the future. All your colleagues that think highly of you will be more willing to help you out if you ever need shifts covered in the future or need a hand.

Organize your space.

I read once that people sleep better when they crawl into a made bed at night. I found it extremely intriguing how cleanliness and tidiness can really relax a person. The same goes for your work station or desk. Making sure your work area is tidy puts you in control. And, in times that you’re feeling overwhelmed with your patients, having a disorganized work environment adds unneeded stress to that. If you’re feeling cursed during the workday, be sure to bless that mess.

Arrange your breaks ahead of time.

Prior to starting your long day, you need to make sure you’re going to be able to take small breaks in order to avoid overworking yourself or getting tired. Many nurse team leaders are flexible and allow nurses to choose times ahead of time. If you’re lucky enough to have this luxury, you most definitely have to take it! Plan your breaks at times when you know the workload will be the lightest and after you know you’ve finished a difficult task.

Check your schedule for the day.

Before you dive into the day, double-check what tasks are ahead of you. That way, you ensure you are right on track and not forgetting anything that needs to be done. Also, you can mentally cross off things that you accomplish.

Have a meal prepared.

Nutrition is vital for busy people, especially nurses! Even though sometimes our busy schedules make it hard to remember to pack lunches for work, its important to try to bring some food with you. If you’re someone who forgets to pack a snack frequently, a good tip is to keep granola bars in your car or purse. That way, you can reach for it when you need a quick pick-me-up during the day. A growling stomach can be distracting! Try to find foods that you can prepare quickly and bring with you and try to make it your routine to bring them with you.

& finally….


This one all nurses know all too well. If you don’t go before you clock in, you might miss the chance to for a LONG time.

Author: Travel Nurse Source

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