It’s not uncommon for nurses to have different work schedules. One week you’ll have full night shifts and then the next you’ll have straight morning shifts. While the routine almost looks the same, there are still a few special considerations you need to make.
To know more, here are five easy tips to handle shifting schedules better.
1. Consider meal time.
Some medications, particularly for those patients with pancreatitis, are required to be taken with food. If you’re on a night shift, you won’t probably encounter this type of meds very often. However, if you’re running a morning schedule, it can be a bit of a different story. Aside from medications, you also need to be aware of your patients’ insulin schedules.
2. Don’t try to do everything at once before you allow yourself a break.
There are more things you can accomplish at night than during the morning. Night shifts, for one, have fewer admissions and almost have no patients for discharge. You can use the extra time to attend to your patients’ needs and write everything down before you take a break. If you do the same routine during your morning shift, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to take your lunch until it’s already dinner time.
“During the morning, I try to complete as many tasks as I can before it’s lunch time. But when it’s break time, I make it a point to stop and eat my meal. You tend to get so busy when you’re running a morning shift that eating on time becomes a struggle. Before you think you’re free to eat, it’s already time for your patients’ 12-noon meds,” a veteran ward nurse shared.
3. Know when your doctors do their rounds and make sure to accompany them.
Making rounds with the physician aren’t only a good way to build a trusting and professional relationship with them but it can also serve as a good way to update yourself with the changes in your patient’s plan of care. During rounds, make it a point to get everything you need from the doctors. You wouldn’t want to call them back a few hours later just to verify something you could have easily asked while they were there. It also makes things a lot easier for the night shift.
4. Chart as accurately as you can.
The morning shift can make it hard for you to catch up on your charting. Aside from doctors making their rounds, there are also patients that need to be admitted and discharged. With so many things to do, you can easily miss out important things.
“I try hard to chart in real time. If things start to get busy, I make sure to jot down the important things first and then just catch up on the other details as soon as I can. No nurse would want an incomplete and inaccurate chart,” a NICU nurse said.
5. Remember your team.
Your CNAs may not get the orientation they need for the day from the last shift. Make it your responsibility to update them on who needs to be turned and when and who needs bath and assistance. Aside from that, they can give you an extra hand, orienting them also builds a better rapport and working relationship. With proper delegation, they also make work easier on your end.