The Night-shift Nurse’s Work-life Balance – Tips for Staying Happy and Healthy
By: Amanda May
Amanda May has been working 12 hour day and night shifts since she started working with Pro Med in 2007. Amanda lives in Sebring, FL and has worked at different hospitals for us throughout the state. In addition to working for Pro Med, Amanda is also a Flight Nurse providing critical care transport.
While the 12-hour night shift may feel daunting to some, I have been working this oft-dreaded shift for the last decade and couldn’t be happier. I have more time at home with my family, higher pay, and fewer management responsibilities at the hospital. Striking this valuable work-life balance can be challenging at first, but once you adapt to your schedule being flipped, and follow a few simple suggestions for staying happy and healthy as a night nurse, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
Here are a few of my tips and tricks for keeping a healthy work-life balance when nighttime is your work time:
Focus on the pros. We all know that nights can be challenging, but keeping the advantages front of mind can make all the difference. While nighttime staffing is significantly lighter than days, there is a close-knit feel to the team. The pace can be slower and there is more time to connect, both about patients and to support each other. You are rewarded financially for the perceived inconvenience of night work. If you have family at home, you are there to see your kids off to school every day, and still have time to rest and exercise in time to feel good going into work at night.
Decompress during time off; take care of YOU. For me, the key is exercise and eating well. I know I work hard, so I’m not afraid to pamper myself when needed. Reboot from a long, stressful week with some time at the beach. Treat yourself to a yoga class. Even simple things like going for a long walk, reading a book, or enjoying a movie can make a world of difference. You’ve earned it. Do whatever it is you need to do to take care of your body and mind, and the stress will start to slip away.
Create a weekly well-being checklist for yourself. Add this list to your weekly routine when you work long shifts. Mine is listed below. All of them are important to my personal well-being.
- Make sure you are getting enough sleep each day
- Fuel your body – eat well and enjoy it
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake
- If you feel ill, see a doctor
- Live mindfully and focus on gratitude
For all of us, it is vital to have both a healthy mind and body to perform at our best. Keeping yourself happy and healthy is the most important part of being a successful night shift nurse.
Want to learn more about the Pro Med job opportunities available to nurses with more than one year of experience? Read more here, and apply today!