The nurses play an important role in health care, we can say that they are the backbone of any healthcare facility. They have to perform multifarious duties in 24×7 days in day and night shifts. Although, there is not much difference in the duties and responsibilities of the nurses working in day & night shifts.
However, the night shifts are challenging to success and the ability to maintain physical and emotional health. Moreover the family relies on individual more than the paycheck which is higher than that the day shift nurse gets. But in the long run, they have to find the ways as to how to manage their daily lifestyle when working in night shifts.
The following few steps if taken will go a long way in solving the problems faced by the nurses performing the night shifts :-
Setting the Sleeping Schedule
As per guidelines issued by National Sleep Foundation (NSF) the bed time and wake time on all the seven days of the week should be the same.
The nurses must adapt their body in such a way that they fall asleep for at least 8 hours during day without any break, because even though the work may be slower at night but they cannot sleep on job, the patients need utmost care during day and night. The nurses should therefore use eye masks, ear plugs and dark curtains in the rooms where they sleep to escape from light and noise.
Lighter and Healthier Meals
NSF also recommends that in order to overcome fatigue the nurses should take coffee, tea or cola in an interval of 3 to 4 hours.
During night shifts the nurse should take smaller but frequent light meals, which should provide energy and not sleepiness, like salads, nuts, fruit etc.The night shift nurses should always monitor their health. As per NSF the night shift nurses are prone to the risk of catching diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, menstrual irregularities and weight gain. The risk in their case is more than that to their counterparts working in day shifts.
Alert During Wee Hours of Morning
As per NSF, night shift nurses usually feel fatigue and drowsiness around 4am they should therefore engage themselves in some short of exercise like going up and down stairs at that time to overcome fatigue.
The work environment during night shifts is totally different than the day shift because there are a very few managers, directors physicians present during night and also they do not have to tackle patients family. Most of the patients are asleep consequently the nurses much idle time due to which the night shift is felt longer. The nurses should therefore have a god bonding with coworkers in addition they should ask for extra work which could help the day shift workers. Moreover the night shift nurses feel isolated from family and friends they should remain in touch with loved ones through texts emails and phone calls.
Careful While Driving
At last but not the least, the most important factor that is to keep in view is the time when the night shift ends. It is the time when the night shift nurse feels the most drowsiness, and the Institute of Medicines report on the “Sleep Disorders and Deprivation” reveals that 20% of the serious car crash injuries are linked to sleep driver, as such night shift nurses should avoid while coming back to home after night shift they should prefer public transport as far as possible.