Quote from sandyfeet
Is this right after your lunch break? Is this a point in your shift when all of your tasks are done and you have a little downtime? The reason I ask is because for me on night shift, I try to always keep moving. If my patients are all dialed in, I'm checking with my co-workers to see what I can help out with. If they don't need anything, I'm restocking. You get the picture. I find that my nights where I sit around is when I feel the most exhausted and struggle to stay awake on the drive home.
This happens on my floor at about 0130-0230. That is when i start feeling the "nurse creep" syndrome. That is the specific time I usually drink one cup of coffee, eat a quick snack or a full lunch if time permits, then I go off searching for things to be done. This is how I became proficient at a few things like IVs.
Here's a suggestion list of things I like to do at this time as long as 100% of my charting and patient care is done and all I have left is morning meds, vitals, and I/Os for 0400 to put in:
1) Who needs an IV started? Any of them about to expire (we have a 4-day limit on ours).
2) Any bedside procedures that need to be taken care of like NGT or Foley insertion?
3) Who has any wounds that need doing? I'll do them all.
4) Does any PCA need help with a bed bath that has a patient who also needs wound care?
5) Does anyone have a pt going down for a procedure in the AM and need a Pre-Op checklist filled out?
6) Can anyone use help with an Admission History/Assessment?
Honestly, there's always one or two peers that are dying under a heavy load and when you have time to spare, I always donate the time. The first three things, however, also are wins for you. I have gotten so much experience starting IVs over the last few weeks since I started doing this. Last two-shifts I got ten out of ten. You can gather experience, confidence, and improve your skills if you can donate your time to doing this around the floor on the down time.
Not only is this good experience for you, it also shows your friends that you're not afraid to lend a hand and do some dirty work when you've got down time. When you're new to a floor, this also helps to instill a sense of teamwork and it'll let you know they'll be there to help you when you're drowning
Just my two-cents, hope it helps!
A Fellow Nightshift Nurse