Double Shifts: Your tips and tricks for getting through it

  1. 0
    We all hate 'em but I've never known a nurse who hasn't been talked into working extra at least once in her career.

    What ONE THING do you recommend to get through it alive?
  2. 29 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    suck up to your charge nurse so you get the same assignment for the other half of your shift lol

    But seriously, the only thing that helps me is making fun of anything i can get my mind on. When you remain in a positive mood it is easier to get through the day.
    natasha
  4. 0
    This doesn't necessarily translate to all unit environments, but in my ER we frequently make some switch of assignments for those working 12 or 16 hrs. Being able to sit down in triage for 4 hrs. can really help, and switching assignments and getting a fresh set of challenges can elicit a burst of energy along the way that helps.
  5. 0
    I'm not sure what constitutes a double shift...16 hours?

    Here's how I would get through the last 4 hours of a 16 hour shift; clock out and go home. Maybe partake of a little libation. A 16 hour shift is unethical and reflects irresponsible management.

    I work my shifts in clusters like a lot of RN's...meaning, I work three 12-hour shifts in a row, and the only shift I'll agree to stay over is my last shift of the three, and no more than a couple hours.

    I won't even work 12 hours of OT on an off-day; I limit my OT shifts to 4-8 hours. Now some folks might consider me a primadonna, but I worked an average of 500 hours per year overtime at my last job, and it took me 7 years to realize that I was killing myself at the convenience of others. The only person who will take measures to ensure my life happiness is me, so I drew a clear line in the sand when it comes to working extra; I will not be abused or place myself in a situation where I have to look for coping mechanisms just to survive a shift. Neither should you. We need to take care of ourselves.
  6. 0
    Quote from Shamira Aizza
    I'm not sure what constitutes a double shift...16 hours?

    Here's how I would get through the last 4 hours of a 16 hour shift; clock out and go home. Maybe partake of a little libation. A 16 hour shift is unethical and reflects irresponsible management.

    I work my shifts in clusters like a lot of RN's...meaning, I work three 12-hour shifts in a row, and the only shift I'll agree to stay over is my last shift of the three, and no more than a couple hours.

    I won't even work 12 hours of OT on an off-day; I limit my OT shifts to 4-8 hours. Now some folks might consider me a primadonna, but I worked an average of 500 hours per year overtime at my last job, and it took me 7 years to realize that I was killing myself at the convenience of others. The only person who will take measures to ensure my life happiness is me, so I drew a clear line in the sand when it comes to working extra; I will not be abused or place myself in a situation where I have to look for coping mechanisms just to survive a shift. Neither should you. We need to take care of ourselves.

    So your tip is Just Say No.

    However, some of us actually want to work a little extra and welcome the chance to make a few extra bucks.

    If I'm working a double and I know I'll have the same patients, I make sure I take my breaks off the floor so I can check in with my family, get a bite, and freshen up in the bathroom. It's amazing how something as simple as a mini-cleanup at the sink between shifts can make me feel 100% better.
  7. 0
    I personally don't really do this all that often - maybe once a year. However my best advice is to stay hydrated. Try to avoid the urge to eat sweets or drink caffeine bc it will only make you crush soon after.

    I find doing an extra 8 hr shift as OT is much more manageable than staying for a 16.
  8. 0
    Quote from Angie O'Plasty, RN
    So your tip is Just Say No.

    However, some of us actually want to work a little extra and welcome the chance to make a few extra bucks.

    If I'm working a double and I know I'll have the same patients, I make sure I take my breaks off the floor so I can check in with my family, get a bite, and freshen up in the bathroom. It's amazing how something as simple as a mini-cleanup at the sink between shifts can make me feel 100% better.
    Super...so it sounds like you've already figured it out. I thought you were looking for opinions from other RN's...my bad.

    If you really "want to work a little extra" and make a few bucks, then that motivation should contribute to your capacity to cope. Reinforcing my other post, I can a few extra bucks just by picking up 4-8 hours on occasion during an off-day solely at my convenience, make just as much or more if incentive is offered, and not have to worry about seeking out a mechanism to survive a 16 hour shift; my position is that RN's should make the market accomodate them instead of accomodating the market.
  9. 0
    I have had to work 24 hours in a row twice in my career. The first time we had an ice storm and we couldn't get home and naturally the next shift couldn't get in either. Believe it or not, administration stayed over, put on scrubs, and let us take naps.

    The second time I was doing private duty and my relief never showed and the agency said they couldn't send anyone else. The DON should have relieved me but didn't. I was lucky the patient was very, very nice. Let me sleep 11-7.

    I would never work more than 16 hours by choice.
  10. 0
    Quote from Shamira Aizza
    I'm not sure what constitutes a double shift...16 hours?

    Here's how I would get through the last 4 hours of a 16 hour shift; clock out and go home. Maybe partake of a little libation. A 16 hour shift is unethical and reflects irresponsible management.

    I work my shifts in clusters like a lot of RN's...meaning, I work three 12-hour shifts in a row, and the only shift I'll agree to stay over is my last shift of the three, and no more than a couple hours.

    I won't even work 12 hours of OT on an off-day; I limit my OT shifts to 4-8 hours. Now some folks might consider me a primadonna, but I worked an average of 500 hours per year overtime at my last job, and it took me 7 years to realize that I was killing myself at the convenience of others. The only person who will take measures to ensure my life happiness is me, so I drew a clear line in the sand when it comes to working extra; I will not be abused or place myself in a situation where I have to look for coping mechanisms just to survive a shift. Neither should you. We need to take care of ourselves.
    This is good for you but not everyone has a choice. At least, they don't know or believe they do. Some places mandate (force) OT and threaten you with write-up and firing if you don't stay. They threaten to charge you with abandonment and report you to the licensing board, they use it against you at evaluation time.

    I do agree with your view, I'm just saying it is a hard thing.
  11. 0
    Quote from Shamira Aizza
    A 16 hour shift is unethical and reflects irresponsible management.
    I disagree.

    I work the Baylor Plan, which involves having Monday through Friday off, and working two 16 hour double shifts on Saturday and Sunday. I am paid for 40 hours and receive full benefits.

    Some of us make the conscious, willful decision to work double shifts.


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