How do you center yourself before a shift?

  1. Hello All,

    I am a third year student, I am about to start another preceptorship, and then an undergraduate position for the rest of the summer. I can get fair bit nervous, distracted, and out of focus (Doing 10 things at once and getting nowhere). How do you start your day focused and relaxed, and maintain that?
  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   RNperdiem
    My day starts the night before with an early bedtime for a good night's sleep.
    The day of work begins with a filling breakfast(I like oatmeal) that will keep my energy level up until lunchtime.
    I make sure to have lunch packed the night before and clothes laid out to keep the morning tempo calm.
    I give myself extra time to get to work so there is no stress about running late.
    My favorite CD's are in the car and what I play depends on my mood.
    Maintaining that feeling at work is not always possible.
    My best advise to avoid that nervous and distracted feeling is to eat lunch even in lunch is 5 minutes long. Low blood sugar can make you feel totally wilted and slows down your thinking.
  4. by   firechalice
    I try to make a routine that begins with ironing my clothes, then taking a hot shower with nice music playing (usually gospel or something very upbeat). I always pray while in the shower (a form of meditating for me). I then grab a quick breakfast like cereal, fruit, or something. I buy one cigarrette (they sell singles near me) and smoke half of it on the way to work (it's like my morning cup of joe) while listening to the Tom Joyner Morning Show on the radio.

    It's amazing how we become creatures of habit. I feel that since I have become a nurse (or just getting older), this tendency for routines has only deepened.
  5. by   Tait
    I think the main idea is to keep a routine, so that you know you are coming in as ready as you can be.

    I work nights, so I make sure I get a good day's sleep and then shower up about an hour before I leave. I take time to get my name tag on and watch, and then pack my lunch. I have a bite to eat, kiss my DH goodbye (or as of late chat to him on the phone for 5 minutes, since he has a longer commute now that we have our first house) and then head out an hour before my shift. This keeps me calm in traffic.

    I generally arrive about 30 minutes early for work and then put my things away, sit down and read over my papers. I love having a little extra time to peruse my papers and really get a good handle on my patients.

    For me this simple little routine tends to eliminate the stress and anxiety I often feel before work!

    Good luck to you!

  6. by   Straydandelion
    I am centered if I have enough sleep and don't ask for more then that.
  7. by   SteffersRN87
    I always get a good night's rest (or day's). No less than 8 hours. I pick out my uniform for the next day and throw it in the dryer then lay it out. I have my work bag ready to go. So when I wake up in the morning, I am ready and all I have to do is shower and get ready. I hate starting my day running around the house looking for things or trying to pick out a uniform to wear. It tends to set the tone for the rest of the day.

    I have about a 45 minute commute to work. This is plenty of time to eat a quick morning snack and relax with some music before the grind.

    Once at work, I get report and then make my "master list". On a blank piece of paper, I write each patient's name, reason they are there (I work outpatient btw, but we do get some inpatient overflow), any fluids, med times, and anything that needs done during my shift. This is a quick way for me to know what needs to be done and I don't have to constantly flip through our patient care summaries. Once my to do list is yellowed out with a hi-lighter... it's time to go home!!!
  8. by   hotmama2be
    When your body is physically centered your mind will follow right behind it . Just do what makes you get up and go .... get sleep , some food in your stomach. Walking helps me gather myself and get my witts back in check. I have a daughter who is will soon be a year old . And always find myself going a mile a minute , but thats when I have to just breath and regroup . It will all come to you in time good luck !!!!
  9. by   NurseCard
    Let's see... I work nights... I usually try to take about an hour's nap before I get ready for work... and sometimes DD curls up in bed with me and goes to sleep for the night, which is really relaxing. Then I get up, shower, put on my clothes which I have HOPEFULLY already laid out nicely pressed... then I find my name badge, kiss DH goodbye, and off I go. I *ALWAYS* have some sort of coffee drink on the way to work; that is my relaxing ritual that I ABSOLUTELY cannot skip. =) Sometimes I will have already made myself a drink at home before I leave; sometimes I'll swing by Starbucks, or sometimes I'll just go by the store and get me a coffee drink; usually either a Starbucks Doubleshot or a a Rockstar Coffee drink.

    I have about a forty minute drive to work, which I love and wouldn't hardly have it any other way. I'm usually either listening to one of my favorite CD's, or the Delilah show.

    When I get to work, the ritual kinda continues, since I work a rather slow paced job that doesn't really pick up until around 6 in the morning. I get to work, get report, count the narc drawer, and then before I sit down and get buried in all the paperwork that I do, I go make myself another fresh cup of coffee.

    I'm relaxing right now just thinking about my relaxing rituals. =)
  10. by   ACRN06
    Ah, "centered"... sounds so zen

    I think routine helps. Its comforting in a way. Theres so much craziness/randomness/can't see it coming/be ready for anything type stuff at work that routine where you can get it helps.

    My own: wake up, shower, put on some tunes, dress, anticipate order at starbucks (I only drink it pre-work, rarely on non-work days), drive, make order at starbucks, drive to work, "load up" my pockets once there (pens, trauma shears, gum---the 3 must haves, I throw in extras as needed) enjoy the 5-10 min before I walk out of the breakroom sipping on my starbucks mentally preparing, say a quick prayer if i think of it, take a quick look at the waiting room and department on the computer, throw in an extra prayer if its bad, take a deep breath, and go.

    And those times you said you feel "distracted/ out of focus" are usually caused by getting overwhelmed by how much you have to do. Thats when you STOP. Take 5 seconds, breathe, realize that you are one person, you can only do what you can do, prioritize your tasks, and restart, knocking them out one by one. Its much more effecient to do your tasks deliberately and completely than trying to do 100 things at once sloppily, incomplete, haphazardly, and stressed... u know?
  11. by   Roy Fokker
    * I step into every shift with a smile on my face. Greet everyone I meet!

    'Today will be a good day!'

    * By-and-large, I let "bygones be bygones". Each day is a new beginning.
    * I try to get a decent meal in before I head into work - as chaotic as the ER is, who knows when you'll get to eat again? IMO, a "hungry nurse" is a "distracted, cranky nurse".
    * As much as possible, I try to have good music playing.

  12. by   ScrubMan0416
    I get to work 20-30 minutes early, sit in the breakroom, or the nurses station, and observe the shift I will be taking over for about 15 minutes. I gather the appropriate information from the way they walk, jog, or run, down the hall. I then print off a fresh shift report page and prepare myself mentally for the day/night ahead.
  13. by   Midwest4me
    (quote nursecard) ..."i have about a forty minute drive to work, which i love and wouldn't hardly have it any other way. i'm usually either listening to one of my favorite cd's, or the delilah show. "
    wow..this brought a reminiscing smile to my face....i remember listening to delilah years ago when i worked in corrections driving the patrol car around the prison grounds late at night...(my husband hated me working that job).that wonderful late-night talk show gal delilah sure had a way with her callers...relaxing, reassuring. so many touching calls! she's not on the airways out in my part of the world anymore; i wondered if she still had a show...
  14. by   truern
    To get "centered" I always try to get to work early. Nothing worse to start your shift than coming in late and not having time to catch your breath before jumping into the fray!

    I also get my scrubs, etc ready before going to bed so I don't have to scramble trying to put something together.