Being productive after clinical days


Generally, I study every single day except Saturdays & Sundays (my only days I schedule myself "off" from studying). I always write out a schedule of chapters to read everyday, including after clinical days. Lately, I've been having trouble doing anything productive after 12 hour clinical days. I get home and I just go straight to sleep, physically and mentally exhausted. Now, I'm use to working 16 hour shifts back to back every weekend as a medical receptionist (job duties include just taking vitals & accuchecks for 16 hours & charting it in the computer) & before that 16-18 hour shifts(open to close) on my feet all day as a bartender/waitress so the long shifts don't bother me. I actually perfer them. I guess I'm not use to all the manual work of lifting and turning patients, or maybe critical thinking is what's wearing me down. I'm fine during clinicals, as I load up on multiple energy drinks and coffee & seem to have endless energy those 12 hours, but as soon as I get home I crash. I'm talking as soon as I walk in the door, just going to bed for 10+ hours, skipping dinner because I'm that exhausted. Does anybody have any tips that keeps them productive after clinical days? I'm guessing what I'm experiencing is mostly mentally exhausted. I've never had a job where I constantly had to critically think before. (Previous jobs only required a few brain cells compared to my clinicals. Lol)

any advice appreciated!


40 Posts

When you find out let me know, lol.

I can never do I intense studying after clinical so I reserve the time after clinical to complete busywork assignments that don't take too much brainwork. I also sometimes do practice questions. I just know if I tried to read anything after clinical I'd fall asleep.

Side note: Right when you get home do not sit/lay down anywhere immediately go to the shower. Make a meal in advance so it is ready to eat. Bring your work out into a main area (not your bedroom) and sit while doing work. Laying down will only make you fall asleep.

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JBudd, MSN

1 Article; 3,836 Posts

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching. Has 42 years experience.

Long 12's just take getting used to. After a hard shift, all of us feel like crashing. If you can plan your papers and studying out, do as much as you can before clinical days so that you don't have to do much after a shift.

Specializes in Critical Care, Med-Surg, Psych, Geri, LTC, Tele,.

I almost always crashed after clinicals. Perhaps my brain could stay on long enough to supervise my kid playing outside or to make dinner, but I found that homework and care planning just wasn't going to happen after clinicals.

On regular 8 hr lecture days, I could drink an energy drink afterward once I got home and was able to cook and clean. But only with an energy drink.

About 1/3 to halfway through my program I stopped trying to be productive after clinicals. I scheduled my homework and care plans for weekends and during clinicals. That's what worked for me.

RN403, BSN, RN

1 Article; 1,068 Posts

Also, try to avoid loading up on energy drinks and caffeine. They might work wonders during your clinical shift, but, are probably contributing to your "crash" at the end of the day.


281 Posts

Has 5 years experience.

Get a Crock pot and always have a good, hearty something ready to eat when you get home. If you are using so many energy drinks to get through the day it's likely your sugar levels crash.

Whispera, MSN, RN

3,458 Posts

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

Clinicals are incredibly tiring. Give yourself permission to collapse afterwards for awhile. Schedule your other activities other times than after clinicals.

Loading up on caffeine drinks can be involved in your crash. When the effects of the caffeine wear off, it's likely for a person to feel very very tired. Think about cutting back on those drinks a bit.


3,677 Posts

Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology. Has 2 years experience.

You're able to take weekends off from studying?? Lucky you! There was no way I could have done that!

After clinicals, even with just 8 hour days, I was too pooped to do much of anything productive, aside from household stuff (I am a mom) like cooking dinner, getting my kiddo to bed, cleaning, that sort of thing. I was mentally exhausted from clinicals, and even if I tried, I COULD NOT study or get started on my clinical reports. If you're sacking out right after clinicals, you need that rest. Allow yourself that time.

And yes, ditch all of those energy drinks and such. A coffee or two is one thing, but multiple energy drinks is really hard on the system in general, and will definitely lead to the crash you're experiencing. Wean yourself off of these.

Specializes in Emergency Department. Has 8 years experience.

Between doing clinical and working full-time, my clinical days were quite long. Typically I'd be up 18-20 hours on those days. I just did what I had to do and managed to remain productive. I also didn't drink a whole lot of coffee so I was able to avoid the caffeine crash. I never did drink any of those energy drinks for the same reason... avoiding the crash. I also made sure that I had plenty of relatively high protein, low calorie snacks around so I wouldn't get too hungry nor experience the other annoying problem of sugar spikes from sugary snacks (oh so tasty!) and the crash that accompanies that...