12hr shifts

  1. The facilities I have worked at all have 12 hours shifts. I know that I am not as sharp mentally at the end of a shift as I am at the beginning. We are rarely able to take breaks and lunch is generally 15 min or so. What do you all do to keep yourselves sharp for a whole shift?
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    About greyhorse

    Joined: Dec '02; Posts: 19
    L&D RN for 5 yrs, starting in NICU


  3. by   KailuaNurse
    Greyhorse, that's awful that you aren't able to take breaks and that lunch is only 15 minutes. Are you able to get overtime for lunches not taken or not taken for the full amount? That is how the facility that I work at does things.

    I find that the way to help myself keep sharp at around 5 or 6 pm is to have some time of juice drink. Ususally a cup of apple juice. Does your facility let you folks keep water bottles at the nurses station? You could keep an extra of juice. Freee it the night before so it is still cold by the time you need. Of course this does not help completely, but I find that the little sugar boost helps with my concentration. Even so I am counting the minutes down for the end of the shift.

    Hope this helps!
  4. by   dawngloves
    Pace yourself. I like to get physical stuff out of the way (baths, stocking carts and rooms) early in the shift. Get the must do stuff out of the way (assesments meds, emergent things) Then sit down and take a breather and write notes.
    It's all about using your time wisely.
  5. by   renerian
    I like you, rarely got breaks and by the end of 12 that turned into 14 I was whipped especially after two in a row. Good suggestions given.

  6. by   iceNICUnurse
    If things are buissy and I cant take a break- that happens a lot- I try to at least go to the toilet( you get toilet breaks I hope!) and sit down for a minute an take a deep breath. Then I wash my face with cold water and feel all fresh an new!!!
    And another trick if you are tired...change shoes...I keep an extra pair in my locker.
  7. by   live4today
    I work 12 hour dayshifts, and getting through two twelves in a row is all I can muster. I'm a zombie by the middle of the second twelve hour shift. A snicker's bar, a cold bottle of water, and something to laugh about help me get through the second twelve hour shift.

    My first day off after working two twelves in a row consist largely of rest, rest, and more rest the majority of that day. Later that afternoon, I go out for a meal, run a few errands, and make sure I'm home early enough to rest, rest, rest some more.

    By the time I have to return to work to do another 12 hour shift, I'm semi-rested, and keep telling myself "This day will end, then I'll be off a few days." Whatever gets one through those long painful shifts is worth trying.
  8. by   Burr
    I agree that 12 hour shifts are draining - but prefer them to 10 or 8 hour shifts. I also like them 2 or 3 in a row. I only work night shift though and when I am on 1 off 1 on 1 it is really a killer. Those who do our schedule or those working days have no idea just how hard it is to work 1 on 1 off 1 on on nights. I do not receive differential pay for nights - I keep out of trouble that way. I believe in patient care - not the extra jobs which are meaningless and are created just to look busy. Tonight we have an empty board - but I have workload management for the month to catch-up on, breastfeeding class materials, child-birth class materials, etc. These are all non paid jobs that need attention. Thanks
  9. by   greyhorse
    Thanks for everyones comments and suggestions! I have started eating a snack in the afternoon, and though we are not allowed to have drinks at the nurses desk, I have a lg cup in the locker room/report room and am able to get in there for a drink quite often.

    I prefer the 12 hour shifts, just don't like feeling 'dull' like I often do the last couple of hours (and yes they are often 14 hr shifts!)

  10. by   HazeK
    try a protein snack about 4-5pm
    wash your face in cool water
    spritz some cologne on
    try a Listermint Strip on your tongue!

    I empathize....age 52...obese....22 years in L&D....
    12 hours are way, way LONG

  11. by   Rapheal
    I like to change my shoes. This helps because your feet feel really relieved and this gives back a little bit of energy. Also I agree that taking a bathroom break and getting something to drink helps too.
  12. by   teeituptom
    Eat Pizza and Burritos will keep you strong and moving
  13. by   SmilingBluEyes
    OH -----nix the cologne, please in the hospital---nothing sets me and many patients off more than perfume/cologne on the unit. BUT all the other suggestions are WONDERFUL. what do I do? I brush my teeth at about 4-4:30 a.m. into my 12 hr night shift and that SURE helps me re-energize. also a liter of ice water does wonders, if you can possibly get it in. Dehydration really drains you at work and even tho pressed for time, I do keep water to sip thru the night-----my goal is always 2 liters per shift. Eat something high in protein and low in refined sugar. It's so helpful in keeping your blood sugar in check. Sometimes, if desperate, I do step outside for just 5 minutes to get a fresh breeze of air. Hey, we Got to do what works for ya!