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5 Steps to Preparing for Your Shift as a Registered Nurse

Preparing for your shift as a nurseOnce you’ve been working as a registered nurse for a few months, there will probably be one thing you’ll have in common with every person you graduated with during your accelerated nursing program – you will all be a bit overwhelmed. This is likely because working full time as a registered nurse is a busy job that requires a lot of time and concentration. But you have made it this far and graduated from the Marian University nursing program, now you must focus on minimizing stress between shifts so you can give work your all. In order to have a less stressful shift, we recommend following these tips toward preparing for your shift so you will be ready for whatever the next twelve hours brings.

  1. Pack Your Lunch and Snacks: The last thing you want to be worried about halfway through your shift is where you are going to order your meal from and when it will come. Your body is doing a lot during your shift like running, lifting and standing for long periods of time. It is important to stay fueled and focused, so we recommend packing your meals and snacks the night or morning before your shift. That way, you can grab a snack as you need the energy and eat your lunch during your break without having to worry that the second your pizza delivery comes, someone will code red. This small step in preparing for you shift can save you time and also keep you energized. For a list of healthy meal choices, click here.
  2. Get in a Weekly Routine of Chores: You know the days you’re going to work in enough time to prepare for the next week. Therefore, instead of scrambling to do things on your days off, make a list of chores to complete each week. Be sure to include things like: washing your scrubs (click here for tips on how to make your scrubs look their best), going shopping, cleaning the house, etc. Make sure to try and use the time before and after shifts to take care of errands while you are already out, that way you can enjoy time at home during your time off. It’s also a good idea to do meal prep when you can to make meal planning easier.
  3. Get in the Right Mindset Before Your Shift: It’s true that if you start the day bad, it won’t get much better. That is why it’s so important to stay positive before your shift so that you have enough good energy to get you through whatever the shift may bring. Try eating a good breakfast (or dinner if you work the night shift) and exercising if you can. Be sure to stretch before and during your shift to make sure you are limbered up and ready to spend the next stretch of time on your feet. Yoga is a great way to prepare your mind and body for your nursing shift. Try this yoga routine before your next shift to center your mind and body.
  4. Gather Your Supplies: Before clocking into a shift, be sure to gather the supplies you will need throughout the shift so you don’t have to interrupt your work flow to grab a pen or notepad. Make sure you have your stethoscope, Maglite, charts and other supplies such as dressing scissors, IV parts, tape and alcohol pads readily available and be sure not to lend out your pen so you don’t have to waste time searching for another.
  5. Be Ready to Work as You Go: It is a good idea to complete documentation after you finish with a patient and do “real time documentation” so you are not stuck on the computer completing charts at the end of your shift. Also, carry around a notepad and make notes as you report on the patient so that you are sure not to leave anything out when reporting later. Just be sure to keep these notes in a safe place.

By following these five tips, you will prepare yourself to have a successful, less stressful shift. Getting ready for your shift ahead of time will allow you to focus on the tasks at hand and remain calm in situations demanding your full attention. If you are not yet a nurse but wish to become one, please contact us at the Marian University accelerated nursing program by filling out this form for our Indianapolis program or this form for our Nashville program.

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