Nurses are the backbone of the medical profession. While nursing is a rewarding career, stressful working conditions can cause anxiety levels to increase among nurses. These feelings of anxiety often escalate
before and after shifts. If you are a new nurse or an experienced one, here are a few tips that can help reduce anxiety levels before and after the shift:
1. Prepare the day before
One of the best things you can do to cope with pre and post-shift anxiety is to prepare the day before. This means getting everything ready that you need for your shift, including your uniform scrubs, equipment, and tools that you need to fulfil everyday duties and responsibilities. Also, create a to-do list with the highest priority tasks featured on the top. The tasks could be filling in electronic MAR charts or preparing monthly audit reports using the eMAR chart. This will help you to feel more organised and in control, and will make it less likely that you’ll forget something important.
2. Get adequate sleep
Another helpful tip is to make sure that you get enough rest before your shift. This means going to bed at a reasonable time and getting up early enough to have a healthy meal before you leave for work. Here are a few tips to help you get adequate sleep:
- Create an environment conducive to restful sleep. This becomes all the more important if you are doing night shifts. Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet. Seek cooperation from family members so that your sleep is uninterrupted.
- Establish a sleep routine. Though going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can be difficult because of the changing shift timings, you can get a restful sleep by establishing a sleep routine. A bedtime routine is a set of activities you perform in the same order. Whether you are doing the night shift or day shift, sticking to a sleep routine can help the body sleep better.
- While drinking caffeinated beverages can help you get through a long shift, too much caffeine can adversely affect sleep quality.
- Get some exercise. This can help you to fall asleep and stay asleep.
3. Get to work early
If you’re feeling anxious before or after your shift, one of the best things you can do is get to work early. Arriving early allows you to settle in and get organised before your shift begins.
4. Make your commute time fun
After a long day at work, commuting home can be tiring. However, you can make the commute time fun by listening to uplifting music. You can also use this time to catch up with family or friends over the phone.
5. Practice breathing exercises meditation, or during your scheduled breaks
If you’re feeling anxious during your shift, use your scheduled breaks to relax yourself. Try practising relaxation techniques such as deep breathing. There are several apps that offer guided meditation; you can use them to slow down your racing mind and be in the moment for a few minutes.
6. Seek help from seniors
If work-related issues are causing stress, it’s important that you speak to your supervisor. He or she can offer advice on dealing with specific work-related situations and provide the support you need.