Surviving 12 Hour Shifts

Hello all! For this post, I want to share some of my tips for surviving a 12 hour nursing shift on a unit. I will be sharing my tips for night shift in another post!


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  • Get some rest.

This is important. More than likely your shift will start at 0700 or 0600. My shifts began at 0700. I liked to arrive at 0630, so I would wake up around 0500 since I live fifteen minutes away.

  • Pack food/snacks.

Prep and pack! I make sure to always have breakfast, even if I have to eat on my way to the hospital. I also make sure to pack up my lunchbox the night before. I make sure to meal prep protein-packed meals, as well as additional snacks and mints. Don’t forget your water bottle!

  • Arrive to work early.

As nurses, or even techs you receive report in the morning. From a nursing perspective, I have found it is easier to arrive to work at least fifteen minutes ahead to look in your patient’s charts and get a general idea of all my patients. This allows you to start off smoothly and garner any questions for the nurses reporting off.

  • Pace yourself.

This may seem silly, but remember to breath during the shift. If you work on a floor/unit, keep a “brain sheet” in your pocket or on your clipboard. I keep mine on my foldable clipboard and slip it in my scrub pocket. Take advantage of the times when you sit and chart. It may be the only time you get to sit down! Also, try to chart as much as you can during the shift. Do not wait until the end of the shift to chart if you can help it.


Those are the tips I have for surviving nursing shifts. Feel free to share yours in the comments!






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