What is a Nursing Rotational Schedule and How Does It Affect Nurses?

Estimated read time 3 min read

In many ways, nursing is a whole different world from the one that the rest of the population experiences. One of the major ways that it differs from everyone else’s is the way that nurses are scheduled. Nurses are far more likely to envy the hours of a regular job than vice-versa.

The regular job that most people have is a simple, nine-to-five shift Monday to Friday. There are people with more difficult shifts that might be on evenings and weekends, but their schedules are usually set according to certain rules. Not only that, but most workers can state that they can’t work on nights, weekends or certain other undesirable times.

This is not so for nurses. They can work a twelve-hour shift during the night one day and another twelve-hour shift during the morning and afternoon the next. As a result, life can be very hectic for nurses who need to cope with shifting work schedules.

Here are a few ways to make that shift work a little easier:

Find a way to get sleep whenever you can. This might seem like an obvious tip, but it’s also one of the most important. The more worn down a body gets from lack of sleep, the harder it is to function. The idea of simply doing without sleep is a sure way for accidents to happen both on the job and at home, or worse, on the way home.

Shift work does throw off sleeping patterns, but it’s important to remember that the body still needs sleep and to get a good eight hours in whenever one can. The consequences of not doing so results in sleep deficits which lead to health problems and no job is worth that. Find the time to sleep!

Keep hydrated. Everyone always remembers to grab that cup of coffee or espresso, but they rarely think about that bottle of water. The body needs water more than caffeine or even food. The truth is the body is actually designed to work without food for short periods of time, but dehydration is something that it can’t handle for very long. So, always have a bottle of water on hand!

Keep yourself organized. The biggest issue with shift rotation is having to keep it all straight! This is a far more difficult job for a nurse than most people realize because they usually don’t have the time to organize everything, but it still must be done.

This is the point where technology becomes a nurse’s best friend. Getting a daily planner and rotation manager app is the best way to ensure that shifts aren’t mixed up or missed. This one is a no-brainer as a tired mind is more likely to miss a shift or mix one up for another. So, those apps take care of the organization and allow nurses to concentrate on what they need to do: nursing!

There are many things that a nurse has to do in their complex home and work lives, but at least these few things ideas help to make things easier on them.

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