7 lifestyle choices that can help you protect your livelihood

Nursing can be rewarding, but it can also be hard, draining work. Nurses who work overnights or long, 12-hour shifts often struggle to maintain their energy, and they risk real trouble if they start making drowsy mistakes or fall asleep on the job.

Nurses and hospitals have known about the dangers associated with long shifts and overnights for ages. They have been well-documented, and the fatigue that nurses suffer on these shifts can lead to lapses in memory and attention, poor problem-solving, poor judgment and the types of mistakes that may lead to a “letter of concern” from the PHMP.

Staying alert is a full-time job

You need to stay alert at work because your patients are counting on you, and you may lose your license and your job if you ever fall asleep. But staying awake and staying alert aren’t just for the workday. Your energy levels are the result of lifestyle choices you make every day, including:

  • Prioritize your sleep schedule. Most people need 7—9 hours of sleep, and if you go without the amount of sleep you need, your sleep deficit will drag you down. Getting a good night’s sleep between long shifts leaves very little time for anything else, so you’ll likely need to think about your bedtime as you plan your days.
  • Eat for energy. Nutritionists recommend diets that are low on sugar and high on protein and fiber. They often advocate “power snacks,” of high-protein foods like nuts or yogurt at intervals through the day. This helps keep your fuel supply nice and steady.
  • Drink lots of water. Dehydration can lead to fatigue.
  • Get your exercise. Regular exercise helps you stay fit and trains your body to burn food for energy efficiently. Exercise is also great for disrupting moments of fatigue. A brisk bout of exercise can give you a jolt. It boosts your oxygen intake and sends modest amounts of stress hormones through your body to make you feel more alert.
  • Find ways to reduce your stress. This may mean reducing the number of chores and errands you assign yourself outside of work. You might take up meditation or a hobby. Stress takes up a lot of energy and leaves you feeling fatigued, so devising a tried-and-true method of releasing your stress is essential.
  • Coffee. Coffee is good, but in moderation. Caffeine can lead to increased attentiveness, but the returns diminish when you drink too much or so late that it disrupts your sleep cycle.
  • Drink alcohol sparingly. A few drinks after a long shift may help you fall to sleep faster and deeper, but they can reduce your REM sleep. REM sleep is believed to be highly restorative, and losing it can lead to drowsiness the next day.

So many of our lifestyle choices affect our energy levels that staying alert at work is truly a full-time job throughout the week, even on your days off.

What happens if you do make a mistake while youre exhausted?

Even people who know better sometimes let themselves run low. Nurses with infants at home or night classes may simply not be able to find the time to take care of themselves. And it’s possible to make mistakes at work. If you ever receive a letter of concern or find that your license or job may be at stake, it’s critical that you know all your choices. Talking to an experienced attorney can help you avoid costly mistakes and set you back on the path to success.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

Ask About Your Options

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Philadelphia Office
1835 Market Street, Suite 2626
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Toll Free: 877-442-7552
Phone: 215-665-0766
Fax: 215-665-1225
Philadelphia Law Office Map

King of Prussia Office
Valley Forge Towers
Suite 107
2000 Valley Forge Circle
King of Prussia, PA 19406

Toll Free: 877-442-7552
Map & Directions

Cherry Hill Office
1101 Route 70 West
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002

Toll Free: 866-427-4552
Phone: 856-354-0050
Fax: 856-454-0440
Map & Directions

Review Us