How I Prepare for a 12 hour Hospital Shift

Wearing Wear Figs scrubs. Use code FIGSxCLAIRE for a discount 🙂

I don’t think there is anything super ground-breaking that I do to prepare for a 12 hour shift(s), but there’s a few things I do before each shift in order to prep for the long day(s) ahead. I figured that since I’ve gotten requests for more nursing posts that this one may be a good one to cover!

Grocery Shop Ahead of Time. This is something that I have found to be super helpful. If you have food at your house ready to pack before the start of your shifts, then you’ll be more likely to make healthier decisions. When you don’t have food available, it’s easy to just get take out after work or eat whatever is lying around the breakroom. Neither of which are ideal on a consistent basis.

Prep your meals for all your shifts in advance. Whenever I’m working at least a couple shifts in a row, I try to meal prep some items that will last me for more than just one shift. So think–grilled chicken, brown rice, broccoli, etc. The snacks I can change up each day but if my main meal (lunch) is taken care of, it saves a lot of time. When I get home from a 12 hour shift, the last thing I want to do is think of what to make for lunch the next day and then spend time doing it! This also helps not being tempted by food in the breakroom. As a side note, I feel like a question I get is how to avoid the candy/junk food int the breakroom and my answer is to just pack your own snacks/treats so you have your own options 🙂

Start powering down around 7pm. I hate feeling like I’m running around the night before a shift. I like to have my shit together! I want my night to be relaxing and not stressful. So by 7pm I want my clothes laid out, my emails answered, and to be making dinner. By 9:30-10pm I go up to bed.

Plan your workouts around your shifts. Now that I’m working PRN (4 shifts month), this one isn’t as big of an issue but when I was working full time I looked at my work week ahead and planned out my workouts based on my shifts. For the first year or two of being a nurse I used to workout after every shift but that was just crazy! I don’t recommend that. After a 12 hour shift, just let your body rest! Then plan your workouts on the remaining 4 days. What I liked to do, is the day after a shift(s), I would do the least strenuous workout. So something like speed walking on a treadmill. This let me ease back into things after long shifts, and then start fresh the next day.

Anything else you can think to add?! Share with us below! xxC


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