Being a nurse is not an easy job. It takes blood, sweat, and tears to be a successful nurse. Nurses have this innate need to care for others even if it makes them physically or mentally exhausted. They are there with patients in moments of joy, pain, and sadness. The parameter of emotions they have to deal with each day makes nursing a demanding yet noble profession.
However, unlike a regular desk job, a nurse’s routine can be erratic. During the pandemic, healthcare facilities experienced understaffing as patients came in. Still, some nurses may get spare time during their routine, especially if they’re working the graveyard shift. Given the nature of the job, it is best to use this time to unwind and get non-work-related tasks done.
Are you a nurse looking for some tips to make better use of your spare time? We’ve listed some below.
Call a loved One
Talking to family or friends, catching up with your children on a video call is always an excellent way to unwind during a long and tiring shift. A loved one can lend a listening ear to all your work woes and share a different perspective on a stressful situation. They can give helpful advice in times of need. If you’re in a relationship and can’t give your lover time, call them up during a break to reduce your stress.
Learning never stops in a nurse’s career. So, consider using your spare time to sign-up for further education. You can take to the internet and enroll in online DNP programs or nursing specializations to increase your know-how and skills. The online route helps you create a flexible learning schedule and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Acquiring further education will not only give you a sense of fulfillment, but it will also open doors to new opportunities. Better job opportunities can help you earn higher salaries and more personal satisfaction.
Medication is a proven way to reduce work-related fatigue. Some light yoga, breathing exercises, listening to soothing music, or prayer can help you calm your nerves. Meditation in any form can help you manage clinical stress, improve well-being, increase tolerance towards hard-to-handle patients, increase focus, reduce anxiety, and makes you experience overall job satisfaction.
A nutritious diet can help you stay active on the job. Therefore, when meeting, use your spare time between checking patients to grab a quick bite. Consume healthy foods, such as a fruit/vegetable salad, sandwiches, granola bars, etc. Ensure you’re meeting your daily energy and nutrient requirements to remain healthy. And avoid relying on excessive amounts of caffeine and sugary snacks to keep your energy levels up. It’ll only have adverse effects in the long run.
Go For a Walk
Getting some fresh air and sunshine always lifts the mood. Going for a short walk alone can be a good idea to calm yourself down and release pent-up frustration. It helps when there’s conflict among the medical team or when you’re having difficulty managing patients and need a break. Fresh air will open up your mind and think clearly. It’s also a great way to escape the aroma in a healthcare facility, which can be overwhelming at times.
Get a Foot or Head Massage
If one of your coworkers is good at giving massages, ask them for one if they’re free too. A quick rub can help you relax muscles that become sore while walking throughout the day. You can also use this time to have a light-hearted conversation with your buddy and resolve any work-related issues.
Take a Power Nap
Medical staff is often sleep deprived because of long working hours. A sound sleep is essential to function properly at work the next day. Tired nurses are prone to making more mistakes, which can be lead to severe consequences. So, if you’re not able to get enough shut-eye at home, use your spare time during shifts to catch up on lost sleep by taking a power nap. A quick nap can help you feel fresh instantly.
Nurture a Hobby
Do you have a hobby? Pick one that you can do during your breaks. Drawing, painting, coloring, knitting, reading- anything as long as it helps you de-stress and have a good time. You can also use these hobbies to fine-tune your medical skills.
Patient in-flow can be erratic in healthcare facilities, which is why a nurse’s schedule can be anything between jam-packed and a small to-do list. This article mentions a few tips for nurses to use their spare time more wisely. By following these tips, you, as a nurse, can ensure better mental and physical health on the job. It will help you provide patients with better care in the long run.