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Survive the Night Shift in Healthcare

Survive the Night Shift in Healthcare

Megan Malugani / Monster Contributing Writer

Healthcare isn’t a 9-to-5 job. It’s an around-the-clock profession, and working evening or night hours is a way of life for many health professionals. Such shifts can take a physical and emotional toll on workers, experts say, but there are ways to prevent the damage. Here are suggestions for surviving – and even thriving – despite a draining schedule.

Understand You’re Not Alone

About 26 percent of the US workforce regularly works a shift where the majority of their hours are between 4 p.m. and 8 a.m., says Janie O’Connor, MEd, president of in St. Paul. “Shiftworkers need to relate to that demographic,” she says. “They need to accept their lifestyle as it is and refrain from acting like a day worker when they’re not.”

Protect Your Sleep

Shiftworkers must protect their daytime sleep at all costs, O’Connor says. “Do not respond to any other calls on your time, like the telephone, the doorbell or a relative who asks you to do something because she thinks you’re just napping.” Sleep deprivation leads to chronic fatigue, she says. Shiftworkers must constantly remind family and friends that sleep is a priority during the day.

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