published on
July 26, 2023

How to set yourself up for success on shift in 5 steps

posted on
Healthcare professionals

Being organized and ready for your shift can help you give the best possible care to everyone you work with – residents, patients and colleagues alike. But what does that mean in practical terms?

If you’re a healthcare professional looking to swing into action, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll explore five ways to set yourself up for success the next time you’re on shift.

1. Get plenty of sleep

Parents all over the world regularly tell their children to get enough sleep (with varying degrees of success) and the need for sleep doesn’t end when we’re adults. 

Sleep is vital for lots of different reasons. While we sleep, our bodies repair themselves and our brains flush out toxins, making us feel better in the morning. 

Getting between seven and nine hours of sleep every night can help you:

  • Get sick less often
  • Feel less stressed out
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Think clearly
  • Make better decisions

Sleeping enough can also reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and other health conditions.

2. Prepare in advance

Before you go to bed, lay out everything you need to get ready for your shift in the morning (or evening, if you work overnight). Pick your scrubs, socks, underwear and shoes and put them in a convenient place.

Here are some more things to prep in advance:

  • Breakfast. Most medical professionals agree that breakfast is important, so don’t skip those overnight oats. 
  • A packed meal. Make the most of your midday (or midnight) break with a healthy, delicious packed lunch.
  • A grab bag. Pack extra pens, a change of clothing, hand cream, lip balm, toiletries and other essentials.

3. Plan a thorough handover

When you arrive at the hospital or long-term care home, make sure you get a good, clear handover from the healthcare professional you replace. Knowing which patients or residents might need you the most can help you plan your shift.

During the handover, ask these questions:

  • Which patients or residents are you most concerned about?
  • Has anyone’s condition changed while you’ve been on shift?
  • Have there been any medication issues recently, like bad reactions or missed doses?
  • Are there any treatments or procedures on the schedule?
  • Who needs medicine first?

It can help to take notes during a handover – and highlighter pens come in handy for important reminders.

4. Greet your team

Whether you work at several hospitals or long-term care homes, or just one location, it’s important to greet every member of the team you work with when you arrive. Building familiarity and rapport can help you deliver even better care.

Take a few minutes to say hello, ask healthcare assistants and nurses what they’ve dealt with on shift and find out what they expect from you. If you’re friendly and approachable, you’ll be more likely to get invited back.

5. Check in with patients and residents

Once you’re up to speed and know who needs what, check in with the patients and residents you’ll be caring for. Introduce yourself, listen to any concerns and reassure them that you care.

It’s also important to check each person’s records (and, if applicable, bedside charts) to make sure you know about the medicines they’ve been prescribed and the medical conditions they have. Knowledge is power – especially in a care setting.

Preparing is caring

We hope this concise five-step guide helps you prepare for your next shift. Remember to take care of yourself, too – and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. 

Thanks for making a positive difference in people’s lives. We appreciate you!

Florence can help you find flexible shifts near you and improve your work-life balance. Find out more and sign up today.

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