How to Survive a Hectic Work Shift as a Nurse

As a nurse, you know that dealing with hectic shifts is part of the job. But that does not mean you have to suffer through it. In fact, with the right techniques, you can not only survive your work hours, but make them more fulfilling and stress-free. Keep reading this blog post to learn how to survive a hectic work shift.

Nursing is an incredibly demanding profession that requires a great deal of mental and physical stamina. Nurses often work long hours, and it is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed after being constantly on the go. However, with the right strategies and plans in place, you can beat the pressure and have more enjoyable and fulfilling shifts. 

5 Ways to Survive a Hectic Work Shift

A typical shift for nurses involves dealing with difficult patients, administering medications, and responding to emergencies. Under these circumstances, your mental health often takes a hit. You may start to feel anxious, sad, or unmotivated which oftentimes decreases productivity. Even though causative stress factors can not be ruled out, here are a few things nurses can do to maintain their well-being and ensure quality patient care during hectic shifts.

Plan your day and utilize task organizers

How you start your day to a large extent determines how your day will go. When you properly plan your daily activities, you activate focus and eliminate overwhelm. To ensure a hitch-free day, consider starting your shifts by outlining your tasks and priorities. Also, use organizers or digital tools to create a structured plan for the day. This will help you approach each task methodically.

Embrace healthy eating habits

Proper nutrition is essential for sustaining energy levels and mental clarity during long and demanding shifts. When choosing what to eat, always opt for balanced meals rich in nutrients. Also, consider packing a lunch bag to work. This will help you avoid relying on quick fixes, or not eating at all, which can lead to energy crashes.

Enhance physical and mental resilience through exercise

Incorporating regular exercise into your routine strengthens both your physical and mental resilience. It also boosts your mood and enhances your overall stamina and ability to cope with stress. Although, nursing may not always allow you to visit the gym as much, consider engaging in simple exercises like brisk walking, yoga, or sit-ups.

Develop effective stress coping mechanisms

Challenges are an inherent part of nursing. It is what makes our profession special. When faced with difficult situations, it is crucial to cultivate healthy coping mechanisms to manage stress effectively. Some coping mechanisms you can try while at work include deep breathing exercises, talk therapy, walking, etc. 

Learn to prioritize

Prioritizing helps in completing numerous tasks. It involves identifying the most critical tasks that require immediate attention and dealing with them first. This helps you to not only complete your tasks, but also reduce confusion and overwhelm. 


Dealing with hectic work shifts is an inherent part of nursing. However, to ensure quality patient care, it is important to build techniques and practices that can help you thrive during even the most challenging shifts. This blog post has just shown you how to survive a hectic work shift

For more helpful tips like this, please visit our blog for nurses.

May 2, 2024

Natasha Osei

Passionate Nurse Practitioner | People person
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