I’ve been a nurse for 2 years. Which seems crazy to me. I’ve learned more in the last 2 years than I thought actually possible. I’ve learned a lot about caring for patients, but also about caring for myself, and that’s really the kind of nurse tips I’ll be giving.
In January I took a week of work for the first time since I started working full time. I would always just block my schedule, work 6 days and have 8 days off. I found that schedule worked well for me, at least initially I do something similar now, but not quite as intense as 6 days in a row. However, with working nights I’ve found that blocking days together so you have groups of days off together makes it a little easier to have a life outside of work.
So over the last 2 years of working full time, I almost always worked my 36 hrs, and if I didn’t it, I sick or gave up 4 hrs just to catch a few more zzz’s. Oh, and I’m not one to pick up a ton of overtime. I literally just work my 36 hrs and call it a day, most weeks.
In January my boyfriend graduated from Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as an officer in the Navy. To go to his graduation I had scheduled myself to work the first 3 days of that week so I could fly to Rhode Island for his graduation. I bought a one-way ticket to Rhode Island the night before he started his training. As his graduation got closer, and he had increased communication privileges, we learned he was going to be stationed in Mayport, FL. He was going to be heading to Mayport immediately following graduation. He wanted me to go with him, so I got coworkers to cover shifts to give us an extra week together and got to spend 2 whole weeks with him. In order to maximize my time with him, I literally gave up all 36 hours the one week. Sure, it made for a small paycheck. But after 2 weeks away I came back feeling so refreshed. I came back and I genuinely enjoyed being a nurse again.
My advice to you, plan a vacation of sorts once a year. Request a week off work once a year, whether you have a staycation or go somewhere adventurous, but take time off. It’s worth it. I am absolutely planning on doing this the rest of my career, as long as I am working full time.
I felt rested. I was energized. I was able to take really good care of myself with exercise. I saw the sun! (I do work night shift). I was able to talk to people and catch up with people. I was able to refresh and renew.
I honestly looked forward to going back to work and was happy to be taking care of patients again. Taking a step away, getting some fresh air and perspective allowed me to come refreshed and renewed. And I’m a firm believer that if we aren’t taking care of ourselves well, we can’t care for our patients well.