9 Ways to Bounce Back After a Grueling Nursing Shift

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We all know that nursing is a tough job with countless stressors. You may have a rough day, a particularly pesky patient, a row with your supervisor, a toxic conversation with a worker, or an overdose of bureaucracy, but there is nothing that you cannot overcome. It is an intrinsic part of your job as a nurse to go through a tough day but clock in again the very next day. You have so much to do that there is no time overthinking matters, extending an argument for days, and stressing yourself over issues that you can just blow away. But how do you do that? How can you bounce back with the same zeal after a hectic shift in the hospital? Well, that’s what you will know today from the experience of nurses who have been there, done that, and rose stronger with a reset.

Find a healthy learning activity

Learning can be very stimulating for many people. So, instead of being enraged about something, enroll in online courses and immerse yourself in your written or reading assignments after a stressful day at work. The benefit of an online course is that you don’t have to attend classes in the morning or discontinue your practice in the hospital. But it does give you a productive distraction after a hectic shift.

Think about the specialization you really wanted to obtain for a long time but were postponing; you might have an inclination towards a specific nurse practitioner course. Perhaps, you might want to consider family nurse practitioner programs or any other area of your liking. One thing is sure that it will divert your mind onto something that will ultimately develop your career further.

Find your ‘go-to’ person

Well, it is not a surprise that you will have many instances during your nursing job when you want to take it all out and cry. But where are you going to do that? The best strategy is to find a “battle buddy” for yourself—a person that you can go to and cry with when you are too full to take it anymore. When you can vent out your anger, it prevents burnout due to an overdose of stress. This way, you can come back to perform your nurse roles after a few minutes.

Sit idle for some time

It might seem an odd tip but do this when you are about to burnout and crave to disappear from the scene. Look for a comfortable corner, sit idle, and do nothing, not utter even a word. If you are worried about time, set your alarm at ten minutes, relax your muscles, try to erase everything from your mind, and feel it go blank. After just a short break, you will be ready to work again.

Discuss with the group at the end of the day

During your job, sometimes a day is particularly hectic for the whole unit or ward, so the impact of stress is on all people equally. In these situations, all members must huddle up and debrief at the end of the shift before it bubbles up into something more serious. You can discuss the team’s issues in performing a task or taking care of a patient, garner diverse opinions, and settle the matters. This way, you don’t take the issues to the next day. Another benefit of debriefing is that people highlight the mistakes and learn from those who proposed or made better decisions.

Develop a fitness regime

At the end of a shift, your body is all cramped due to standing for long hours, lifting patients, helping them with posture, and much more. Apart from physical pain, there is stress and mental restlessness too. So, taking some time out and developing a fitness routine can do the magic for you. Exercise has all sorts of benefits; from making your body more flexible to enhancing your muscle strength to reducing stress and improving blood circulation, you are looking at a panacea for your physical and emotional pains. So, make sure to take out at least thirty minutes every day for a workout; you can also add ten minutes of yoga and meditation, focus on your inner self, and feel tension and stress leaving your body.

Take a long way home

If you live nearby to your place of work, make an effort to walk back the way home. The leisurely strides can help you calm yourself. Play some music and focus on anything other than your work in the hospital. It is indispensable to take your mind off of your work. On the contrary, if you live at a distance from the hospital, take the longer road, go home while enjoying the calming music of your choice. If you don’t want any noise around you, just leave it off altogether and look forward to something you like; it could be playing with your furry pet or watching your favorite show on Netflix.

Take a good meal and spend time with loved ones

Once you reach home, you might be so tempted to jump into the bed and vanish under the covers, but hold your temptations and take your dinner. If possible, make sure you take the day-end meal with your family, talk about their day and share yours too. Spending time with family is a kind of therapy. Studies vouch that it reduces stress and anxiety, promotes a healthy lifestyle, improves bond and understanding with family members, boosts confidence, and reduces many behavioral issues.

Shower off all your stress and worries

After returning home after a hectic shift, taking a shower should be among your priorities. Once in the shower, imagine all the worries dissolving in the water and going down the drain. A warm shower will calm your nerves, reduce the buildup of stress, and ready you for bed. It is like refueling yourself for the work the next day. You can also use bath salts and oils that claim to offer astonishing mind-calming effects, loosen up the knots in your muscles, and release all the pressure. Moreover, opt for a shower gel with a shooting smell that unties your worries.

Be satisfied with your work during the day

Being contended with your effort through the day can release a lot of burden from your mind. The pressure of doing perfectly all the time can really interfere with your mental and physical health. The undue expectations you have from yourself or not being happy with your work won’t encourage you to work better all the time; in fact, it is very demotivating. Therefore, be critical of your work and appreciate when you perform better.


Nursing is grueling, but it does not mean that you find no ways to overcome your stress and fatigue. Healthy habits such as having a good at the day-end, spending some time doing physical activity, conversing with your family are excellent ways to get rid of fatigue after a grueling shift. Moreover, spending time with your pet, taking them for a stroll, and burying yourself in a good book have their own perks for preparing you for work the next day.

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