Had a Tough Shift? Here’s 5 Ways to Recover.


Nursing is a hard job to begin with, not just physically, but also emotionally. And some days will be harder than others. Some days, your patience and your mettle will be tested in ways you never imagined—you’ll mess up something important, an extra combative patient will curse you out, a well-liked patient will die. How do you recover from those shifts? Here are five things to try.

Talk It Out

Whether it’s with a coworker or a close friend, take the time to honor what you are feeling and unload your emotions. Crying it out, if you need to, or simply saying aloud just how much your day truly sucked, can offer a cathartic release and help you let go of the negative emotions you are holding on to. Speaking to management, as well, can prove useful, as they can often help you to find the learning opportunities in your strife, or reassure you that you did the right thing in a hard situation.

Find Joy

Whatever makes you happy, do that. After your shift, snuggle your pets or your partner, cook a good meal or order in, curl up with Netflix or hit the gym, call a friend or read a book. Take the time to partake in whatever it is that typically brings you joy, instead of stewing in the negativity of your day.

Sleep It Off

After a noisy day at work—and let’s be honest, it can get very noisy—climbing into a cozy bed, surrounded by quiet, can offer comfort in a way that most other things cannot. This can be extra beneficial after a hard day, as well. Curl up and get some sleep—it’s going to be okay in the morning (or evening, if you’re working the night shift).

Focus on the Future

The next day is always a new day, with potential for new victories, no matter how trying the day before was. Focus on the fresh start tomorrow affords you and try not to dwell on the past. There are always new chances to help people and change lives in the days ahead, and isn’t that the best part of nursing?

Get Help

If you truly cannot move beyond what happened, do not be afraid to seek professional help. There is no shame in not being able to work through things on your own. A non-biased third-party, such as a therapist, can help you objectively look at whatever happened and move beyond it by talking things through in ways that your personal confidants might not be able to.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

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