How To Prepare For a 12-Hour Shift

How To Prepare For a 12-Hour Shift
When working in a hospital, long-term home, or any healthcare facility, 12-hour shifts are not uncommon. You could be working 8 hours every day and then have to do one 12-hour shift, or you could be working 12-hour shifts every other day, depending on the severity of your job. We all have heard the stories of surgeons working on a patient for hours on end and then finally dropping to the ground once they’re done, mentally and physically exhausted from their hard work. I’m sure many healthcare workers feel the same way after a long shift, despite the different situations. In a previous blog post How To Avoid Burnout, we covered some of the ways you can avoid letting the stress of work take over your personal life. In this blog post, we will be continuing many of those points to help you when it comes to preparing for a twelve-hour shift.


Get Plenty of Rest!

            I cannot stress how important sleep is to everyone, including healthcare professionals. Sleep is essential to our health as there are a surprising number of problems associated with lack of sleep. For example, if you suffer from chronic sleep deprivation (which can be brought on by stress, anxiety, working conditions, etc.) your chances of having high blood pressure increase along with suffering from strokes, heart attacks, and diabetes. Crazy how something so basic and simple as sleeping can improve your health and reduce the risk of many health problems.

That’s because when you sleep, your brain goes into “repair mode” and releases hormones that will repair many different areas of your body, including blood vessels, and muscle tissue, and will also help you digest the foods you’ve eaten properly. That is why many gym enthusiasts express the importance of sleep. When you are working your muscles, your body will fix any soreness and muscle rips or damage during sleep. So, when you’re faced with a twelve-hour shift, get plenty of rest before and after you go to work.

Pack Some Snacks!

Staying organized will help you before, after, and throughout your shift. For example, if you’re faced with a 12-hour shift, it’s a good idea to pack some snacks to keep you going throughout the day. Snacks are a quick way to fill your belly, without eating a big meal. For example, you can pack store-bought items like granola bars, yogurts, a small assortment of fruits or vegetables, or even a smoothie filled with protein.

Dress for Comfort!

            One thing that will help you significantly while working a twelve-hour shift is by wearing shoes that are not only supportive but comfortable as well. For example, I know many RNs, LPNs, and PSWs that wear running sneakers which are specifically designed for active people. The main thing that makes a great sneaker is the heel of the shoe and the padding within. The same can be said for your clothes. Despite having to wear your scrubs, active-wear undergarments will also help stay comfortable and will help you avoid uncomfortable things like chaffing.


These are just some basic tips to help you when it comes to preparing for a 12-hour shift. Check out our previously mentioned article How To Avoid Burnout which will also help you mentally prepare for your 12-shift. Follow us on Instagram @goodwillstaffing_recruitment and on Facebook! 

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