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  • 10 January 2019
  • 7 min read

Top 10 tips to get through a 12 hour shift

  • Louisa Lewis
    Student Midiwfe

12 hour shifts can leave you feeling exhausted. However, student midwife Louisa provides tips on how you can feel more energised on your longer days of nursing.

Play video: Student midwife Louisa gives tips on how to survive a 12 hour shift!

Hey ya’ll, welcome back to my channel Being Louisa!

So today's video is sponsored by Nurses.co.uk and I will be leaving the information in the description down below, just go click on there and hop on over to the blog portion of their website because I think it'd be very helpful for us student midwives as well as those of you guys who are nurses as well.

If you're a student midwife, or you're thinking of applying to a midwifery course, here's a complete guide on how to qualify for and find a job as a midwife.

I feel like a lot of skills in life are transferable so even though it's about nurses you can transfer them onto you in your midwife job.

So this video is going to be 10 tips to get through a 12-hour shift.

Sleep before your shift

Sleep before your shift, no matter if it's a day shift or a night shift - sleep!

I say this because I know some people who like to go out the night prior to a shift and ended up coming back to work straight away so there’s no point in sleeping, that's a lot people!

Sleep definitely helps, you need your energy.

Get enough sleep

This is separate because you can sleep, if you don't sleep enough hours that your body requires to actually function correctly and at a good amount of functioning there's no point of sleeping.

You need to have slept enough hours to function and when I say function I mean more than just rolling out of bed, get dressed and go to work!

I mean you actually have to use your brain and especially if it's anywhere near the time that you're going to be getting marked you need to go to show your knowledge and show how you can make links between your knowledge that you've got from University and then practice, you can’t really link that knowledge if your brain isn't working well - that's the case for me.

Prepare your outfit the day before

Get your outfit sorted the day before or the night before.

Now I say outfit because it depends if you're in the community; some community teams allow you to wear smart casual to community, some community teams want you to wear uniform so get your smart casual outfit or your uniform ready the night prior.

Have it laid out so that you can just grab it in the morning and there's no fuss, you don't have to keep on looking to see what to wear and then waste precious time that you could be eating or keeping more or just relaxing.

Iron your uniform the night before

Iron your uniform or your clothes the night prior.

I am very strange with my uniform tunic, I actually iron it twice so I iron it when I like hang it up and then I will iron it the night prior to going on placement, or iron it the night prior to that on placement and then I iron it the day of placement.

This may sound like overkill but it's just a trick I’ve learnt to keep my tunic unwrinkled so if it crinkles in the spots that I fold it up, because I do put my tunic in my bag when I go to placement, it just works for me.

I just have less wrinkles and it's amazing.

Make sure you have food

Bring food or make sure you have access to food.

I say this because I know a lot of people who don't like to cook or pre cook for the week or precook the night prior for that day so they just like to buy food when they're at placement.

Not every hospital has somewhere for you to buy food so make sure you know what facilities your hospital have in place so that it's possible to buy food in the hospital, or the closest shop isn't that far away.

Otherwise make sure you bring food because you don't want to be on a 12-hour shift and not have anything to eat.

You'll probably get grumpy or angry, I know I get severely hungry so just make sure you have food on you and make sure if you have a full meal at least grab a snack or a couple of snacks before getting to placement because you need that energy again.

It's energy that's going to get you through these 12 hours!

Play video: Louisa shares her favourite parts about being a student midwife.

Stay hydrated

Bring a reusable cup or a water bottle.

I've always brought a water bottle, that's been my thing - just bring a massive bottle filled of water first and then make sure you drink all that water, fill again and then drink half of that water so that you know you're having enough fluids throughout the day because that's super important!

Take your break as late as possible 

I'm not saying like super duper late, try and aim for the three o'clock region.

It depends on when you start but the three to four o'clock region is a great time to have a break, another good times is 2 o’clock however it depends on when you start your shift.

Use up spare time by helping others

If you’re not busy offer to do things for other people, simply because it shows that you're a super kind person, it shows that you're thoughtful, it makes other midwives appreciate you and so then if your mentors might not in they'll gladly take you on, but also it helps you pass the time.

If you're not busy and you’re just sitting down and looking lazy.

Instead you’re walking around, you're keeping busy or getting yourself active, being fit also helps you stay awake more which really just help with the twelve and half hour shift because that's a lot of hours guys, so you need to do stuff to help pass that time!

Bring a book to read

Bring a book with you, preferably a midwifery job related book, just so it looks like you're doing work - a textbook would be great so you actually do work and you get stuff done but bring a book with you just in case it's not that busy on your ward.

It will help pass the time and also you might enrich your learning, also it makes it looks good if you're not on your phone - so I have books on my phone and I tend to just read on my phone.

However I know it's said that people thought I was on my actual phone, you know doing Instagram and stuff when I was actually reading so I like to just bring in a book and read it like a paperback book so people actually clearly see what I was reading.

This leads me into my next point which is…

Ask questions

So as I said, this one leads on because I had books that I've read and thought ‘oh I wonder what this is’ or ‘what if we do this here’.

So I asked my mentor or whoever was around like whatever Midwife was around that question like ‘oh should we do this here’ or like ‘what would you do in this situation’ or ‘I don't understand this could you explain it to me’ so it was very informative for me.

I learnt quite a bit.

Try and ask as many questions because one, it makes you look good again especially if someone's assessing you they're like ‘oh you're very eager to learn, eager to speak knowledge out’ and two, you get to know things and you get to understand procedures and why things are done this way or why things aren't that way.

Sometimes unfortunately you don't learn that because people just say it just is the way it is but otherwise it's a great way to learn new things and it's really helpful and it helps you pass the time on a 12-hour shift.

I hope you guys enjoyed this video and until next time keep on being you!

Like this video, give it a thumbs up, comment down below any questions or suggestions and don't forget subscribe to get weekly updates! 

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About the author

  • Louisa Lewis
    Student Midiwfe

I'm a student Midwife studying at Kingston University, partnered with St. Georges in London. Alongside my uni work and placements, I also create vlogs for my channel, Being Louisa, and for Nurses.co.uk.

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  • Louisa Lewis
    Student Midiwfe

About the author

  • Louisa Lewis
    Student Midiwfe

I'm a student Midwife studying at Kingston University, partnered with St. Georges in London. Alongside my uni work and placements, I also create vlogs for my channel, Being Louisa, and for Nurses.co.uk.