By Beth Kaszuba
We live in a round-the-clock world. That’s especially true in healthcare.
Caring for people, making sure they have clean rooms and food, transporting them if needed — it all happens 24/7.
Handling long shifts and night shifts might sound like a challenge. But some doctors, nurses, medical students and support staff appreciate the different rhythms of working in the wee hours. And they have hints for those who must adjust their internal clocks, for whatever reason.
“A few things I avoid when altering my sleep schedule: drinking caffeine, eating a full meal before bed — I give myself at least two hours to digest — and stress-inducing activities. For example, I make sure I don’t check work emails, and I try to put my phone on ‘do not disturb.’”
– Stephanie Schultz
RFP/RFI Analyst, General Sales – Geisinger Health Plan
“Early in the morning, patients can be grumpy. And in the evening, older patients can get confused. When I’m tired, too, I try to remember that I’m not the person lying in the bed, maybe in discomfort or pain. I try to be more gentle with them, and relate. And getting enough sleep and exercise goes a long way when you work in a hospital. When I walk out of jujitsu class, I feel like a better person.”
– Vicki Devett
Care Support Services Lead, Geisinger Medical Center
“Several days before beginning the next night shift, I would stay up later and later until I can make it either the whole shift time, or close to it. I enjoyed working overnights, because there was less foot traffic on the unit, fewer new orders being placed and I could focus on patient care without a lot of phone calls.”
– Carmyn Yeager, LPN
Geisinger Women’s Health, Wilkes-Barre
“Short naps during work have been studied in many fields and have proven benefits. This isn’t necessarily feasible in medicine, but if your employer recognizes this and allows it, it may be a good way to remain fresh.”
– Ronald Strony Jr., MD
Cochair of Emergency Medicine for the Geisinger Medicine Institute
“Working overnight is not an automatic death sentence to your social life. I enjoy working unusual hours because you can attend daytime events. You can coordinate your sleep schedule with any plans you have during the day.”
– Terrence Habiyaremye
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine MD Class of 2022