Managing nurses’ alternate shifts can be difficult, especially if management isn’t on site during these hours. So how do you give these employees the support they need while they’re working after business hours? There are several ways you can improve their productivity and satisfaction in the workplace, even when you’re not physically there. Here are just a couple of things that can help you improve the success of your shift work healthcare employees.
Develop the shift work definition.
The first step is to define who is or is not a shift worker. For most facilities, this will be anyone who is working outside of normal business hours. But what are normal business hours for where you work? A hospital is 24/7, but different employees will have different hours and roles. How do you manage staff who aren’t part of your average daytime shift? You can break it down to just a couple of basics to make it more effective.
Consider the impact of shift work.
When employees work outside the typical daytime shift, management won’t always be available to solve immediate problems. And shift work can cause problems other workers don’t expect because the very nature of the hours are beyond the function of the human body. Our bodies are designed to be awake during the day and sleep at night. And even if someone considers themselves a night owl, they are still going against their biology to be awake during this shift. There can be legitimate effects on sleep cycles and body fatigue.
Create a safe environment for shift workers.
Knowing that fatigue and exhaustion can easily impact your shift workers is just the first step. As management, you need to make sure your team, and your patients, remain safe while on the job. You may not be able to stay and work with your after-hours shift, but you can provide them the tools they need remain engaged and healthy. Provide resources to help them maintain healthy sleep cycles at home. Encourage regular breaks while on the job. You may even want to provide healthy snacks and food or even options for exercise or stress management.
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