Tips on How to Stay Energized During Long Shifts

There are many reasons why you may have to work long shifts as a doctor. It could be that the hospital is short-staffed, or perhaps you are a new doctor starting out and you have to do extra hours to gain experience.

Whatever the reason, it is important to know how to stay energized during long shifts. Here are some tips to help you with that.

Plan Ahead

Think about what you’ll need to get through a long and busy shift, and prepare accordingly. Bring snacks with you or order them in advance so you have something healthy to munch on when your energy starts fading.

You may also want to make it a habit to make your bed as soon as you wake up. Doing that comes with a number of benefits that’ll help you start your day off right.

Exercise Often

Exercise is a great way to keep your energy up during a shift. It also helps you manage stress and improve your mood, which will make it easier for you to deal with difficult situations.

You see, when you exercise, your body releases hormones that work to keep you active throughout the day which is the main goal here.

Eat Healthy Snacks

You need energy throughout your shift, especially if you’re going without lunch because of long hours or being busy in the ER or other area of the hospital.

For instance, eating an apple with some peanut butter can give you sugar and protein in one tasty snack so you may want to opt for that instead of a bag of fries.

Drink Water

When you’re running around from room to room, taking patient histories, and answering questions from family members the last thing you want to do is slump over a table with your head down, snoring away.

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout your shift. Bring a bottle with you and refill it regularly. Sip on it throughout the day so you’re never caught off guard when someone asks you a question or when an emergency patient comes through the ER doors.

Take Breaks

Another way to stay alert is by keeping active throughout the day. Get up from your chair every hour and walk around the hospital or go outside for some fresh air and sunlight.

Taking breaks like this can help you fight fatigue because it helps keep your blood flowing and oxygen flowing through your body.

Drink Coffee

As a health practitioner, you know that caffeine is not recommended but you cannot deny that coffee is heaven’s gift to tired and overworked people everywhere.

The caffeine in coffee will perk up your brain so you focus better and quicker. It also increases your alertness so you can work more efficiently and for longer periods of time without feeling tired.

As such, a cup or two throughout the day won’t hurt.

Chew Sugarless Gum

Chewing gum keeps your mouth busy and prevents you from focusing on how tired you are or getting bored with uninteresting tasks like charting or data entry.

The activity also increases blood flow to your brain which is extremely necessary for you to stay alert.

Get Enough Sleep

Unfortunately, a recent survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that about 40 percent of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep at night.

The effects of chronic sleep deprivation are widespread, but perhaps one of the most detrimental elements is how it can affect your ability to perform as a medical professional.

Turn Up the Music

Yes, this sounds outlandish but listening to music can help distract you from the fact that you’re tired. If it’s too loud for others it might help if you ask them to turn off their hearing aids and cochlear implants so they don’t hear what they don’t need to.

Better still, you can invest in a pair of quality earphones.


A lot of people feel drained after a long day at the office, but nothing is worse than when you’re dealing with sick patients or fulfilling patient requests and your energy is running low.

With the tips discussed here, you will have an easier time staying alert and attending to your patients.

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