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NIOSH Training for Nurses on Shift Work and Long Work Hours

Strategies to Cope with High Demands from Work and Home (Continued)

3. Plan.

Prioritize what is important, remembering that not everything can be your highest priority at all times. Recognize there are only 24 hours in the day, and some of those hours need to be spent sleeping, eating, and doing other activities to maintain health.

Do not sacrifice sleep time to fit everything else in.

Determine if there are other ways to take care of some home responsibilities, such as hiring help for domestic tasks and childcare. Are there some demands you can give up? Be open to other ways of meeting the needs of your children, spouse, and/or closest friend. For example, perhaps a meeting with a teacher could occur over the phone instead of in person, and at a time that does not interfere with when you should be sleeping.

If your sleep environment or usual behaviors before bedtime need improvement, plan changes to correct those. Consider the other strategies given in Modules 6 to 11.

If you have excessive sleepiness at work or difficulties sleeping, plan to see a sleep disorders healthcare provider for an assessment and treatment.

Consider working toward changing problems you identify at work. Is the organization of the work or design of the work schedules not a good fit for you? If the work hours are too demanding, can your employer reassign you to another type of shift schedule that is a better fit for your needs? If that is not immediately available, would it be financially feasible to reduce your work hours until a better schedule becomes available? You can also consider pursuing other employment opportunities.

Role-play how to respond to demands from work or home that you cannot or choose not to meet. Assertiveness training may be helpful. You can get in the habit of saying, “I will give your request some thought and get back to you,” and think through how that request will fit or conflict with other demands.

Plan to tell people in your personal life that you have special needs due to the times you work and what a challenge it can be. With this information, they may be less inclined to make demands you cannot meet.

Module:10, Page 14 of 19