5 Tips On How To Work Long Hours Without Losing Your Mind

The long hours and all-night working culture for some medical professionals is unfortunately a standard fixture. But despite the obvious downsides, 12 hour (and longer) shifts remain fairly popular compared with 8 hour shifts. The most prominent benefit  of the longer shifts is less handoffs, meaning patients are not being attended to by as many Nurses. This could mean less reports and less chance of miscommunication errors, while giving the chance for patients to feel more comfortable with the Nurses on shift.

While this particular point is beneficial to patients, when you’re doing your third 12 hour shift in a row, especially late into the night, it can be tough to stay energised and positive. The correct pair of shoes can help you feel more comfortable while you work but there is only so much help extra comfort can give you.

We have pulled together 5 of our favourite tips to help you survive those extra grueling 12+ long shifts with your mind and patients intact.

#1. Be A Creature Of Habit

Being a medical professional is unpredictable, not just in the patients you care for but also the hours worked. With working past your shift end potentially being a regular occurrence depending on your area, it is important to have a sense of habit and schedule outside of work.

Most Nurses recommend trying to keep a regular sleep schedule and going to bed or settle down at the same time, including on days off. Start and manage some routines in your personal life that you can rely on to be dependable and relaxing. This could mean a hobby, eating a meal with the family, or watching your favourite TV show.

lady performing a yoga exercise on a roof

It is also worth creating a ‘behaviour chain’, and instead of choosing an abstract goal such as, “I need to exercise three times a week”, create an action plan that leads to it. For example, “Once I get home from work I will eat a healthy snack, change out of my work uniform, and then go for a thirty minute run.” This kind of planning is more effective for creating healthy habits which in turn can help your daily routine.

#2. Let Caffeine Be Your Servant, Not Your Master

Caffeine in one form or the other is the ultimate life saver for many medical professionals. It can be used as an initial boost at the start of the shift or or an absolute necessity throughout as a substitute for sleep. But a study from 2016 found that  after restricting sleep to 5 hours per night, caffeine use no longer improved alertness or performance after three nights.

As medical professionals, it is essential to understand the advantages and drawbacks of coffee consumption to fully claim the benefits, without affecting your work negatively. You wouldn’t tell a patient to constantly drink coffee throughout the day to get them through it, so don’t do it yourself!

Coffee with a happy face

The fact is, no amount of coffee can replace a solid night’s sleep and for your patients (and own) sake, it’s best not to rely on caffeine too much to get you through those long hours.  Start your shift with a strong coffee and avoid it all together for the last half of your shift. This way by the time you’ve finished, you’ll be ready to settle down to sleep if you need to, without having caffeine in your system keeping you awake.

#3. Fuel Your Body

You wouldn’t advise a patient to work long hours on an empty stomach, so why would you do it yourself?

There is plenty of advice out there on medical professionals getting enough sleep with their long shifts, but what about the fuel needed for your body and brain to keep you going while you’re working?

Hunger can be just as bad as sleep deprivation for mood and on-the-job performance so it is important that you make sure you get regular breaks for snacks. If you are in a rush (which you probably will be) bring a number of high protein snacks with you such as nuts and energy bars that will release energy over a longer period of time.  Don’t forget to drink plenty of water during your shift to hold off the dehydration and fatigue, while keeping you fuller for longer.

Snacks can be all well and good in a pinch, but ideally you’d like a healthier and fuller meal to keep those energy levels up. This is where meal prep comes in.

meal preparation with meat and vegetables

Work this in as part of your schedule as mentioned in point #1 and set aside a bit of time on a day off and create your meals to bring to work over the course of the week. It will save you money, time in the long run and could be much healthier than fitting in snacks where you can while at work. Plenty of meat, vegetables and rice or pasta will give you the energy you need to power through your shift without you getting too hungry again. The more meals you are able to freeze on meal prep day, the less you have to focus on meal prep during the rest of the week. Find some recipes here.

#4 Leave Work At Work

Medical professionals are dedicated, determined and can be self-diagnosed ‘workaholics’. Going the extra mile for your patient is truly wonderful and sometimes necessary, but you must know your own limits and learn to leave work at the door when you go home for the day.

A study in the United States showed:

“In hospitals which had higher proportions of nurses working longer shifts, higher percentages of patients reported that nurses sometimes or never communicated well, pain was sometimes or never well controlled, and they sometimes or never received help as soon as they wanted.”

So although you may have good intentions, taking a much needed break may not only be the best thing for you, but your patients too.person sleeping on a couch

#5 Keep Strong Friendships

You will find your friends will be a lifeline the more long hours you put in.

No matter what you talk about, whether you’re ranting about your day, or setting up your next night out together, a chat with a friend will leave you happier and more energised.

Working with friends can make you more productive as you can coordinate tasks more effectively without the awkwardness of working with strangers and not knowing what makes them tick. It may make the shift more enjoyable, less tiring, easier to manage and overall, get a better performance from you.

Team and friends bumping fists

Outside of work though, your friends can be an temporary escape from those multiple 12 hour shifts in a row. Taking a breather from you professional life reduces stress, clears your head, and can help you bring a new perspective to your work or personal life.

While you can be spontaneous with meeting your friends if you feel up to it, it is also important working with point #1 and schedule some time together. This way you will be less likely to waste your precious spare time by sitting on the couch all day watching Netflix, which although sounds tempting, isn’t nearly as fun as spending time with your friends!

Try planning ahead and booking fun activities from the likes of Wowcher and Groupon. Booking an activity with your friends will give you something to look forward to while you’re working hard and can make you more proactive while giving you that extra little push you need to get you through those long hours.4 friends looking at the sunset

Do you have any tried and tested methods for surviving those long shifts? Let us know in the comments!

National Apprenticeship Week 2018 – Meet The Medisave Apprentices – Part 3

For National Apprenticeship Week 2018, Medisave has put together three blog posts detailing the day to day work lives of three of our apprentices at different stages of their apprenticeships.

To finish off this series, in part three we have our youngest apprentice Amber who works as a Customer Service Assistant and has been with us for just over 2 weeks!

Medisave Employee Amber

Name: Amber
Age: 18
Length of service: 2 weeks
Apprenticeship: Intermediate Customer Service Apprenticeship – Level 2.
Overview: Amber commenced an Intermediate Customer Service Apprenticeship with Medisave slightly over two weeks ago. Following successful completion of an Intermediate BTEC in Business Studies at a local college, and several years working in a customer facing environment, Amber is keen to get gain invaluable office experience. 
Amber has made an excellent start and is being trained extensively to communicate with our vast and varied customer base through a variety of mediums. With over 30,000 different products and a wide variety of ways to communicate with our team, every day is new and exciting. Not only will Amber receive training support from a local business school,  our experienced and outstanding customer service team will closely train Amber to enable her to provide outstanding customer service, every single time.

 

Amber says,

“It’s very early days but the apprenticeship, so far, has been a real eye opener into how a real business environment works. It’s one thing learning from textbooks, but another stepping into the real world of work and gaining on the job training. From what I can see, an apprenticeship offers not only real and invaluable experience, but also support and a foot in the door, as it’s incredibly competitive to find entry level office work that will train you for a real position.

Medisave has made me feel very welcome since starting which has really helped me settle down and be comfortable these past 2-3 weeks. I am looking forward to the challenge of working in other departments for a limited time so I gain a better understanding of how the company and business process works .”

 

Apprenticeships Vacancies at Medisave

Medisave have apprenticeship vacancies available in Customer Service Level 2 and Level 3, Business Administration Level 2 and Level 3 and AAT Level 2 and Level 3. For further information please see www.medisave.co.uk/jobs

3 of medisaves apprentices

National Apprenticeship Week 2018 – Meet The Medisave Apprentices – Part 2

For National Apprenticeship Week 2018, Medisave is putting together three blog posts detailing the day to day work lives of three of our apprentices at different stages of their apprenticeships.

In part two we have Max who works as a  Customer Service Assistant. 

Medisave employee max

Name: Max
Age: 21 
Length of service: 6 months.
Apprenticeships: Customer Services Level 3

Overview: Max joined the company as an apprentice in 2017 working as a Trainee Customer Service Assistant. He is six months into his apprenticeship and is responsible for handling customer enquiries, placing orders, taking phone calls and more.  

As part of his apprenticeship Max has also worked in other departments within the company including:
Operations, where he printed orders, handled payments and processed credit checks.
Returns, which involved handling customer and courier returns.
Warehouse, packing orders and printing labels.
 
This has helped to give him a better understanding of how the company works and how best to assist customers.

 

Max says,

“Having an apprenticeship means I can continue my education without having to worry about how to fund it and it has given me the practical skills that will help me throughout the rest of my working life.

Over the past six months at Medisave I have been given the opportunity to work in different departments which has given me a greater knowledge into the company and products. This extra knowledge has turned out to be vital in working in Customer Service as I feel I can answer queries with more confidence.

Being able to get a taste of different departments has not just benefited my Customer Service work, but the team relationships too. I have gotten to know everybody that works at Medisave which makes for a more comfortable work environment.”

 

Apprenticeships Vacancies at Medisave

Medisave have apprenticeship vacancies available in Customer Service Level 2 and Level 3, Business Administration Level 2 and Level 3 and AAT Level 2 and Level 3. For further information please see www.medisave.co.uk/jobs

3 of medisaves apprentices

National Apprenticeship Week 2018 – Meet The Medisave Apprentices – Part 1

At Medisave we pride ourselves on supporting apprenticeships to open the pathway for people to have a great and full career.

To mark National Apprenticeship Week we have created the first of three blog posts detailing the day to day work life of three current apprentices at different stages of their apprenticeship.

Photo of Medisave Employee Adam

Name: Adam
Age: 21 
Length of service: 2 years and 5 months.
Apprenticeships: AAT Level 2 Accounting Apprenticeship and AAT Level 3 Accounting Apprenticeship.
Overview: Adam joined Medisave in 2016 as an intermediate apprentice, working as a ‘Trainee Accounts Assistant’. Adam successfully completed this apprenticeship and progressed to the AAT level 3 accounting apprenticeship, and is scheduled to take his final exam this month. 
Adam is a hugely valuable member of the Finance team. He has gained invaluable experience working in a close knit and experienced team that works with GBP, USD, CAD, NZD, EUROS. Upon the impending completion of his course, we look forward to offering him a permanent contract and supporting him with the exciting next step to ‘Accounts Assistant’.

 

Adam says,

“My apprenticeship doing the AAT Level 3 (after previously completed the AAT Level) has provided me with the opportunity to work a 9-5 job and learn at the same time in an area that I have wanted to work in and learn more about. It has enabled me to push myself to accomplish things that I did not think I would do at the age I am.

I am working in the Accounts department of an international medical supplies company and it is something that I am proud of.

The great support network here at Medisave has enabled me to develop and flourish  – not only professionally, but as a person. I have grown as a person in ways I did not think I could, and this apprenticeship has given me the opportunity to continue to grow and learn. As Henry Ford once said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young”.”

 

Apprenticeships Vacancies at Medisave

Medisave have apprenticeship vacancies available in Customer Service Level 2 and Level 3, Business Administration Level 2 and Level 3 and AAT Level 2 and Level 3. For further information please see www.medisave.co.uk/jobs

3 of medisaves apprentices

Part 2 soon…

Reduce Preventable Infections from Spirometry Testing

vitalograph bacterial filters infographic

Vitalograph’s Bacterial Viral Filters Could Save Practices Thousands

Between early October to mid-January, figures from the Guardian say, 120 people died of flu-related symptoms in the UK, nearly three times as many as the previous year. With up to 30,000 people visiting a GP each week with influenze-like symptoms, the chance of infection spreading during spirometry tests is much higher.

Using one-way valve cardboard mouthpieces during spirometry testing provides very little protection from bacteria and viruses passing straight through the spirometer, potentially infecting the member of staff administering the test. This lack of protection can lead to cross infection between patients, lost work from staff illness and increased treatment costs later on from infected patients.

The Solution: Vitalograph’s Bacterial Viral Filters

According to Dr Derek Cramer and Simon Ward, of the Royal Brompton Hospital, using a BVF is common practice in lung function testing in secondary care, however, it is far less common in primary care. By assuming any patient taking a lung function test is infectious and using a BVF for all patients, GP surgeries could dramatically improve their rates of cross infection and protect their equipment, staff and patients.

99.999% Cross-Contamination Efficiency

By reducing the contamination risk during testing, GP surgeries could save thousands of pounds in lost staff hours and the further treatment of patients.

How Do Bacterial/Viral Filters Work?

Vitalograph’s BVFs use an electrostatically charged material to trap bacteria and viruses (including TB, MRSA & influenza) with a validated cross-contamination efficiency of 99.999%. This doesn’t affect air-flow at all, meaning you will see the same results as with cardboard mouthpieces but with reduced risk to the patient and clinician administering the test.

On top of the hygiene benefits of using BVFs, they can also reduce the time spent cleaning and sterilising test equipment, which means more patients can be seen in a shorter time.

Conclusion

Introducing BVFs into your practice is not just a cost-effective solution to infection control, it also protects your staff and could end up saving a lot of money, both directly and indirectly.

To order a BVF pack or any other Vitalograph product, head to our store.

All New Ear Irrigator From ProPulse® – The Brand That Listens

All New Ear Irrigator From ProPulse® – The Brand That Listens

We’re incredibly proud of our relationships with our suppliers. By working closely together we can improve our offers, run great giveaways and give our customers all they need to make an informed choice of product.

But one of our suppliers has gone above and beyond in their approach to building relationships, not just with distributors, but with the end-users themselves.

Mirage, who produce ProPulse® Ear Irrigators have just released their newest model based on feedback from clinicians who use the device. The old unit was plagued by issues caused by the rechargeable battery and LCD screen, both of which have been replaced in the new unit.

Why Does It Matter?

The ProPulse ear irrigator is used to remove wax from inside the ear. To do this it uses a directed jet of water, which breaks up the wax. To use the device safely requires a high level of skill but also control over the strength of the jet which, in turn, means the device must be reliable and well-made.

By refining and improving the design and manufacturing of the device, using feedback from the people actually using it, Mirage have been able make massive improvements to the reliability and functionality of the ProPulse®.

Staying Connected

After 25 years in the ear care industry, Mirage have kept their connection with their users. In an industry where there is little effective competition, maintaining this is an admirable feat and we look forward to seeing what innovations they introduce next.

Mirage are always listening to what their users have to say about their products. One comment that came up time and again from users was that they loved the two-dial operation from the old ProPulse NG. They heard this and the new unit now features the two dials.

propulse dials

100% British-Based

All ProPulse® products are tested and assembled in the UK in Welwyn Garden City. By keeping these processes in-house, Mirage are able to tweak processes and make improvements to meet user needs. So, when you buy a ProPulse®, not only are you getting a reliable, powerful product, you’re also supporting British industry.

New Product – Lower Price?

Despite being the most reliable ProPulse® ever made, the new model is costs considerably less than the old model. At just £156 (at the time of writing), the ProPulse Ear Irrigator is £43 cheaper and won’t cost the Earth to maintain. Consumables remain the same as for the older models, so if you’re upgrading, you won’t have to replace your stock.

Thinking of Upgrading?

If you’re thinking of upgrading or replacing your old unit, we highly recommend the new ProPulse Ear Irrigator. You can purchase the unit on our website with either 10 or 100 QrX tips included. Even better, shipping is completely free for both options!

propulse ear irrigator 2017 with 10 qrx tips

ProPulse® Ear Irrigator 2017 (incl. 10 QrX® Tips)

£156.00

Powerful, easy-to-use and incredibly reliable, the new 2017-model ProPulse Ear Irrigator is designed to save time and money on routine irrigation proceedures.

Buy It Here

propulse ear irrigator 2017 with 100 qrx tips

ProPulse® Ear Irrigator 2017 (incl. 100 QrX® Tips)

£169.49

Still have consumables from the ProPulse NG or G5? There’s no need to replace them to work with the new unit, they’re already compatible!

Buy It Here

Asbestos Awareness Saves Lives, Two Lungs at a Time

As November kicks off Lung Cancer Awareness Month, it’s a chance for all of us to take a deep breath, and reflect on lung health. As health professionals, we see the impact of environmental and industrial pollution, and its negative effect on global air quality and lung health. Therefore, as advocates of health, it’s important to focus on preventative measures, by raising awareness and preventing hazardous exposure to common airborne contaminants.

One surprisingly prevalent carcinogen that demands global attention is a mineral that’s been used for decades in the construction and manufacturing industries: asbestos.

What is Asbestos?

Continue reading Asbestos Awareness Saves Lives, Two Lungs at a Time

Work Experience in a GP Surgery: The Joy for an Aspiring High School Medical Student

Foreword

Last month, I received an email from Meghan Ray, a high school student from Glasgow who had spent part of her holidays working in her local GP surgery. She had written a short article on her experiences in the practice and asked if we could publish it on our blog.

After reading through her article, I was struck by Meghan’s drive, ambition and the obvious delight she took in being a part of a team dedicated to helping others. I hope you find her account and insight into life in a modern GP surgery as interesting and inspiring as I have.


Glasgow bridge
Flickr | John Loach | CC-by-SA

Hello, my name is Meghan Ray. I am 14 years old and I live in Glasgow, Scotland. During the Christmas holidays, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to spend a few days at my local GP surgery to observe what really goes on and with a wish to develop an insight to primary care and see whether medicine is really a career I want to pursue.

Continue reading Work Experience in a GP Surgery: The Joy for an Aspiring High School Medical Student

Stethoscope Royalty at NTI Event

Dr Littmann's original stethoscope
Dr Littmann’s original stethoscope

At the Littmann® booth at the recent National Teaching Institure & Critical Care Exposition, in Houston, Texas, the Medisave team had the pleasure of assisting a member of stethoscope royalty in choosing herself a new stethoscope…

Attending the event was Lisa Littmann Cranford – granddaughter of the legendary Dr. David Littmann, founder of Littmann® stethoscopes and inventor of the dual-headed chestpiece design that is still the backbone of Littmann® stethoscope technology to this day.

Whilst getting her new mirror finish Littmann Cardiology IV laser engraved at the booth Lisa was kind enough to share some fascinating insight into the human story behind the brand. She even brought along her grandfathers original Littmann stethoscope!

Lisa Littmann Cranford assessing our Technical Product Director, Matt Denton at the NTI expo
Lisa Littmann Cranford assessing our Technical Product Director, Matt Denton at the NTI expo

Last year was the 200th anniversary of the invention of the stethoscope by René Laennec. His innovation revolutionised medicine and lead to the development of many new tools and methodologies that are still in use today. You can read our article on René Laennec here.

If you need a new stethoscope or are interested in our laser engraving service, visit our website.