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Five top tips for your first 12-hour shift

Books don’t prepare you for what it will be like when you do your first 12 hour shift.



Hospital at night time night shift

Your will be both nervous and excited for your first 12-hour shift – but don’t worry!

You build up a picture in your head of what it will be like; what you’ll see, what you’ll learn and what clinical skills you’ll get to use. You begin drastically reading nursing texts, looking up different diseases and treatment plans. However, these books don’t prepare you for what it will be like when you do your first 12 hour shift.

Here are some handy tips for you.


Bring enough food.

This is essential! You won’t realise quite how hungry your stomach can get when you’re running around the ward talking to patients, answering phones and taking observations.

You might not even have time to think about your hunger, but I promise you, when you sit down for your break you’ll be grateful you packed a sandwich and some snacks!

Bring a notepad.

You’ll see so many different diseases, illnesses, drugs and treatment methods, and it can be difficult to keep up with it all during a 12-hour shift!

A handy notepad can help you jot down anything you’re unsure of. It’ll definitely help for your future essays and any future patients you come across.

Wear comfy shoes.

I can’t emphasise this enough! 12 hours is a long time, and for the most of it, you’ll be on your feet. You might be caring for your patients, but your feet need some tender loving care too!

Take a look at some the 6 Best Shoes For Nurses, Midwives and Support Workers.

Drink lots of water.

You might be checking your patient’s fluid balance, but you can’t forget your own. You can easily become dehydrated from walking around the ward, so make sure you’ve got a drink handy.

Treasure your breaks.

It’s not often that you get to sit down on a 12 hour shift, so when you do get the opportunity, use it to relax and let your body re-energise.

So you’ve completed your first 12 hour shift, you arrived when the sun was rising and left as it’s about to set. Throughout the whole day you’ve been so busy you didn’t even have time to look at the clock. 12 hour shifts go quick, and it’s a time where you really get to know the staff and patients. You’ll learn and do lots, so just make sure you’ve got a comfy bed to come back to!


Former student nurses share their top money-saving tips

“A nursing degree is very different to most undergraduate courses.”



Student money saving tips

Direct from former student nurses, the Student Money Guide is packed with useful tips.

New nursing students should claim fuel reimbursements, car share, compare markets and supermarkets and seek second-hand textbooks to make their student funding, and part-time wages go as far as possible, updated advice from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) says.

The College’s latest Student Money Guide for nursing is packed with useful information on childcare, travel expenses, charitable funding and tips for those moving into private rented accommodation.


The top money-saving tips.

Direct from former student nurses, the guide offers some top money-saving tips, which include;

  1. Develop a good relationship with your bank – meet and go through all the options and accounts which will save you most money and give you the best interest rates
  2. Use online materials, the RCN Library for example, instead of buying textbooks – If you do buy them, try advertising on university notice boards for second-hand copies, or, have a look at Use cashback websites, such as Quidco, when making purchases.
  3. Get a Young Persons Rail Card if you spend over £72 a year on rail travel – all full-time students are eligible, regardless of age.
  4. Claim fuel reimbursement if you drive further to placement than to university – it is offered, so you might as well.
  5. Be penny-wise, seek out free pickings – go to sites like Freecycle for free furniture, kitchenware and bicycles.
  6. Check out your local discount warehouses for basics, cleaning products, toilet rolls, washing powder and buy these as a household to split the cost of a bulk buy – it is well worth it.
  7. Share lifts to placement and do food shops with fellow students.
  8. Make sure your supermarket shop is cheapest – check online comparison sites like ahead of your shop.
  9. Use your local butchers and market.
  10. Take a packed lunch and flask to university – you will save a small fortune and probably eat better.

Nursing is different to other degree courses.

Claire Cannings, Senior Welfare Adviser commented: “A nursing degree is very different to most undergraduate courses. The placement element means there is less time for part-time work, and the long shifts mean childcare and travel is often more expensive.

“Fluency with finances, brilliance with budgeting and keeping clued-up on things complimentary can pay dividends. This can, in turn, impact positively on study and well-being through a student’s learning years and beyond. It’s amazing how many grants and funds students are entirely unaware of which is why we’ve collated all the information they need in one place.

“While the RCN will still be making the case to Government to invest in nursing education, we hope the guide will continue to be a valuable resource to our current and potential members.”

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Clinical Updates

Induction framework for General Practice Nurses launched

It also provides guidance for practices employing General Practice Nurses.



nurse working at desk in office

The document provides a framework for both new and experienced general practice nurses.

NHS England, in collaboration with The QNI, has launched a new Induction Template for General Practice Nursing.

The Induction Template is has been designed to enable employers to ensure that nurses in a first career destination role in General Practice are well supported when taking their first career step in primary care.


Not just useful for newly qualified nurses, the 51-page document provides an induction framework for all new general practice nurses, enabling them to develop key skills required for the role.

It also provides guidance for practices employing General Practice Nurses.

Nursing associates, health care assistants and student nurses preparing for a primary care placement may also find the template useful.

A great start to a long and exciting career’.

The author of the document, Queen’s Nurse and experienced nursing mentor and educator, Sharon Aldridge-Bent said; “Developing this template highlighted the urgent need for a comprehensive induction and orientation programme for all nurses new to general practice.

“This most certainly will assist with recruitment and retention of nurses in the primary care setting.”

Paul Vaughan, Head of Nursing Now England, responsible for the delivery of the GPN Ten Point Plan, said: “this new resource will enable employers to ensure they provide nurses new to general practice with a really good experience of working in the sector and ensure they have a great start to their long and exciting career working general practice.”

The resource underpinned by General Practice – developing confidence, capability and capacity – A ten-point action plan for General Practice Nursing (2017) contributes towards the overall strategic goals outlined in the General Practice Five Year Forward View.

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