12-Hour CNA Work Schedule – 8 Tips to Survive

8 Tips to Survive a 12-Hour Shift as a CNA

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Are you a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)? Or are you passionate about becoming a CNA in the US? Wondering about what a shift as a CNA is? Are you worried about working a 12-hour CNA work schedule? You are at the right place.

In this article, you will learn more about the typical CNA work hours and tips to survive a long or 12-hour CNA work schedule.

Typical CNA Work Hours

Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are healthcare professionals who assist patients to perform their daily activities. They are responsible for the patient’s care and safety. The most common shifts for a CNA are either 8-hour or 12-hour shifts.

Generally, a CNA can work about five 8-hour shifts or some 12-hour shifts with an extra day off. For typical CNA positions, workplaces, such as nursing homes and hospitals allow CNAs to work about three 12-hour shifts per week.

CNAs are typically full-time employees in the healthcare industry. Though the shift as a CNA may vary based on the workplace environment and the facility you are a part of, CNAs work for about 32 to 40 hours every week.

Each workplace has a variety of work options available for CNAs. However, most CNAs work every other weekend to cover shifts. Some of the most common 8-hour shifts for CNAs are as follows:

  • 7 am to 3 pm.
  • 3 pm to 11 pm.
  • 11 pm to 7 am.

Generally, a 12-hour shift for a CNA may require the nursing assistant to work throughout the day for the day shift or work throughout the night for the night shift. It is essential for CNAs to survive their long hours days without getting bored or exhausted.

Now, let’s discuss some tips to survive a 12-hour CNA work schedule that can help you stay active and energetic throughout the day. 

8 Tips to Survive a 12-Hour CNA work schedule

Most of the time, as healthcare professionals you may have to work long work hours. Working a 12-hour CNA work schedule may seem daunting; however, you can survive your 12-hour CNA work schedule if you follow some simple tips and tricks.

Working a long shift as a CNA can be tough on your body and might be more exhausting than usual. With some tips and tricks in hand, you will be able to survive a 12-hour shift as a CNA in the healthcare industry.

Now, let’s discuss in detail some tips to help you survive a 12-hour CNA work schedule. Some tips that can help you are:

CNA work schedule
CNA work schedule
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Carry snacks in your pocket.
  • Prepare your outfit the previous day.
  • Wear compression socks.
  • Wear a good pair of shoes.
  • Take breaks.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Take power naps.

GET ENOUGH SLEEP

As a CNA from the healthcare industry, you must be well aware of how important sleep is to a healthy lifestyle. If you are someone who is struggling to get a good amount of sleep, you can consider taking some melatonin supplements before bedtime.

Melatonin supplements can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep for a longer period of time, thereby regulating your sleep time. It is also necessary to go to bed early to have proper sleep time. Getting a good amount of sleep helps you work efficiently throughout the day. 

CARRY SNACKS IN YOUR POCKET

Working a 12-hour CNA work schedule can be exhausting. It is good practice to bring a snack in your pocket. This provides you the opportunity to have a snack whenever you feel hungry or tired.

At times, you may not be able to take a break due to your hectic schedule. Bringing a snack in your pocket may come in handy whenever you wish to refuel your energy to make it through the rest of your shift.  

PREPARE YOUR OUTFIT THE PREVIOUS DAY

It is always good practice to prepare your outfit the previous day. This saves time looking for clothes in the morning. Make sure to wear something that is comfortable. You need clothes that help you stay comfortable and perform tasks conveniently during long shift hours as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).  

WEAR COMPRESSION SOCKS

As a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) who is on your feet for a long period of time, you may be at risk of having varicose veins. Therefore, wearing compression socks can help to reduce that risk.

Compression socks are not just for post-operative patients. The socks can also help reduce fatigue by improving your blood flow and by reducing the build-up of lactic acid. It also helps your calves from getting sore and your ankles from being swollen after a long shift as a CNA.

WEAR A GOOD PAIR OF SHOES

As a CNA, you will have to do a lot of physical work and also stand for longer durations at times. Wearing a good pair of shoes can help you with performing your daily tasks comfortably. It is also very important to have the right shoes that perfectly fit your feet.

Investing in a good pair of shoes can help you walk comfortably and they are also durable compared to generic brand shoes. It is good to replace your shoes every 6 to 9 months or when the tread wears down.

TAKE BREAKS

CNA work schedule
CNA work schedule

On long shifts, taking breaks once in a while or whenever required can help you relax and regain some energy to work for the rest of your shift. It is always good to go for a walk or get some fresh air whenever you take a break.

At times, answering phone calls or discussing with other CNAs at the workstation during break time may not give you the satisfaction of relaxing to regain some energy to work for the rest of the time.

STAY HYDRATED

Another tip to survive a 12-hour CNA work schedule is to stay hydrated throughout the shift. Make sure to drink fluids such as juice, sports drinks, water, milk, and tea. Try to avoid caffeinated drinks as they can cause dehydration as well. Staying hydrated helps you stay proactive throughout your shift.

TAKE POWER NAPS

Last but not least, one of the best tips to survive a long 12-hour CNA work schedule is to take power naps whenever possible. Make sure to set an alarm on your phone and take a power nap. This will help in reducing stress and will give you the energy to work throughout the day. 

Wrapping Up

It may sound a bit difficult to survive a long shift as a CNA. But it can be made easy with some tips and tricks in hand. As a CNA, you need to stay healthy and fit to be able to assist patients to perform their daily activities. It is important to take care of yourself and take breaks during long shift hours whenever required. Taking proper care of your health helps avoid burnout.

If you are passionate about taking the CNA test or know someone who is interested in becoming a CNA, make sure to refer to our free practice test to help you efficiently prepare for the CNA exam.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you endure a 12-hour shift?

Some tips that can help you survive a 12-hour CNA work schedule are as follows:

  • Get enough sleep.
  • Carry snacks in your pocket.
  • Prepare your outfit the previous day.
  • Wear compression socks.
  • Wear a good pair of shoes.
  • Take breaks.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Take power naps.

Can you get certified as a CNA online?

Yes. There are schools that offer CNA certifications online. However, you need to complete your clinical training in-person to be able to practice as a CNA in the US.

How long is CNA training?

The duration of the CNA training program may vary depending on the program you choose and the requirement of your state. Generally, the training takes a time period of 4 to 6 weeks, while some programs last as long as 6 months.

Related Reads:

13 Essential CNA Supplies for Work You Shouldn’t Miss

States that Provide Free Reciprocity for CNA License: A Comprehensive Guide

All You Should Know About a Day in the Life of a CNA