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Surviving Shift Work Conference

  • : Surry Hills NSW 2010


Shift work, put plainly, is working outside of daylight hours. Many people work these hours, but for nurses and midwives, shift work represents the bulk, if not all, of our working lives. Despite the global numbers of people employed as shift workers, it can often feel like you’re the ONLY person going to work when everyone else is going home. Evidence is now revealing the physical and emotional consequences of shift work. It is therefore timely that formal education is available to all nurses and midwives to ensure you can feel safe, confident and prepared to survive the demands of shift work. Learn about:

  • How does fatigue impact your cognitive performance?
  • Why are chronically-raised cortisol levels so dangerous?
  • Simple techniques that can promote relaxation
  • How to incorporate better nutrition and more activity into your life
  • Managing feelings of disconnect, guilt and resentment
  • Overcoming occupational worry - how to go home happy!

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to network with like-minded colleagues. Book now!


Schedule Day One



Welcome and Introduction


Rhonda Russo

Linking Fatigue and Performance

Fatigue unquestionably has significant repercussions on key cognitive functions. Our ability to focus, remember important information, and make decisions changes when we are tired. Feeling safe, competent and confident in our ability to provide safe, quality care at any time of the day or night is imperative for all nurses and midwives working shift work. This introductory session will update you on current evidence relating to fatigue, performance, and safety. Includes:

  • How does fatigue impact our cognitive performance?
  • Are you more likely to make a mistake when you’re tired?
  • Do successive days of shift work affect patient safety?


Stretch and Breathing Break


Rhonda Russo

Shift Work and Sleep - A Match Made in Hell?

Sleep is often identified as the aspect of our lives that is most disrupted by working unsocial hours. Good quality, adequate sleep represents one obvious strategy to surviving shift work. Understanding how to get a good night’s (or day’s) sleep and ultimately survive shift work begins with an understanding of the science of sleep. This session explains:

  • What occurs physiologically when we sleep?
  • What disrupts a normal circadian rhythm?
  • Which hormones influence sleep?
  • Is there a link to long-term sleep loss and Alzheimers?
  • Can you manipulate your circadian rhythm to better cope with shift work?
  • How can this science translate into effective rostering and scheduling of shifts so we can practice safely?



Dr Judy Lovas

The Science of Stress

What exactly occurs in the body when we are stressed? How does stress affect our physical and emotional health? Could being more informed about the physiological mechanisms occurring in ourselves during times of stress assist us? This fascinating session considers the following:

  • What is stress?
  • How does stress differ from distress?
  • What is the difference between acute and chronic stress?
  • What impact does stress have on our immune system?


Dr Judy Lovas

The Art and Science of Relaxation

Relaxation Therapy is evidence-based, non pharmacological, non invasive and cost effective. If stress is a science, then relaxation is definitely an art form. We need to learn and actively practice this skill. Many would argue that for nurses and midwives, this is not something we’re very good at! Underpinned by your knowledge of the science of stress, this next session will demonstrate how you can easily counteract the harmful short- and long-term impacts of stress. Includes:

  • Can you switch off the stress response?
  • Simple techniques that can promote relaxation and improve personal wellbeing and professional performance



Shari Coventry

Surviving Shiftwork is More than Just Sleep!

How often do you hear that you must care for yourself first and foremost, in order to care for others? Engaging and encouraging patients to make better health choices is difficult, especially if we are not making positive health choices ourselves. So how do we actually do it? This session will not just serve as a timely reminder about why self-care matters - it will ask you to commit to ways in which you can develop your self-care plan to serving shift work! Includes:

  • More than just sleep - what does self-care look like to you?
  • How to maintain a work/life balance
  • An opportunity to workshop, discuss, reflect and prepare you to go forth and conquer shift work!



Shari Coventry

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Nurses are known to have a wicked a sense of humour. However, when shift work starts getting the better of a once jovial nurse, it is no laughing matter. Miserable nurses create miserable workplaces, which is particularly worrying in environments where the rotating shifts can be, at times, unrelenting. This session looks at how you as a nurse can infuse laughter back into your shifts and in so doing, create a better working environment for yourself, your colleagues, and your patients. Includes:

  • What does laughter do to the mind and body?
  • How to ensure a positive attitude in a deeply emotionally charged environment
  • How you can inject some fun back into your shift work routine!


Day Two



Dr Vivien Lane

Building Your Clinical Confidence

Confidence in our clinical ability is possibly the most underrated yet crucial aspect of staying safe and providing the best quality patient care. Competence undeniably goes hand-in-hand with this. Recognising when you are competent but not confident can alleviate unnecessary worry. Likewise, identifying red flags when you are overly confident but not competent can potentially prevent costly errors. This interesting session will look at the nature of clinical confidence, with a focus on how we can restore it if it’s currently low. Includes:

  • Why does confidence take so long to build up, yet can disappear in a flash?
  • Can confidence help us overcome the anticipatory anxiety associated with work?
  • A look at how you can restore low confidence
  • How to regain faith in your own ability



Linking Food and Mood

Fascinating research is challenging the paradigm that poor mental health can cause a poor diet. It is acknowledged that changes in mental health - such as stress or anxiety - can affect our dietary behaviours (hello comfort eating on night duty!). However, we are now beginning to also understand how better quality diets can improve a person’s mental health and perhaps even prevent mental health conditions. With nutrition widely accepted as a key aspect of personal and professional wellbeing, it’s time to look at the relationship between nutrition and mental health. Includes:

  • What’s the connection between the brain, addiction studies and what we eat?
  • Diet and depression - is there a link?
  • How about stress, sugar, and saturated fat?
  • Simple approaches to introducing better nutrition and more activity into your routine




The Truth About Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and other dietary supplements are often promoted as an additional strategy for wellbeing. They are used widely by many as agents to enhance mood and performance, decrease stress, and improve sleep. What are their pharmacological properties, and are they even safe and effective? This session will update you on the correct therapeutic uses of a range of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. Includes:

  • What are the benefits of fish oils?
  • When is Vitamin D indicated?
  • How do you know that’s a reliable product?
  • A chance to clarify the correct use of a range of vitamins and minerals, including:
    • zinc
    • magnesium
    • calcium; and
    • glucosamine


Dr Vivien Lane

Overcoming Occupational Worry - How to Go Home Happy!

Did I sign that medication chart? Did I miss something? Did I do the right thing? Should I call work and check? You are not alone if these doubts filter through your mind on your way home from a long shift. If they don’t - you’re a lucky one and can come to this session ready to share your tips! Feeling satisfied that your work is done and having clear boundaries between your professional and personal lives are key ingredients to surviving shift work. This session includes:

  • What’s normal and what’s not - identifying unnecessary worry
  • The power of positive psychology and self-talk
  • Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries - how to leave work at work



Dr Terry Froggatt

Managing Feelings of Disconnect

Feelings of disconnect are unfortunately associated with working when others are not. The thought of being at work when your friends and family are socialising or asleep can create conflict, stir up feelings of guilt, and even resentment. Starting a shift with these emotions inside us is not conducive to connecting with our patients. Knowing that shift work is part and parcel of being a 24/7 caring health professional, what strategies can we use to minimise these occurring? Let’s discuss:

  • Why unsettling emotions are normal and associated with shift work
  • How you can communicate more empathetically with patients, family, and colleagues - even when you’re tired!
  • Tips to help you reconnect with your friends, family and loved ones



Dr Terry Froggatt

Time to Be Present - How Mindfulness Can Help You

Mindfulness is not a new practice. It has existed for centuries. Yet in our present day lives, where it can be difficult to switch off, the ancient practice can offer easy, simple ways to reduce stress, improve performance and wellbeing. This session will assist you to apply basic mindfulness practices to personal and professional situations where you may feel stressed, overwhelmed and fatigued. Includes:

  • Why is being present important?
  • How can breathing assist us?
  • What techniques can be easily used in our daily lives to help us in times of stress?


The Goal Need for Program

Literature is now revealing the physical and emotional consequences of shift work. Safety and quality of patient care may be compromised if nurses and midwives are not optimally prepared for the demands of shift work. Evidence-based knowledge of how to improve performance and minimise risk is crucial to clinical confidence and safe provision of care. Education that encourages nurses’ to improve their own health and wellbeing is likely to further complement quality patient outcomes and improve job satisfaction.

Purpose of Program

The purpose of this event is to provide formal, evidence-based education on how to overcome the demands that shift work places upon the health professional.

Your learning outcomes:

Engage in meaningful dialogue with colleagues to improve safety and quality of patients throughout the 24-hour continuum of care

Reduce errors at night through knowledge of fatigue and performance

Have greater clinical confidence to provide care relating to a range of conditions that require timely, focused interventions

Use information relating to the implications of shift work on health and wellbeing to enhance self-care and motivation


To Be Determined

To Be Determined


Vivien Lane

Vivien Lane

Dr. Vivien Lane is a nurse clinician specialising in oncology and palliative care, with over three decades’ experience in education, ... Read More

Rhonda Russo

Rhonda Russo

Rhonda is the Founder and Managing Director of Sleep for Health and Safety. She has over 20 years' experience in ... Read More

Judy Lovas

Judy Lovas

Dr. Judy Lovas’ dynamic presentations explain the art and science of evidence-based relaxation therapy. In our increasingly fast-paced world everyone ... Read More

Shari Coventry

Shari Coventry

Shari Coventry is an Internationally Certified Laughter Yoga Trainer, Clinical Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner, and has studied many alternative modalities. ... Read More

Terry Froggatt

Terry Froggatt

Dr. Terry Froggatt is committed to evidenced-based organisational learning and development. Providing innovative and learner focused seminars and programs which ...Read More

Surviving Shift Work Conference
Speciality Classification
Interest Areas
Provider Type
11 hours
Start Date
End Date
11 hours
Price Details
$590.00 (two days)
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Rydges Sydney Central, 28 Albion Street
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