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Surviving Shiftwork Conference

  • : Melbourne VIC 3004

Shiftwork, put plainly, is working outside of daylight hours. Many people work these hours, but for nurses and midwives shiftwork represents the bulk, if not all, of our working lives. Despite the global numbers of people employed as shiftworkers, 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 shiftwork. 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 shiftwork. Learn about:

  • How fatigue impacts your cognitive performance
  • The dangers of chronically-raised cortisol levels
  • 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 shiftwork. This introductory session will update you on current evidence relating to fatigue, performance, and safety. This session includes:

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


Stretch and Breathing Break


Rhonda Russo

Shiftwork 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. Getting adequate good quality sleep represents one obvious strategy to surviving shiftwork. Understanding how to get a good night’s (or day’s) sleep and ultimately survive shiftwork 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 shiftwork?
  • How can this science translate into effective rostering and scheduling of shifts so we can practice safely?



Dr Vivien Lane

Can Rostering Improve Our Ability to Survive Shiftwork?

Shiftwork tolerance can be built up in a number of ways. This session will look at the evidence regarding safe and effective rostering for nurse wellbeing. What works and what doesn’t? Includes:

  • What is the impact of random shift allocation on nurses?
  • Is there a model that appears to work best?
  • Should the age of a person be factored into rotating shifts?
  • What are current approaches to rostering that can enhance nurse wellbeing?


Dr Michael Nancarrow

Making Ethical Decisions When You’re Tired

Fatigue should not be thought of as a high-powered enemy of effective decision-making. Inevitably, clinicians who are fatigued will still have to make decisions. However, in healthcare, these decisions may be ethically charged. When in a state of fatigue, does our ability to make the tough ethical decisions change? This session investigates the link between fatigue, ethics, and clinical decision making. It includes:

  • How does ethical decision-making occur?
  • What changes if we are tired?
  • How do you maintain a focus on moral decision-making?



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 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 manage your shiftwork! This session includes:

  • More than just sleep – what self-care looks like
  • 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 shiftwork 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 humour back into your shifts and, in so doing, create a better working environment for yourself, your colleagues, and your patients. This session looks at:

  • What humour does to the mind and body
  • How to ensure fun is not callous in a deeply emotionally charged environment
  • How you can inject some fun back into your shiftwork 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. This session includes:

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


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. It includes:

  • How to switch off the stress response
  • Simple techniques that can promote relaxation and improve personal wellbeing and professional performance


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 shiftwork. 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 shiftwork 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 shiftwork
  • 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, and 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. It 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 shiftwork. Safety and quality of patient care may be compromised if nurses and midwives are not optimally prepared for the demands of shiftwork. 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 shiftwork 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


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 evidence-based organisational learning and development, providing innovative and learner-focused seminars and programs that facilitate ... Read More

Michael Nancarrow

Michael Nancarrow

Michael Nancarrow has studied economics, law, and political theory at Macquarie University, the University of Sydney, and at the University ... Read More

Surviving Shiftwork Conference
Speciality Classification
Interest Areas
Provider Type
11 hours
Start Date
End Date
11 hours
Price Details
$590.00 (two days)
Melbourne VIC 3004
Rydges Sydney Central, 28 Albion Street
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