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Surviving Shiftwork Conference

  • : Melbourne VIC 3000


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!

Schedule Day One



Welcome and Introduction


Dr Clare Anderson

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


Professor Shantha Rajaratnam

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. 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 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 Alzheimer's?
  • 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 Jill Beattie

The Neurobiology of Stress

Personal experience tells us that shift work can lead to additional stress in our lives. Understanding the neurobiology of stress can help us to understand the science behind what is actually happening in our body. In order to “get on with the job” or “look after the family” we can often ignore the early signs of the body’s stress response. When we can identify the signs of an autonomic nervous system under stress, we are better placed to elicit the relaxation response. This session looks at:

  • The neurobiology of stress – what’s happening in our bodies?
  • How can chronic stress lead to ill health and chronic illness?
  • How stress affects our functioning and relationships at work and at home?


Dr Jill Beattie

The Lost Art of Relaxation: Supporting the Relaxation Response

Over time, in our fast-paced, performance-oriented world, we seem to have suppressed the body’s natural relaxation response. As nurses and midwives, we may be able to support the relaxation response in our patients, but are we good at eliciting our own relaxation response? It’s now time to support and allow the relaxation response through actively practicing a variety of skills. Underpinned by the knowledge of the neurobiology of stress, this next interactive session will cover a variety of skills to enable recognition of the stress response and support the relaxation response. This session looks at:

  • How do we get from stress to relaxation?
  • Why do we need to become more aware of our body sensations?
  • What are some simple techniques that can promote relaxation and improve personal and professional wellbeing?



Dr Jenny Gowan

The Truth About Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements are used for a wide range of reasons, not just for the management of nutritional deficiencies. For instance, they may be used as agents to enhance mood and performance, decrease stress, and improve sleep. Despite their widespread use, information surrounding their actual, evidenced-based efficacy is often insufficient. So, what are their pharmacological properties and are they even safe and effective? This session will answer the following topical questions:

  • What are the benefits of fish oil?
  • When is Vitamin D indicated?
  • Topical issues – are zinc, magnesium, calcium, glucosamine, vitamin B12, curcumin for arthritis, and CoQ beneficial in disease management and for wellbeing?
  • What does the evidence suggest?
  • How do you know what is a reliable product?
  • Where are sources available for reliable information?



Leanne Boase

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?


Day Two



Geoff Ahern

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. This session 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?
  • What are some simple approaches to introducing better nutrition and more activity into your routine?


Geoff Ahern

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 feelings occurring? Let’s discuss:

  • Why unsettling emotions are normal and associated with shiftwork
  • How can you 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



Taruni Falconer

Communicating Effectively When You’re Tired – You’re Dreaming, right?

Fatigue is a high-powered enemy of effective communication. How common is it to feel like you’ve said the wrong thing, snapped, or misread someone else’s communication, simply because you’re sleep deprived! In our profession, this unfortunately can have detrimental effects on our patients, colleagues, loved ones, and ourselves. However, exploring current developments in neuroscience can provide insights into why communicating well when we’re tired is so difficult! In so doing, it will reveal some practical ways of overcoming this. This session will look at:

  • What effect does sleep deprivation have on our emotions?
  • Are we less emphatic when we’re tired?
  • How can we regain compassion, patience, and energy to improve our communication?


Taruni Falconer

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 does self-care look like to you?
  • Finding motivations that matter to you
  • An opportunity to workshop, discuss, reflect, and prepare you to go forth and conquer shiftwork!



Ros Ben-Moshe

Tired? 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!



Geoff Ahern

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


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 shift work places upon the health professional.

Your learning outcomes:

Engage in meaningful dialogue with colleagues to improve safety and quality of care for 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 shiftwork on health and wellbeing to enhance self-care and motivation


Geoffrey Ahern

Geoffrey Ahern

Geoffrey Ahern is a senior mental health clinician who works with the Victorian Police on a specialised mental health emergency ...Read More

Clare Anderson

Clare Anderson

Dr Clare Anderson is an associate professor in the School of Psychological Sciences, and leads a research team at the ... Read More

Shantha Rajaratnam

Shantha Rajaratnam

Professor Shantha Rajaratnam is Director of Research Translation (Industry Engagement) and Program Lead for Sleep in the Monash Institute of ... Read More

Jill Beattie

Jill Beattie

Dr Jill Beattie is a senior research fellow at Monash University, Victoria. Jill is also a mindfulness-based emotional fitness consultant ... Read More

Jenny Gowan

Jenny Gowan

Jenny, a practicing pharmacist, is a teaching associate at Monash University, Melbourne. She is a member of the PSA Branch ... Read More

Taruni Falconer

Taruni Falconer

Taruni Falconer is a coach, keynote speaker, and author based in Melbourne, Australia. Taruni designed and delivered the first research-based ... Read More

Ros Ben-Moshe

Ros Ben-Moshe

Ros Ben-Moshe is director of LaughLife Wellbeing Programs, a leading provider of wellbeing, mindfulness and laughter wellness programs. LaughLife delivers ... Read More

Leanne Boase

Leanne Boase

Leanne Boase is a Nurse Practitioner with a background in critical care and paediatrics. She currently practices across four GP ...Read More

Surviving Shiftwork Conference
Speciality Classification
Interest Areas / Topics Covered
Provider Type
11 hours
Start Date
End Date
11 hours
Price Details
$590.00 (two days)
Melbourne VIC 3000
Oaks On Collins , 480 Collins St
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