Nights! Yikes! Scared to start em now!

  1. 0
    So, I'll graduate May. I've never worked a night shift in my life. I'd like to hear how other GNs have dealt with the culture shock of being new nurses AND the shock of orienting yourself to be nocturnal.
    And, I'd like to hear some opinions. Who has found it worth it to work on a specialty unit even though it meant working nights? Who has not found it worth it? Who's personality is changing from lack of sleep?
    Thanks, Rebecca
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  5. 0
    Quote from porterwoman
    So, I'll graduate May. I've never worked a night shift in my life. I'd like to hear how other GNs have dealt with the culture shock of being new nurses AND the shock of orienting yourself to be nocturnal.
    And, I'd like to hear some opinions. Who has found it worth it to work on a specialty unit even though it meant working nights? Who has not found it worth it? Who's personality is changing from lack of sleep?
    Thanks, Rebecca
    Hi Rebecca,

    I'm graduating in May as well, and on the unit where I'll be working, you self-schedule and have to pick 50% days, 50% nights. After you finish your preceptorship, you get to trade shifts with people if you want to, so if you want all nights, you can find someone who wants all days and switch. But for at least three months, I'll be doing rotating shifts. I've been quizzing nurses I know from work who graduated recently, just to see what strategies they've used. Here are some suggestions they gave me:

    1. Get curtains for your bedroom that *really* block light. They make blackout curtains that hotels use- you can buy them at walmart and attatch them to the back of your other curtains.
    2. If you can, get a few days off between a stretch of day shifts and a stretch of night shifts.
    3. Caffeine is your friend.
    4. if you're having a tough time staying awake at the beginning of your night shifts, get up a few minutes early and stretch or do some yoga. (A few people said they go for a run before they go to work, but I personally think that's insane.)

    I'm sure more experienced people here will have some great ideas for us. My biggest concern is medications- I take anticonvulsants for migraines, and altering my schedule might really screw me up. But I'm sure someone out there knows how to cope with that, too.

    Good luck to you!
  6. 0
    Quote from rach_nc_03
    Hi Rebecca,

    I'm graduating in May as well, and on the unit where I'll be working, you self-schedule and have to pick 50% days, 50% nights. After you finish your preceptorship, you get to trade shifts with people if you want to, so if you want all nights, you can find someone who wants all days and switch. But for at least three months, I'll be doing rotating shifts. I've been quizzing nurses I know from work who graduated recently, just to see what strategies they've used. Here are some suggestions they gave me:

    1. Get curtains for your bedroom that *really* block light. They make blackout curtains that hotels use- you can buy them at walmart and attatch them to the back of your other curtains.
    2. If you can, get a few days off between a stretch of day shifts and a stretch of night shifts.
    3. Caffeine is your friend.
    4. if you're having a tough time staying awake at the beginning of your night shifts, get up a few minutes early and stretch or do some yoga. (A few people said they go for a run before they go to work, but I personally think that's insane.)

    I'm sure more experienced people here will have some great ideas for us. My biggest concern is medications- I take anticonvulsants for migraines, and altering my schedule might really screw me up. But I'm sure someone out there knows how to cope with that, too.

    Good luck to you!
    I just started working night shifts last week, I rotate day/night and am a new RN just coming off orientation on a busy medical floor.... to tell you the truth, if your body can handle it, nights are not all that bad... atleast where I work! It takes awhile to get used to them but there are hardly ever any new orders to check, no doctors on the floors, most of the patients are asleep so the call lights arent going off ALL the time, however once and awhile we get a night where everyone seems like they are awake.... also, I found myself having more time to think about things........ bad part is Doctors dont like to be called at 3am unless there is a damn good reason and I have learned the hard way! HAHA!!! Anyhow, good luck! All the suggestions she gave above are what I would say... caffeine is a good friend, and get a few days off between days / night shifts..... so your body has time to adjust... good luck!
  7. 0
    Whew, that D/N rotation thing sounds rough, plus dealing with migraines must be a bear. The blackout curtains are a great idea. Where are you in NC, Rachel? I'm in western NC myself!
    happylush, are your pt ratios manageable for you? That's what kind of worries me, too: higher ratios at night.
    Thanks ya'll. Good luck!
  8. 0
    Well our average at night is 6 patients for me, and 7 for my lpn.... and thats usually the max for us.... especially gets hard when you get one of them nights when everyone is awake, which was the case last nite.... :/ But... overall its not as bad as it sounds! You stay really busy, but its not as overwhelming atleast to me, as day shifts are....



    Quote from porterwoman
    Whew, that D/N rotation thing sounds rough, plus dealing with migraines must be a bear. The blackout curtains are a great idea. Where are you in NC, Rachel? I'm in western NC myself!
    happylush, are your pt ratios manageable for you? That's what kind of worries me, too: higher ratios at night.
    Thanks ya'll. Good luck!
  9. 0
    Quote from porterwoman
    So, I'll graduate May. I've never worked a night shift in my life. I'd like to hear how other GNs have dealt with the culture shock of being new nurses AND the shock of orienting yourself to be nocturnal.
    And, I'd like to hear some opinions. Who has found it worth it to work on a specialty unit even though it meant working nights? Who has not found it worth it? Who's personality is changing from lack of sleep?
    Thanks, Rebecca
    I am a new grad; I too am wondering how the night shift will go. I will also be rotating, so that just complicates things more, I think. Being sleep-deprived is really tough for me. I hope I will find a way to get the sleep I need. Now that nights are starting soon for me, I'm getting nervous. Good luck.
  10. 0
    Quote from porterwoman
    So, I'll graduate May. I've never worked a night shift in my life. I'd like to hear how other GNs have dealt with the culture shock of being new nurses AND the shock of orienting yourself to be nocturnal.
    And, I'd like to hear some opinions. Who has found it worth it to work on a specialty unit even though it meant working nights? Who has not found it worth it? Who's personality is changing from lack of sleep?
    Thanks, Rebecca
    I graduated in June last year. I personally think working graveyard shifts are/ were unbearable. Just know some people adjust and some people don't. They say the quieter environment is conducive to learning, but is that true when your body is going "what the @#!*" and you're strung out on caffeine. My friends who work nocs are just now (10 months later) really getting used to it. It works for them because their kids are in school or they are single. I myself chose to forego the hospital pay for a semblance of sanity and do community-based nursing where I get to make my own schedule.

    Maybe you could do an old-fashioned Pros & Cons list? Good luck in whatever you choose.
  11. 0
    Quote from porterwoman
    So, I'll graduate May. I've never worked a night shift in my life. I'd like to hear how other GNs have dealt with the culture shock of being new nurses AND the shock of orienting yourself to be nocturnal.
    And, I'd like to hear some opinions. Who has found it worth it to work on a specialty unit even though it meant working nights? Who has not found it worth it? Who's personality is changing from lack of sleep?
    Thanks, Rebecca
    Hi,
    I read that another responder mentioned that some people can adjust and some people cannot. I concur.

    I have worked nights, days, afternoons, and also a three key, (rotating) schedule and thought that I had not problem. I was able to appreciate the night schedule for over 10 years, (off and on).

    Worse for me was rotating, (ugH talk about jet-lag). The three key was to work seven days on a day shift, have a day and a half off, come back on the afternoon shift for seven days, have two days off and then come back for seven days on the night shift and then have three days off and start all over again.

    After five years of that I felt really out of it and just resigned and went to another company on straight nights. Eventually I went to straight days.

    For me, nights and days are find but, afternoons just wig me out after more than a week.

    On nights, your entire non-work life revolves around your work schedule. Your days off aren't really your own because you may have to either work that night OR you worked the night before and are out of your mind. On the other hand,nights have benefits, no family calling you all through your shift, the hospital may have a more informal or cozy staff feeling and you do not ever have to worry about needing to take a day off of work to get any errands done!!

    A big factor is support from your friends and family who will understand that you need to adjust your life for this schedule. Finally I think keeping a routine is good for setting a new rhythm. I liked to get home, shower and hit the rack as soon as possible, if I let too much daylight pass I started to wake up before I could even go to sleep.

    Good luck!
    Gen
  12. 0
    [QUOTE=the hospital may have a more informal or cozy staff feeling [/QUOTE]

    I agree with this comment. I rotate days and nights, but I prefer the night shift. We are less staff and when something happens we really have to depend on each other. On the day we are coworkers but at night we are a team.

    Prepare to deal with grumpy docīs. You canīt get away from that.

    The worst about night shift is to get back to working days again. That is when I am having a bad day. It takes a few days to adjust. To get a life again.
  13. 1
    I'm orienting on nights in a CVICU (ignore my screen name, I want to change it). Pt ratio - 2:1 or 1:1 for high acuity. I never worked one night shift in my life either and I'm 31. Off and on, I have to come in during the day for new grad classes or whatnot and that screws me up. Generally, though, my rhythms are set for night...I just didn't know it. I am wide awake, extremely mentally alert and able to absorb info and I drink FAR less caffeine than I usually do during the day. So... like others have said, it depends on the person. My personality has actually improved.

    I personally think it is easier to learn on nights for the reasons described by the other posters, and would recommend it.

    What seems to work for me:
    If I have a day or two off before the shift, I take a 3 hour nap in the afternoon before I start...freshens me up. Then, when I get home, I eat, play with the kids/dog/husband or run an errand or two (depending on the day of week) and then go to bed. 5 hours if I don't work that night so I can go back to sleep w/hubby later. OR 6-7 hours if I do. I never work more than 2 shifts in a row without a day or two off.

    If a specialty unit is what you want, then I think nights is worth it.

    Alyssa, RN
    LaurieEllen1973 likes this.


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