Temporarily on night shift; too scared to do it

  1. I was asked if I wanted to work for a month on night shift when I'm off orientation. I'll get paid a lot for nights, especially here in California. But I am soooo nervous. Sure, I've had a couple times in my life when I stayed up all night... but that's when I was bored and unemployed and had no real responsibility. THIS is different; I'd have to stay awake to take care of people. I'm terrified. I don't want to make deadly mistakes because of my lack of sleep. And no, I don't drink coffee or tea. I HATE them. So how am I gonna stay awake? I was honest and said I don't know if I am up for it but I'd think about it. I don't really know why I was asked to do this. My entire sleep schedule is gonna be off, and I won't have time to adjust since I'll be going from days straight to nights. And I'd be on an entirely different schedule as my husband. And I'm afraid my cat will keep meowing all day when I'm trying to sleep (he's a LOUD meower)... I still hear him even with ear plugs. And during night shifts, they draw all the labs. I can draw blood, but there are a lot of times I end up getting someone else to do it for me because the patients are such a hard stick. I know it'll probably be less busy at night; that's a plus. I'm just scared. I honestly REALLY don't want to work nights, but I'm atleast considering it. What would you do??
    Last edit by LaceyRN12 on Jul 3, '13
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    About LaceyRN12

    Joined: Sep '12; Posts: 102; Likes: 72
    from US


  3. by   Cohiba
    Working nights vs. being unemployed as a new grad in CA? That one's an easy call--drink a ton of water to pressurize your bladder and stay awake from having to pee every 15 minutes, pound some RedBull, and join the dark side crew...
    Last edit by Cohiba on Jul 3, '13
  4. by   classicdame
    I had the same concerns but they were never realized. There is a lot to do and you stay awake.
  5. by   meanmaryjean
    So you modify your sleeping arrangements (pitch black room, fan for background noise, leave the cell phone in another room and lock the cat OUT) and you'll discover that A) all the cool people work nights B) there's plenty to do- trust me and C) you may find you actually like it.
  6. by   3aremyjoy
    The actual WORKING of the night shift is surprisingly quite easy. Every one has their "sleepy time", that's when you get up and MAKE yourself busy if you're not all ready.
    That being said...training your body to SLEEP has been a skill that has alluded me thus far. I only work 8 hour nights (10-6), I'm usually asleep by 7...then my stupid body starts waking me up around 11:30...I usually have a good 3 hour nap later in the day if I'm working the next night.
    One trick I've learned is to eat a meal when I get home. I may not feel like eating, but if I do I can at least sleep till 1230.
    Agreeing with black out curtains, fan, white noise of some kind and phones (ALL PHONES) turned OFF.
    Good luck!
  7. by   nrsang97
    I agree with meanmaryjean. Fan in the room for background, ear plugs if you must, cell phone in another room, turn off the ringer on the home phone if you have one, lock out the cat, and dark. You will soon find that you will have plenty to do on nights. As for the blood draws keep trying it comes with time, but you need to keep practicing.
  8. by   jasilady
    I had some of your same fears I have a 4 year old.. Some days he understand mommy works but most of the time he doesn't understand y I am sleeping during the day...

    Trust me u will b up there is ton to do.. Especially from day shift on top of what u have to do.. Nd med pass!! Ha so u will not be sleep.. I mean try it and see I like nights I only drink water I don't like coffee or caffeine .. I find it makes me feel tired.. So good ole H2o I gets tons of sleep during the day as well...

  9. by   Twinmom06
    I LOVE working nights!!! the tough part sometimes is the ride home...oh and do you drink iced tea? I find I get more of a kick from iced tea than coffee with less of the shaky side effects...

    water keeps your brain hydrated and less foggy and I'm also a big fan of Diet Dr. Pepper
  10. by   twinmommy+2
    I had a time of it today. My first day back on a string of nights, so I took a nap today. No problem right??? Not until my loving husband started changing batteries in the smoke detectors, which of course are all strung together. So the one in our bedroom started ringing. Sigh...takes a while to go back to sleep after that lol.
  11. by   candyimage16
    It's not a problem to switch yourself over to nights, you just have to make yourself lay down and block out all the noise. And really, working nights is not much different than days except that it has less foot traffic. You are able to spend more time with your patients and you will most likely feel that you have been able to provide better care. I don't do coffee and rarely tea, but people are right to just get up if your tired, you'll wake up if you keep yourself busy. You will have to make your sleep pattern the same or possibly more than you would working days (meaning be in bed by 9-10, and sleep until 4-5). It's the hardest thing for your friends/family to understand what it means for your to be on night shift, so I started using the "do not disturb" feature on my phone, turning on a fan, eye mask and ear plugs if it's lawn day.) The work is the same from days to nights, you just have to adjust in your mental game to make it work. Quit making excuses, it's not anything someone else hasn't already gotten through before, and just do it!
  12. by   joanna73
    I also had similar concerns, but I've been working permanent nights for 3 years and I enjoy nights. If you make sleep during the day a priority, continue to eat healthy and exercise, you should adjust. Too many people think they can stay up all day and work at night. Doing so regularly will result in burnout quickly. Some people are also more inclined to be up at night anyway, more than others. Time will tell.

    However, if you need the job, I would suggest making nights work for at least 8 months. You'll find that nights are busy in their own way.
  13. by   CrazierThanYou
    I am a night shifter and I like it. Right now, I have no desire to go to day shift. Staying up really isn't hard at all. Like others said, there are things to be done and even if you hit a slow spot, staying awake shouldn't be a problem.

    I sleep in the morning of my first night shift, and between night shifts, I sleep all day with blackout curtains and a box fan (they're louder), the morning after my last night shift, I usually sleep 2-4 hours so I can have the rest of the day with my family. I also work all three of my shifts in a row.
  14. by   LaceyRN12
    I really appreciate hearing everyone's thoughts on night shifts! I'm really starting to consider it now. Maybe I should just give it a try and see what it's like. It's only temporary anyways. I also hear you get paid more while doing less work. Hehe.