Top Five Tips for Night Shift? For a new nurse? - page 3

Hi everyone, I'm a new grad and I'm starting in heme/onc at a pediatric hospital next month. I'm going to be working three 12-hour shifts a week (nights), and I'm wondering if there are any tips any... Read More

  1. by   MrsMommaRN
    hi! night-shifter here. i am also a fairly new grad and started on nights. i personally love it. i have always been a night owl.
    if you have a family or children the key to working nights is organization. plan your meals, laundry, etc.
    don't forget to take care of you. a multi vitamin should be a staple.
    along with the darkened room a blind fold mask is also great. bed bath and beyond has them for 9.99. they fit great and you truly do have total blackout.
    good luck to you.
  2. by   abbysmom
    RE: how to keep people from talking trash about you. (a few comments back): It seems to me that this is rampant throughout nursing. I hate it, and the only way I can combat it is to not join in. We are all way too hard on each other, and with the hospital administration putting more and more on our shoulders, I think the least we should do as a profession is to stop badmouthing each other and start supporting each other. SO, no hints as to how to stop it. Just ignore it, do the best job you can do, and never talk trash about another nurse. If you have a problem with a person's performance, talk to them--alone. The backbiting is just too much out there.
  3. by   Indy
    So many good tips, it's hard to narrow it down to just 5.

    1. Pay attention to what aggravates dayshift the most and if it's something you can help with, try to make it better. With our unit it's baths so we make a concerted effort to bathe people at night whenever possible. It's hard to talk trash about people that you know are trying their best to help you.

    2. Bring good food and also have a little splurge budget so you don't feel deprived.

    3. Pee before you go home so that you don't get a bladder cramp on the way in the house.

    4. Whatever health routines, like vitamins, exercise, sleep, etc. that you find works well on the work days, don't forget to do them on the off days too. Maintaining consistency will help you in the long run.

    5. Eyeballing your charts early in a nightshift, even if you don't do a complete chart check early, always helps avoid errors. See the tips thread and the report sheets threads for more helpful stuff for any shift.
  4. by   1993RNGrad
    Quote from m1randapeurala
    I am starting nights and I am really worried about having my phone off while I sleep because my 6 year old is at school. My husband isn't always reachable during the day.

    I just have this horrible thought stuck in my head of my son falling from the monkey bars or throwing up and the school nurse not being able to let me know he needs me. !

    Any words of advice?
    Yes, I have worked nights for 14 out of 15 years of Nursing. My two youngest are in elementary school - I turn off my home phone, but my cell phone, which is also my alarm clock, is on and available for emergency calls.

    I don't give my cell phone out to anyone other than family/friends and they know I work nights and calling me during the day on the cell is a no no, UNLESS it's a true emergency.

    Works for me.....
  5. by   1993RNGrad
    As for tips:

    1. Definitely black out shades - they make a world of difference getting your body to relax and actually get effective sleep.

    2. A fan runs constanly in my room to help block out noise.

    3. Stop drinking coffee by no later than 3am.

    4. Try to work consecutive nights so you can establish a sleeping pattern.

    5. Do not turn on the tv when you get home.

    I normally work Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday nights. My sleep pattern is I get home, kiss the kids and walk them to the bus stop and head right to bed. I am normally sleeping by 8:30am and get up at 2:45pm, so I can be showered and dressed before the kids get off of the bus. I know it's only 6 hours of sleep, but it's important for me to be with the kids when they get home.

    Good Luck, I love working nights!!!!
  6. by   spiritmagejkt
    I've worked evenings or nights all but a few months of my carreer. The staff I've worked with on that shift have been experienced and very good. I hope my new experience here will be the same. I find I do much better work if I'm not rushed and have an hour or so of quiet time to chart and regroup. I personally find dayshift to be sensory overload. More commotion and noise. So I like and prefer that shift.



    Sleep issue. I don't switch over on my days off. I may get up early and go to bed a little early but not by more than a couple hours. This allows for a decent sleeping pattern. Its not any different than moving to another part of the world. Your body must become habituated. Constant changing can lead to health problems. I generally try to sleep at least 6 hours and allow a little more on days off. I'm fortunate in that my husband is also a night owl.

    Keep vigilent and focused at work. If you read make it something relevent to keep your mind on nursing. Problems can arise quickly at night and often there is less warning than during the day especially if the patient sleeps and wakes up in pain or SOB.

    Ditto on the water and healthy snacks. Many people gain weight working this shift. A way to avoid it is to keep your sleep as consistant as possible, eat healthy and get exercise even if its stretching or yoga. I realize many run around enough during a shift.
  7. by   DAMomma
    Don't drive home with your heat cranked on 90 degrees.....:trout:It will make for one loonnnnng drive.
  8. by   MaryAnn_RN
    Quote from DAMomma
    Don't drive home with your heat cranked on 90 degrees.....:trout:It will make for one loonnnnng drive.
    I once fell asleep at the wheel while in stationary traffic on the way home due to lack of sleep, rolled back and hit the van behind me .

    Agree totally about taking healthy food to work and drinking plenty of fluid.
  9. by   traumahawk99
    as a new nurse.. i think probably the most important thing is to be ready to notify your charge if anyone gets into any sort of distress...

    if someone looks like they're working too hard to breathe , if they're not perfusing well (low bp or high heart rate)... you better get them the heck out of there. i've seen newer nurses not recognize signs of distress... it never does any harm to ask another nurse to look at a patient.


    when you go home, get your head down in bed asap. that is essential if you're going to survive nights.

    stick it out, it's definitely worth it. you can make over 100k working nights. i did last year, and i'll do it again this year.
    until you get enough experience under your belt, it's best to be a bit cautious... don't be afraid to ask for help!
  10. by   gdeanrn
    Stay organized. You sometimes think you don't need to because it's not as hectic, but the night you throw organization out the window, you'll have a code!! If your organization provides you with extra time, LEARN SOMETHING!! there's always more to do, in charts, trade mags, or websites.
  11. by   jenw922
    I'm a new nurse also working nights, I got REALLY good room darkening curtains at Overstock.com, they were not expensive, look really nice and totally block out the sunlight. I have mastered the day sleeping by drawing them the night before my first night shift so I can sleep late then only using them the "days" I am working so my body really thinks it is night. When not working I tie them back so I can try to return to a natural sleep cycle. I'm good at the day sleeping part but need help on how to recover, as I feel like a zombie for 2-3 days after working 3 nights in a row. Any suggestions?
  12. by   paulwalkman
    After 3 nights (12s) in a row anyone might feel like a zombie. It was a good idea to buy blackout curtains. If you wake up at night, or late afternoon, and stay up to 6 or 7 (my hospital does 7-7) than you body will gradually get used to the new hours. You might not be as wiped out after 3 12s after you keep the night schedule for a few months. When my alarm goes off I think I'm in hell, but after a cup of coffee and a shower I feel better. I've worked up to 6 nights in a row. Three were scheduled, two were overtime and I forgot that I had to work that last day.
    -Paul
  13. by   jenw922
    Thanks Paul - For the next few weeks I am doing 2 in a row so we will see how that goes. 6 in a row, my gosh did you feel like you were in the movie "Groundhog Day " :-)

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