Transitioning to night shift

  1. 0
    I am new to this profession, not as young as I once was, not as energetic as I once was (I know, wrong profession), and after my training period I'll be assigned to night shift work--three days, 12 hours per shift.

    I have a family with two small children and I have difficulty staying up past 9:30 on ordinary days--now I'm faced with this. Try as I may, I can't figure out how to do it without changing my sleep schedule for my four off days as well. But if I do that, I'll never see my family at all.

    May I ask experienced nurses for advice on:

    1) Transitioning to night shift work in general--how to keep awake and alert when you're used to sleeping
    2) Living with night shift work on a schedule that includes four days off. I can't imagine living on a day schedule half the week and a night schedule the other half. Do people do that?

    With gratitude,
    kokoro
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  3. 5 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    I've worked nights for most of the past 18 years, but not as a nurse. Or anything involving healthcare for that matter. Some people are oriented strictly to a daytime schedule. Some to a night time schedule. To some it just doesn't matter one bit.
    Working nights is only as big a deal as you make it.
    I've noticed that while I'm at work (inside a building) I can't see the sun no matter what shift I'm on.
    Also, because I have children, I switch back to a daytime schedule on my days off. The first day before work, and the first day off, I would take a long nap. That would usually reset my internal clock to where it needed to be.
    Also, invest in some heavy drapes/curtains for the bedroom. Good luck to you.
  5. 1
    I work nights. On my first day off, I'm generally so tired that when I come home from work, I can sleep most of the day, then I wake up, eat dinner stay up a little while and then go back to bed at 10-11pm. The next day, I wake up early so I'm on the day shift schedule for the rest of my days off. It's no problem for me as long as I get my 3 in a row.
    kokoro likes this.
  6. 0
    Thank you for your reply, Brittney. But if I understand you, this mean staying awake 24 hours once a week every week (the first day back to work). Is that right?
    k.
  7. 0
    Quote from kokoro
    Thank you for your reply, Brittney. But if I understand you, this mean staying awake 24 hours once a week every week (the first day back to work). Is that right?
    k.
    No. After doing three days in a row, I'm so exhausted that I can sleep almost 15-18 hours on my first day off. When I get home, from my last day at work, I go to bed around 10 am.....I usually wake up at 3-4 pm, then I go back to bed that same day/night between 9-11 pm. With all that sleep, I can wake up easily the next morning and resume my day schedule. So basically, I just sleep a lot on my first day off.
  8. 1
    Quote from kokoro
    Thank you for your reply, Brittney. But if I understand you, this mean staying awake 24 hours once a week every week (the first day back to work). Is that right?
    k.
    Oh, I'm sorry I misunderstood you. If I want to enjoy my last day off then yes, I'll stay up for 24 hrs. It's not too bad. But most the time, after taking my kiddo to school, I'll try to come home and sleep till noon at least.
    kokoro likes this.


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