Adjusting to 3rd????

  1. Hi. I only have 2 more semesters to go!!!!!!! One thing that has been weighing heavy in the back of my mind is how on earth I can make that adjustment to 3rd shift. (I am sure as a new grad that is where I will be for some time ) I have mostly worked 1st shift so I have no idea how to do this. So far I have been getting trained for everything but how to keep from grabbing a pillow and blanket and curling up somewhere at 3 a.m!! Help!!
    Stacey
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   Jessy_RN
    welcome to the site, enjoy your stay and best wishes to you!
  4. by   shomelggs
    as a fellow third shift employee --
    it is really hard to stay awake when you first start. But I found out that if you go to sleep around 6-7 and then get up and go straight into work you will be able to stay awake for most of the night.

    I also start my night with a big cup of coffe or soda-just to get that jolt going. It also helps to bring some reading material to work with. Since I'm still in school for RN I always have plenty of things to read.

    It takes awhile to getting used to but I know enjoy it. Afterworking a night shift i come home take a shower-eat and then go straight to bed for a couple of hours.

    Best of luck to you.
  5. by   sirI
    Quote from staceyk
    hi. i only have 2 more semesters to go!!!!!!! one thing that has been weighing heavy in the back of my mind is how on earth i can make that adjustment to 3rd shift. (i am sure as a new grad that is where i will be for some time ) i have mostly worked 1st shift so i have no idea how to do this. so far i have been getting trained for everything but how to keep from grabbing a pillow and blanket and curling up somewhere at 3 a.m!! help!!
    stacey
    hello and welcome to allnurses.com

    so good that you joined the family. you will really enjoy it here.
  6. by   Thunderwolf
    moving thread to general nursing discussion forum for members to provide additional feedback to you.

    also, since you are still in school, please check out our general nursing student discussion forum and our nursing student assistance forum which can be accessed via the forum link below.

    good luck to you!


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  7. by   Gompers
    Quote from StaceyK
    Hi. I only have 2 more semesters to go!!!!!!! One thing that has been weighing heavy in the back of my mind is how on earth I can make that adjustment to 3rd shift. (I am sure as a new grad that is where I will be for some time ) I have mostly worked 1st shift so I have no idea how to do this. So far I have been getting trained for everything but how to keep from grabbing a pillow and blanket and curling up somewhere at 3 a.m!! Help!!
    Stacey
    Honestly? You sleep during the day.

    I'm really NOT being sarcastic. There are so many nurses who work nights that just can't or won't sleep during the day. I do believe there is a small percentage of the population who just cannot trick their body clock into day sleeping. But once you get used to it, it's not bad. Shut off the phone if you can, get a loud fan for white noise, wear an eye mask or get room darkening shades for your windows, keep the room cool, and just relax. Some people take Benadryl, valarian root, or melatonin to sleep. Others require prescription meds like Ambien. You need to actually schedule sleep, and not just a couple of hours. You need just as much sleep during the day between night shifts as you normally need at night, sometimes more.

    You do whatever it takes to get good rest during the day. That's the best way to stay awake, alert, and SAFE as a night shift nurse. Do not under any circumstances treat night shift like a magical time where you can work full time and yet still be up all day long with your family. I see way too many nurses try and do that - and they may think they're Supermom/Superwife/Supergirl for doing it, but really we're all whispering about them because they're falling asleep at work and we worry how safe they are, both with patients and on the drive home. Don't fall into this habit.

    There are benefits to nights. Money, for one. I, personally, get $3.50 more an hour for night shift than for day shift. That adds up to over $100 a week...$400 a month...over $5,000 a year more.

    Good luck!
    Last edit by Gompers on Jan 2, '06
  8. by   oneLoneNurse
    Not the 3rd I am afraid of its the 7pm to 7:30am that makes me scared. Any ideas ? Starting tonight. Going to get as much sleep as I can today.
  9. by   TheCommuter
    For three years I worked rotating shifts...

    For 3 weeks I'd work from 5pm to 5am (12 hour graveyards). After those 3 weeks were up, I'd work from 5am to 5pm (12 hour days). After the day rotation was up, it was back to graveyard shifts again. My body never quite became accustomed to the rotating shifts.

    But, honestly, if you can get at least 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep during the day, you should be able to remain fully alert during a typical night shift at work. Good luck to you. I actually prefer graveyard shifts over days because management is not there to breathe down my neck or supervise me.
  10. by   Gompers
    Quote from oneLoneNurse
    Not the 3rd I am afraid of its the 7pm to 7:30am that makes me scared. Any ideas ? Starting tonight. Going to get as much sleep as I can today.
    Your first four hours fly by. It's easier for me to come in at 7pm than 11pm. At 11pm, everyone is going to bed and it really sucks to be leaving for work. 7pm is a little easier. And only working 3 nights a week is MUCH better than working 5 8-hour nights. You have four whole days off a week to be "normal" and sleep at night if you wish. I usually stay up pretty late so that I'm not totally screwed up.
  11. by   Gompers
    Quote from TheCommuter
    For three years I worked rotating shifts...

    For 3 weeks I'd work from 5pm to 5am (12 hour graveyards). After those 3 weeks were up, I'd work from 5am to 5pm (12 hour days). After the day rotation was up, it was back to graveyard shifts again. My body never quite became accustomed to the rotating shifts.
    Yeah, rotating is the worst. A lot of new grads come to our unit and really want to work days, but of course we don't have that available, so they choose to rotate instead. But it's not like a 2 or 3 week rotations. It's according to unit needs. So they'll have, say, 5 or 6 night shifts per month, but not always in a row. Sometimes they'll work Sunday and Monday nights, then come back for Wednesday days, things like that. It's even worse on their bodies than just working night shift! They are always so tired at night when they work, whereas the new grads who choose to just stay on nights get used to it pretty quickly and do much better. Some have even decided they like nights better and wish to stay on that shift full-time.
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Some never do. I can't stand night shift. I do it out of necessity but it wreaks havoc on my body. It's not for everyone, unfortunately.
  13. by   joun
    Hi everyone,

    I would be interested to know ,after how many years a nurse can obtain a night shift schedule of 10 or 12 hours?It is my first experience as RN and I took night shift(8 hours) instead of rotating days and nights.But,I don't think I can work more than 2 years with this schedule.

    Thank you for yours answers.
  14. by   Gompers
    Quote from joun
    Hi everyone,

    I would be interested to know ,after how many years a nurse can obtain a night shift schedule of 10 or 12 hours?It is my first experience as RN and I took night shift(8 hours) instead of rotating days and nights.But,I don't think I can work more than 2 years with this schedule.

    Thank you for yours answers.
    It's not the years, it's the hospital. There are plenty of new grads who work 12 hour shifts. You just need to find a hospital (and floor or unit within that hospital) that does 12 hour shifts for nurses.

    Good luck! 3 12's on night shift is the best!!!

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