Full Time Night Shift - page 2

I just had a question for those who have done night shift full-time. How is it to do 40 hours a week, 8 hour night shifts? Are 3 twelves easier on your body? Either way, My husband will watch the... Read More

  1. by   Gompers
    rn500, that is EXCELLENT advice!

    Do NOT treat working nights as a magical solution where you can care for your family all day and work all night - you need to get decent sleep at some point between shifts to be able to provide safe nursing care. As for the people who bother you during the day when you need to be sleeping, try giving them a taste of their own medicine. One coworker whose husband would call her from work all day while she was sleeping, "Just to chat," did the same thing to him. After one night of her calling him every hour, on the hour, "Just to say hi," he never woke her up again during the day. Another coworker was tired of her extended family expecting her to show up for parties during the day between her two night shifts. They'd complain, "But you're not working then, you'll be sitting at HOME, you are being rude by not coming!" So she sent out formal invitations to a party she was throwing at her house, beginning at 3am on a weekday night. Of course no one came, and they all called tocomplain that they needed to be sleeping for work at that time, but believe it or not they still didn't get it through their thick skulls!!!
  2. by   rn500
    When I started nights (16 years ago) I knew it would be for quite a while, and I made a decision right from the get go that it was going to be important to take care of myself if I was going to have any semblance of health and a normal life outside of work! One of the benefits of working nights is to be able to be there for special things that your kids have going on during the day, but it just kills me when some co-workers talk about how their husbands let the kids run in and out of their bedroom when they are sleeping, or they get up early so their hubbies can go off and do whatever on a weekend day, or ________ (fill in the blank). Of course we all have those instances when it can't be helped, but if you consistently let people do that to you over and over, then come to work and complain all night how tired you are because you only got to sleep X number of hours..... well, let's just say it gets old very quickly! And I don't think you are doing your family any favors either. It WILL catch up to you, one way or another.
  3. by   RNKitty
    Okay, so now my question is:

    On you're weekend or day off, can you get up and go to the lake with the kids at 10am or is your whole body cycle going to be screwed if you disrupt your system after training it to stay awake all night and sleep during the day?
  4. by   Energizer Bunny
    Quote from RNKitty
    Thanks for the insight! To those who have done nights, what helps you get into a rhythm? On your days off, do you still stay up late into the night and sleep in during the day, or are you obsessed by sleep any time you can get it?
    When I worked nights in a factory for years, I never slept. Literally. I was sooo out of whack and always afraid that I was missing something. I would chug the caffeine all night and then couldn't get to sleep in the morning so it would just get later and later and later.....sometimes I wouldn't go to sleep until 7 at night and have to get up at 10. It was insane! Of course, I was a lot younger then and now I know better. I was never obsessed with sleep. We used to get off on Friday morning and be off until Sunday night, so Friday I would try to stay up all day and go to sleep at night. Then I would do the same on Saturday and try to take a nap on Sunday before I went to work. Never really worked out very well. Night shift is just tough any way you look at it.
  5. by   MelissaRN
    I work nights and just recently went to 3- 12 hour shifts. I was doing 4 - 9 hour shifts. The three twelves are better as you get 4 days off. I worked Sunday, Wed, and Thurs this week and have four days off and then go back and work Tuesday get two off and work Fri Sat and Sunday. The only problem I have is that when you have to work three in a row you pretty much have to write those days off!! All you do is sleep and work, but then having extra days off is worth it.

    I do get tired and the pace is so hectic that I make stupid mistakes. I guess the thing that you have to remember is not work on auto pilot. Stay alert.
  6. by   rnmaven
    Quote from RNKitty
    I just had a question for those who have done night shift full-time. How is it to do 40 hours a week, 8 hour night shifts? Are 3 twelves easier on your body? Either way, My husband will watch the kids, so I can get sleep.

    I've never had to do night shifts before, but am looking at doing it to get my foot in the door, and have to choose between the union hospital with the brand new OB unit that does 8 hour shifts, or the other nonunion hospital that does 12 hour shifts. I could go per diem, but then I would have to pay for medical benefits for the whole family, and the hours are not guaranteed, but I could choose to work days/evenings.

    Warmly
    RNKitty
    Dear RNKitty,

    How nice to see your question on the night shift. A few of my personal insights into the shift in general:

    The twelve hours shifts are brutal.....unfortunately, for the most part that is the only shift available in my area so I am forced to do 7 PM-7AM in order to have steady work (I work nights through an agency). I remember as a new graduate (1977) that I worked 11-7 occasionally. It was a piece of cake compared to working these 12 hour shifts. HOWEVER, that being said, I DO LOVE batching my work time together and then taking a stretch of time off. I don't know if you can do that working for a hospital, but with self-scheduling it seems that many are able to do it. My personal technique is to work 4 to 5 shifts in a row and then take sometime 8 days off. However, working agency, I am able to do whatever I want as long as I meet my monthly commitment in hours to the agency. They don't care if I work an entire week and then take the month off.

    I've heard many nurses say that they can't do more than two nights in a row. My personal experience is that by night #3 I'm just feeling into the nightshift groove. I usually try to get in bed by 9 AM and then I set the alarm for backup for 4:30 PM if I'm going back in that night at 7 PM. If it is my night off and I'm trying to get back into being a nighttime sleeper, I usually set the alarm for 1 PM or 2 PM so that I'm awake and don't waste the entire day but I also am not so totally sleep deprived that I'm a miserable ***** at dinner that night!

    I agree with the posts regarding sleep! I haven't invested in a white noise machine because I sleep very soundly. The only thing that usually wakes me up is when the dogs bark at some idiot ringing the doorbell during the day. My phones are turned off........sorry.....the school can call my husband to deal with any emergencies with my son......he's 17 though so I've rarely had a call anymore.

    I know that many nurses with little ones complain about lack of sleep. You cannot use this shift as a form of daycare......you will be insane and in my opinion it's not fair to your patients and coworkers if you come to work dead tired and fall asleep at the desk all night. And believe me......I see plenty of them doing that.

    I've been doing agency nights for 3 years now.......I have another year to go before I finish graduate school and will probably look for a day job! However, I have great respect for the nurses on the graveyard shift......my Mom worked nights (11-7 3 nights a week) for 42 years. I know that no one ever respects your need to sleep. They don't even think you REALLY work when you work nights either! I've had friends and a clueless husband say to me.......why are you so tired? You get to sleep at the hospital don't you???????? I tell them to try to stay up all night and walk non-stop from the kitchen to the family room to the dining room and around and around and around again........that's how it is to work nights.:angryfire

    Oh, and plan to gain at least 10 pounds.......we eat alot to stay awake and find fine gourmet coffee to brew throughout the night! It helps!

    Good luck on your nightshift adventure!
  7. by   nursemary9
    Quote from RNKitty
    Okay, so now my question is:

    On you're weekend or day off, can you get up and go to the lake with the kids at 10am or is your whole body cycle going to be screwed if you disrupt your system after training it to stay awake all night and sleep during the day?

    RN Kitty

    My 27 yrs. have, for the most part, been 8 hr. shifts. I do prefer these.
    When I have a nite off, I don't sleep that day---for instance--I worked 11p to 7:30 this AM. When I got home, I stayed up & did things --house work, shopping etc. I will not go to bed now until 11PM or later. Then I will sleep all nite just like normal people. I finf that works for me. That way I feel like I have a real day off.

    When I first started, I'd sleep during that day & then I would feel like I was just working & sleeping.

    It works for me--but it's not for everyone.
  8. by   igloorn93
    I did total nights for 6 years and loved it. I however worked 7 12 hour nights in a row and then was off for 7 days/nights in a row. It was awsome. Personally I can't imagine working nights any other way!!!!!! Best of luck to you. Iggy.
  9. by   rn500
    Quote from RNKitty
    Okay, so now my question is:

    On you're weekend or day off, can you get up and go to the lake with the kids at 10am or is your whole body cycle going to be screwed if you disrupt your system after training it to stay awake all night and sleep during the day?
    I personally cannot get up after sleeping an hour or 2 and be any use to anyone! Not to say that I haven't done it for a sick kid or whatever, but I feel like crap all day. I usually sleep until 1 or 2pm then I am okay till I go back to bed that night.

    I do go through periods when I have a lot of trouble getting to sleep at night, and I often take Melatonin before bed to avoid that. It really seems to help but doesn't make you feel all groggy the next day like Benadryl does.

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