after prolonged unemployment I found a wonderful job (yes, it can happen!) However, I have not worked night shift in many, many years (since I was a new grad, actually). Back then, I could never adjust to it, mainly because the for-profit hospital was so short-staffed that they required a mandatory OT shift every other week (yes, that meant 4 12-s; they called it a call shift, but you could just consider yourself called each and every time.) Plus, they did not allow self-scheduling and I would find myself having to work on-off constantly; it was a nightmare, and I only lasted about 6 months before I switched to days.
In this job, the schedule is much better: three consecutive 12's (if you so desire, and I do), no mandatory OT. But I still can't figure out how to make this work! Staying up all night is no problem for me (I'm an extreme night owl - note the time I'm posting on a night off, EST), but I have a hard time making myself go to sleep during the day. Of course, this is not a good thing... sleep deprivation could kill me if I run into a tree during my long commute home (in the past, I would sometimes drive home like in a fog - dangerous!)
So dear fellow night workers, please share your tips and tricks on how you survive - literally. I especially need to know the best way to prepare for your first night on as well as what to do on your last night off (stay up? Sleep, then get up late? etc.)
Thank you so much!
P.S. I didn't think I would ever do nights again... but the pace is so much better at night than it ever was on days (I thought I would try to get off nights asap, but now I'm not sure at all!)