I need some advice, some help, some suggestions please!

  1. Here's my dilemma in a nutshell.

    I graduated in December, took a night shift (7P-7:30A) position in a level 1 trauma center on the PCU. I love the job, love the staff (for the most part, hehe), and in general am very happy while I'm at work. I don't have any problems staying awake while at work. I was given Provigil for shift work disorder, and it really helps me stay awake. I take it about an hour before my shift starts, and I'm ready to go.

    I have a 9 year old son. I'm no longer married to his dad, so his dad keeps him while I'm on my stretches of 3 nights working. The problem? I have no life. I work my shifts, and sleep. That's it. I thought after 6 months I would be acclimated to night shift, and that I would be able to do what I hear so many others doing. I thought I'd be able to come home after the last shift and sleep that day and then be up the following days to spend time being with my son, shopping, cleaning, etc. Unfortunately, I don't. I spend almost all of my time off in bed or on the computer here.

    Why do I need 15 hours of sleep? Or MORE? Even if I have 3 days off, on my last night off, I still sleep. I haven't been able to flip flop, so I end up staying up all night on my nights off, and then sleeping all day.

    Here's the real problem. I am switching to dayshift in a couple of weeks. I have been hopeful, thinking that moving to days will somehow "fix" this problem. That I will now be able to sleep at night, and then get up during the day, like a normal person! But WHAT IF IT DOESN'T WORK? What if I STILL sleep all the time?

    Does anyone have any words of wisdom for me? Does anyone else have these same problems, or is it me?

    I don't feel depressed, but this lifestyle is making me depressed! My friends feel as if I've deserted them. I always thought that life after nursing school would finally mean I'd have time to have fun, to do stuff with my son.. etc.


    Please help!
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   nightmare
    First off what is Provigil? In 16 years night shift I have never taken anything to help me stay awake.I have a couple of hours before my first shift on,sleep during the day of the next shift then have 4 hours next day after my final shift.Could the drug be upsetting your normal circadian rhythms? Having said that I have a collegue who also turns night into day when she is off shift,it might just be your normal reaction to night shift, not everyone can do it.
  4. by   caliotter3
    I'm a night shift person and have had your problem but without the provigil. See how you adjust to day shift. Give yourself plenty of time to get it together, say two months. Then, if you are still messed up, see your doctor. You need to be there for your 9 yr old. I don't have to be around for anyone but myself so I can sleep my life away, or work my life away, as I please. Good luck and keep us posted.
  5. by   jjjoy
    Every BODY is different. I personally had trouble maintaining any kind of a normal existence with 12 hr shifts. I envy those who do well with them and can take advantage of the days off.

    It sounds like you're going to change to day shift regardless. Wait and see how your body responds and then work from there. Rest assured that you will find a way to work something out, though it may take some time. Take it one step at a time. Maybe the day shift WILL work better for you. No reason yet to worry about what if it doesn't. If it doesn't, then come on back here and ask again.

    Some possibilities might be seeing if you can work more days in a row and then take more days off in a row. You might want to see if you can work fewer shifts. Some people can afford to do that, and it could be considered an investment in your quality of life. You might want to see if 8hr or 10hr shifts are out there for the type of work you'd like. But first, see how the dayshift goes!

    I'm sure it's frustrating to feel like you still have no life even now that you're out of school. For the first year out, you're still on a steep learning curve - not only learning the job, but learning your own strengths and weaknesses. It sounds like otherwise you're doing well with your job and that's great! I hope the new schedule works better for you!
  6. by   BBFRN
    I worked nights for several years, and had no problem acclimating to days when I changed shifts. In fact, I was able to get off the anti-depressants I had been on, got much better sleep, and was way less cranky after I went to days. I have never regretted making he change, except I really like the type of people I worked with on nights.
  7. by   rnin02
    Do you ever exercise or anything? that may help, give you a little more energy on your days off. Personally, I come home from work my after my last night working, try to stay up later than usual (say 10:30 or 11), sleep only until 1500-1600 and then try to do get my butt moving and do something in the evening...which doesn't always work, but I at least get out of bed. Then I am usually pretty sleepy and head to bed fairly early (midnight or so) and sleep till 6am-8am and that helps me switch over to a "normal" life for my days off. Sometimes the first day or two off its hard, very hard to get moving, but that sleep pattern is best for getting my sleep turned around.
  8. by   hajer
    hi there .... ur problem is so easy but because ur in the middle ofit u can not see the solution so...all what u need to do is to orgnize ur time & to have some refreshment after night shift that make u a wake insted of slleping most of the day time ..try to have a nice bath then try to have good breakfast ,then watch some of ur favourit TV show ...at that time u will be able to do some of house work after having some rest ,,,i know that it will be defficult at the bigening but u have to try & dont forget that the life is not only working ..u have a lot of things that u must not to miss it up ,,,i hope u all the best & always remember if the good salary make u working hard ,,so ur son love will make u work hard to spend more time with him...hope to u all the best
  9. by   herecomestrouble
    I slept all the time when I was on night shift too,people kept telling me that I would eventually adjust but after 18 months it was just as bad so I switched jobs to get a better shift and had no trouble with changing.I think it's because you can't get into that real deep sleep during the day and so it just feels like you need more sleep.
    Good luck and enjoy the time with your son,a job will always be there but too soon the kids are grown up and gone and you can never get that time back again.
  10. by   Myxel67
    The Provigil might be overstimulating you so that you aren't able to rest well when you try to sleep, so you need more sleep. I never had a problem with 8 hr night shifts, and could work 5 nights w/o a problem. 12 hr nights were a different story. Just way too overtiring, requiring an entire day to day and a half to recover. also, could never work more than 2 days straight. For me the culprit was the 12 hr shift--because 12 hr days were no better for me.


    I agree with the poster who suggested the warm bath and trying to relax before going to sleep after your last shift. Also, don't work more than 2 shifts in a row.

    Maybe days will work better for you. good luck.
  11. by   Myxel67
    The Provigil might be overstimulating you so that you aren't able to rest well when you try to sleep, so you need more sleep. I never had a problem with 8 hr night shifts, and could work 5 nights w/o a problem. 12 hr nights were a different story. Just way too overtiring, requiring an entire day to day and a half to recover. also, could never work more than 2 days straight. For me the culprit was the 12 hr shift--because 12 hr days were no better for me.


    I agree with the poster who suggested the warm bath and trying to relax before going to sleep after your last shift. Also, don't work more than 2 shifts in a row.

    Maybe days will work better for you. good luck.
  12. by   kenny b
    I would second the exercise suggestion. I currently work the night shift as a manufacturing technician and I'm here to tell you that there is a marked difference between my co-workers who exercise and those who spend their waking hours on the computer (many spend the entire weekend gaming).

    Exercise and sunshine could make a world of difference. I'd even go as far as to say that many people are always tired if they don't exercise regardless of shift.

    I'd also make sure that the room is completely black and cool or cold while sleeping during the day (if you decide to go back to nightshift), and completely quiet (or have a droning noise in the background like a boxfan to drown out the noise).

    Have you considered the Baylor Shift if you need nights (it sounds like you don't need the night shift differential).

    One more thing. I've heard (although I'm not a doctor), that night shift "disorder" is really not a disorder at all since we're meant to sleep at night.

    Very good luck to you whatever you decide! I feel that dayshift will work very well for you.
  13. by   ceecel.dee
    Yeah, I was obsessed with sleep when I was on nights. I knew every day how many hours of sleep I was functioning on (not enough ever), where as I never did/do that on a regular day schedule.
    If days is an option, grab it! I think some people just do better on nights than others. I also have concerns about needing to take a stimulant to work your hours...other than the very necessary coffee, that is.:smilecoffeeIlovecof
    I have conjured up that miserable working-nights feeling...must get more java....
  14. by   GeminiTwinRN
    thanks for all the advice and suggestions!


    the one thing i didn't say in my original post was that YES, I do need the differential. so that means i'll have to pick up at least one extra shift per pay period to compensate for that.

    i'm hoping for the best with the move to days. i wholeheartedly agree that i don't get "restful" sleep while i'm sleeping during the day! my son tends to wake me up oh maybe 20 times during my sleep. it's not his fault, he's 9 for goodness sakes.

    i doubt the provigil is having any adverse effects on my sleep though, since it's an 8 hour drug, and i'm awake at least 14 or 15 hours before attempting to sleep.

    thanks again for all the input. i love allnurses.com!

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