mandatory night shift

  1. Here I go...about to start on the dreaded mandatory night shift rotation. I haven't done night shift since my early 20s (now in my early 30s). Arrghh! Can't say I'm looking forward to it. But we have a night shift shortage & everyone on my floor on the day shift has been mandated to do 3 weeks of night shift. Now it's my turn.:zzzzz

    I've got 3 days until I start. Being accustomed to getting up at 5:30 am for my day shift position, this is completely contrary to my nature! I am trying to ready myself by staying up as late as possible for the next few days. I've got my box fan ready to go, my blackout drapes in place, my sunglasses ready for the drive home in the am. I will unplug my phone when I get home each morning. I'll be brewing a big pot of coffee in the evening before work & will not drink any past 2 am...

    I've been dreading my night shift rotation! I know it's only 3 weeks, so I'm clinging to that thought. But I have a feeling it's going to be heck. Any shift workers that have survival tips for me?

    After my 3 weeks of night shift, I get 2 days off then I'm back onto days. I KNOW it will wreck my body to flip flop like that.
    I'm already tired just thinking about it!

    I'd appreciate any advice you night shift folk might have!
    Thanks!

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz :roll
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   renerian
    I will be of no help. I filled in once for 6 weeks of nights once and at the end I was hospitalized for malnutrition and exhaustion. I was really sick. Lost 20 pounds. Could not sleep.

    renerian
  4. by   Genista
    Renerian-
    That's very scary! Night shift didn't agree with you at all!
    I did work nights for 8 mos. in another profession before I was a nurse. I was miserable. I never got more than 4-5 hrs sleep each night. I'm dreading this rotation, but trying to be a "team player" about it. It's going to be tough, especially with a husband that works days...
    Thanks for the reply anyway
  5. by   cactus wren
    The suits tried that Mandatory thing here. Icu was way short on nights....ALL of us day shift folks got together and pledged to quit enmass if they tried to do this....And it worked,Suits got their act together and recruited new night folks.....
    I used to work only nights when I was younger, liked the pace( and NO suits) better. But as I got older got so I couldn`t sleep past noon, no matter what, so went to days....So I figure I`ve 'done" my nights, at least here....
  6. by   amylynn
    I wish I had some pointers. I am a night shift "vet", 11yrs and counting. I recently tried to do the day thing and by 11am, I was so nauseous I could hardly work. I do go thru bouts of not sleeping past noon...I have invested in melatonin. It doesn't make me feel bad and "out of it" when I wake up. I love it. It puts me to sleep quicker than tylenol pm too. You can find it at any grocery store or Walgreens or stores like that. Heck, we use it (half the dose) on our dogs, who have terrible separation anxiety when we leave.
  7. by   ptnurse
    Sounds like you have all your bases covered. You have thought of everything that I can think of except maybe taking a little benadryl to help you sleep. It never helped me much, but I have heard others say it did wonders for helping them get into a different sleep pattern. Good luck. On the positive side of working nights, the pace is (usually) a little slower at night.
  8. by   nimbex
    I have to agree with the previous posts that a night nurse is a night person. The warm body theory will only result in barely warm bodies who are too ill to work. The future call inns from sickness.... they will come... and will be legit. are not worth proving the poiont to your management that it's a poor idea.

    I'm a night person, who can't survive a day shift. Let management know, with a doctors backing, that you are physically unable to switch you body clock at management whim. This note will set the stage foe a medical leave of absence for the expected night shifts which won't solve the staffing issue and protect you by law

    It also helps when all the other day shift nurses, provide their notes on the same day and request a management meeting to discuss staffing alternatives

    Worked for us, not a year ago.
  9. by   nimbex
    Sorry for the poor spelling... a night person, still up after a shift at 10:20am.... see it doesn't work!
  10. by   longtermcarern
    I am a day shift person who has worked night shift for 14 months now. The first few days was really bad, falling asleep driving home in the morning. But after that I got a routine. I come home each morning and clean house, make a meal, take care of bills, get on the internet. all the things you do when you are working days. I go off to bed at noon or 1pm then sleep till 8pm. I get up watch a little tv while I drink some coffee and get ready for work, then I am off for another night. The only big change I have made is I did volunteer to work every weekend so I could have my 2 days off together each week. I couldn't do the 1 day off at a time thing. I slept right through it! It might interest you to know that on my days off I sleep at nights and wake up easily at 5am just like I did for day shift.
  11. by   l.rae
    Tylenol PM..(Benadryl)...l get the caps and break one in half...l am a lite-weight w/ drugs....don't feel hung-over w/ half....but personally...l'd walk or take advantage of some leave time...LR
  12. by   Tinkertots
    All I can say is "Thank Goodness" for Agency! Good luck to all of you who have to do this.
  13. by   RENAISSANCE RN
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    Last edit by RENAISSANCE RN on May 24, '06
  14. by   MelRN13
    Being the flip-flop queen of days to nights (school during the day, part time 12 shifts at night), my best advice is to sleep whenever you can! Benadryl is a good staple to invest in. If I have trouble sleeping, I try to nap in 2-3 hour blocks. I try to avoid drinking any coffee or Mountain Dew (my lifesaver) for 3 hours before the end of shift.

    Good luck--you'll be back to day shift in no time.:zzzzz

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