Newgrad+Nights = Study Time?

  1. Im a newgrad starting overnight shifts on a 7 patient medsurg assignment. Just starting out, will I have "down time" to study up on policies & procedures, EBP, meds, etc? I will have a 6 week didactic orientation but I hear its very fast paced & they just read a bunch of slides so its hard to retain all of the information. My peer cohort is planning on learning the P&Ps on their weekends off of work, but I have a better idea...

    I am thinking of taking up an online masters program to keep me out of trouble on my nights off, (up all night at home alone with nothing constructive to do). However, it seems like my other newgrad peers working graves use their nights off to study all of the hospital policies & procedures, practice standards, EBP that we didnt learn in school/clinicals. So I just dont want to take on too much by using my first year of nights off work to further my masters education, if it means I will meet less than ideal standards at work.

    Is it unreasonable to hope to keep up my P&P learning working graveyard shift? I am trying to make altering my circadian rhythms and upheaving my social life, into a positive thing. So Im looking to choose my perspective to be that I will have time to focus on studying while its (less hectic, aka Q*IET) on a night schedule.

    I am hoping there may be a few hours of down time during my night shift to periodically study work related materials between call lights, sundowners, etc? Im guessing between 2am after my assessments & charting is reasonably caught up, and up until like 6am before I have to get ready for shift change hand-off?

    I thank you for your experienced opinions night-shifters!
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    About FutureDNP2021, RN

    Joined: Jul '16; Posts: 46; Likes: 59


  3. by   LessValuableNinja
    If your patients are cares for better than any others on the floor, there's nothing wrong with reading professional materials. However, if you're not to the point where you can honestly assess the status of the situation and know from experience that you know everything about your patients and what to do if things go south, I'd recommend using extra time to review all their EMR information, know them incredibly well, read P&P related to them and things which potentially apply to them, and then consider moving on. This all should occur only after all analysis, planning, and charting occurs.
  4. by   llg
    I strongly recommend that new grads do NOT enroll in a graduate program until they are settled into their jobs. That first 6 months as a staff nurse can be exhausting -- even more so if you are working a lot of night shifts. Don't add to your list of responsibilities and pressures by enrolling in an academic program until after you get comfortable on the job.

    Use any down time at work to brush up on material related to your job. On your nights off, a little of that is OK ... but it is important to have time totally away from work and pressure. Read for pleasure, take up a new hobby, get some exercise, etc. We all need "recreation" and we become unhealthy when we don't get it.
  5. by   AJJKRN
    As a nightshifter myself...what makes you think that nights will be less busy? Why do people still continue to think that patients sleep at night, at all, ever? And your patient ratio...are you kidding me!
  6. by   cleback
    A general understanding of P&P is great but to spend hours, days, weeks? memorizing them seem like a waste of time to me. Hospital administrators change their P&Ps like they change their underwear. Better to learn where to find them, learn by heart ones you'll be doing often, and just look up the rest. Maybe everyone is different, but I don't think you'll need designated study time to do this.

    However, I second getting experience before grad studies. Most grad programs will ask you to build on your clinical experience for projects and papers. You'll get more out of your program if you have real life experience to draw from.
  7. by   Been there,done that
    Not gonna happen. You will have 7 patients, one or all 7 of them will need nursing care throughout your shift.
    Best wishes.
  8. by   RNperdiem
    With seven patients, you are likely to be busy all night.
    If you are not busy, there is an unwritten rule in most workplaces that if you have a slow time, you look out for the nurses who are overwhelmed and you offer to help them.
    There will come a time when you need those other nurses to return the favor. It is not looked upon favorably when a nurse is sitting in the nursing station studying while others are drowning. Looking up policy before you pull that central line or set up a new piece of equipment is fine; intense prolonged studying needs a quieter environment.
    I agree with llg about use of your free time. Take up something that is not nursing to balance your life. Learn to paint or draw. Take up sewing or develop a fitness plan.
  9. by   Workitinurfava
    I know of no bedside nurses that study at work.
  10. by   adventure_rn
    With 7 patients, you may be lucky to have 20 free seconds to pull up and read a policy before you do a procedure or give a med. Time management is one of the hardest skills for new grads to learn; when you first start out, you may find you're spending most of your night trying to get caught up.

    That said, it's awesome that you want to continue to learn. As a new grad, you'll probably have a bunch of orientation paperwork to go through and and online educational modules to complete; you can work through those if you have occasional downtime. If you do enroll in classes or some other kind of continuing ed, you can always keep your study materials on hand. While studying for my specialty certification, I always kept a few textbooks in my locker so I do practice tests if I had a slow shift. I've even had coworkers who edited their PhD dissertations during their downtime.
    Last edit by adventure_rn on Mar 21, '17
  11. by   amzyRN
    I think you should wait until you adjust to your new job and the night shift. I think night shift is brutal. My body never adjusted to it and I was exhausted all the time and finally got off of it. Grad school and working full time is going to be tough, personally, I'd wait or go part time. I'd also probably do a more reputable in person program through a university, but that's just me. I know people who have done online programs, but I'm not big on online learning anyway.
  12. by   chacha82
    As a new grad on nights I did run into a lot of new things I really didn't know much about. I asked for help in the moment, then went home in the morning and hit the hay. If I was off the next night and remembered, I tried to read about the thing from the night before. Not too deep, but I would pull out stuff and read for about 20 minutes to get refreshed on whatever it was. Did I do that all the time? No.

    I will say if you are working acute inpatient please don't be that staff member who does their homework at work. I have had coworkers and even charge nurses who do that and it irked me. Especially when the charge would offer to do something to help me and then later not do it because they were doing homework. Or they offered to take the next admission but punted it to myself or someone else so they could do homework for NP school. Later in the night they are complaining about not having stuff together or not updating us...well that's because for the first four hours you were preoccupied with emails from your professor and reading articles. Once another nurse came to the charge with a concern about not being told something about a patient and the charge literally started telling her instead about this research she was doing for NP school. She went on for several minutes before the other nurse and I just looked at each other and got back to work.

    Three of my colleagues in NP school are more realistic and work 24 hours a week while going to school. They don't do homework at work. The others do and it makes me cranky, sorry can you tell?
    Last edit by chacha82 on Mar 22, '17 : Reason: edit
  13. by   medic1969
    The less sick a patient is, the more needy they become in my experience.
  14. by   angelsintheeast
    However, I second getting experience before grad studies. Most grad programs will ask you to build on your clinical experience for projects and papers. You'll get more out of your program if you have real life experience to draw from.