Night shift -- can you just take it easy, please? - page 3

by SoundofMusic

14,610 Views | 92 Comments

I'm a day shift nurse. I usually handle 5 patients on days on a busy cardiac tele unit. On any given day shift, there are usually ten different tasks on 5 different patients, many more demanding family members with zillions of... Read More


  1. 5
    I have worked both shifts. And they are both incredibly difficulty but in totally different ways. As a day shift nurse, I am infuriated when the night shift nurse that I watched gossip for 30 minutes (on the clock) before she made it down the hall to get report, can't find the time to get on UA on a cathed patient.

    That being said...having been the night nurse. I had hundreds of nights like that. You know the ones...I busted my hump all night, and made sure that when 6am rolled around, I had everything done that might affect you (day shift nurse). I NEVER EVER not once as a night shift nurse dumped a pile of crap on my day shift nurse, even if that meant my 8 year old got her self off to school with out seeing her mommy, even if it meant I was still sitting at the desk 2 or 3 hours after my shift. My orders, charting, labs...I always did it.

    it is called respect. Respect for the oncoming nurse, even the ones that I personally could not stand.


    And now being a day shift nurse...Oh, lord have mercy, girl! I feel your pain. I swear it took me 2 hours to get meds to 2 patients the other day, because family in and out, phone calls, doctors calling, lab calling, etc....And there is so many many more med

    and again I have struggled as a day shift nurse (new to days, in a nursing home 25 residents)...and when I did not get out of the on coming nurses way, until 2 hours after her shift started...I stayed another 2 hours to help her get caught up (because I put her behind)

    It is just common curtsy. respect for others. the golden rules. If they are smart enough to make it through nursing school and be a nurse they should know better.


    I am sorry that you feel unfairly treated. I hope that things mellow out. You seem terribly stressed.
    Savvy20RN, Armygirl7, imintrouble, and 2 others like this.
  2. 32
    hmm.. let me break this down..

    1. provide a daily report to case managers and/or attend rounds. i have to give daily report to the charge nurse and then to the nurse supervisor, two things that aren't done during the day.. soo...
    2. walk patients off the unit at discharge and/or when needing to be accompanied to test and rn to leave the floor to go with them. ? are there suddenly no discharges/tests at night? i rarely have a shift that there isn't at least one or two discharges waiting for me, and my hospital does mri's, echo's, ect at night too.
    3. arrange for diets, re-enter diet orders, take away trays, fulfill diet requests, fill pitchers, grab coffee, grab condiments ...generally play waitress for three meals on your shift. yes, and i play waitress at a time when the kitchen isn't even open... so, thats fun.
    4. receive calls from family members wanting updates, or just wanting to talk to a nurse -- sometimes as often as every 2 hours. call them if requested. connect them to doctors for updates. generally fulfull every request they make concerning your patient. daytime is when they do this ...nights they go home to sleep. usually. (i realize some do spend the night and then they can be a pain to you -- but it's not as often). i think you must be joking here... i get at least 5-6 calls a night from family members.. "i just want to see how their day went". like i have any clue how their day was, hello i wasn't there!
    5. tests, tests, tests. patients who return from tests ...needing frequent vitals, needing tele on, tele off, needing boots, transfers, etc, etc. again, all these things are done at night...i'm confused by your post!
    6. orders non-stop. most orders are put in on days ...docs don't like being called at night and we all know it. they do their orders early and you have to get most of not all of them done on your shift. most docs at my hospital round at 5pm or later because they have office hours. so i do most the orders...with no secretary.
    7. admissons (yes, you do them on nights), but most discharges on are done on days. discharges come with: med reconciliation/education, getting signatures, more education, taking out iv's, helping pts get dressed and ready to leave. 80% of admits come at night...and ironically the admission/discharge girl leaves at 7pm. she is scheduled from 7a-7p so she does all their admits and discharges.

    i hate the "this shift is harder" stuff. nights and days are equally hard, in different ways. i have worked both, i like nights better because i am a night person. i dislike all the docs during days, and i dislike the lack of staff at night. who cares? it is a 24/7 job, there should be no complaining about "well this shift dropped the ball". just do it and shush about it!
    Rach553, I♥Dexter, pumpkin455, and 29 others like this.
  3. 1
    I do understand where the op is coming from. Don't want to offend anyone but...I too have worked both night and day shift and can say that day shift is by far busier than nights. I personally try to leave a blank slate for the oncoming shift to work with, be it days or nights. But its upsetting that the one time that you were so busy, you didn't get to pee during the whole shift, and leave something to be followed up on of by the following shift, they get upset and make faces, roll their eyes, etc. It's 24 hour care. My .
    gaylarn4 likes this.
  4. 1
    Ok, I hear you all on trying not to specifically criticize night shift, but it's all I know and days are all I do.

    Both shifts ARE incredibly hard. I've done both and I know things can go like crap on nights.

    I just think overall nurses are going to have to start taking it easy on each other, or things are going to get worse. Look at the staffing everywhere -- look at the turnover.

    I like the comment about "super nurse" w/ her cape. I'm going to remember that one.

    And I hear you about staying late, but many managers frown on this and force you to clock out on time ...you've only got so much time before they're pushing you out. That's how it is at my place anyway.
    gaylarn4 likes this.
  5. 1
    I HATE the "this shift is harder" stuff. Nights and days are equally hard, in different ways. I have worked both, I like nights better because I am a night person. I dislike all the docs during days, and I dislike the lack of staff at night. Who cares? It is a 24/7 job, there should be no complaining about "well this shift dropped the ball". Just do it and shush about it!
    LOl -- well, this part i can definitely agree with.

    And I do agree on much of what you broke down. It's true, many tests are done on nights as well. Lots of crap on nights ...I agree. More support on days, yes, but I contend, also more people around to call, bug you, and generally make trouble.
    gaylarn4 likes this.
  6. 1
    Whatev .. .maybe I should go to nights. I AM stressed ...absolutely. We have a big time problem w/ lack of tech support, which isn't helping.
    Roy Fokker likes this.
  7. 2
    I've rotated 4-5 times between days and nights due to staffing issues, so I am very familiar with both sides of the coin. In this time, I have noticed two popular phrases "That's a DSP (day shift problem)" [spoken by night nurses about non-routine new intervention after 3AM], and "I just didn't have time. You see how busy this place is" [spoken by day nurses as an explanation about why routine interventions were'nt completed by 1900]...

    I've heard many people say (sadly enough alot of it was from instructors in school), that nurses are famous for 'eating their young.' Even though this isn't an experience vs. inexperience issue in regard to the original post, I believe the same principal hodls true. A lot of times we as nurses fall short of solid teamwork and communication, two things we're supposed to be good at...

    My favorite staff development coordinator had a phrase: "Always do your best to set the oncoming shift up for success." I wish more nurses wokred this way and I think if they did, we as a profession, and our patients, would have better outcomes...
  8. 2
    Hm, if it is stressing you out that much I would definitely think about moving to nights, bringing this up when a nurse does this, discuss with management or go to a different unit.

    I have worked overnights in LTC for years, but just recently switched to nights in my acute care job. I think the argument of which shift is easier, harder or busier is null and void. I'm sure we can all agree that each shift has its trade offs - and more importantly, its different for each hospital and each unit. Not to mention personal preferences. So instead of grouping all shifts together and pitting them against each other, I would suggest aiming for what is causing the issue and make your hand off better for yourself. No sense in ending the shift on a bad note.
    klone and gaylarn4 like this.
  9. 15
    Quote from SoundofMusic
    I'm a day shift nurse. I usually handle 5 patients on days on a busy cardiac tele unit. On any given day shift, there are usually ten different tasks on 5 different patients, many more demanding family members with zillions of questions and demands, interns who sit around dreaming up new stat orders to write, never enough techs or techs who want to help, endless lines of little old ladies who need to visit the bathroom 10 times a day . . . managers who seem to rove around, checking out paperwork and whether you've fufilled each and every educational requirement scheduled.

    ...If I don't get to that ONE urine test, or that ONE timed blood draw ...can you just stop rolling your eyes for once and just HELP me make up the slack? Surely you've got at least a few free minutes at night to do this ...

    I've worked nights, too. I know how it is . ..you get busy, too ...but you DON'T, I repeat, you DO NOT have to deal with what we do on days ...diets, tests, procedures,, and many more meds to give. It's likely I am NOT going to get it all done ...not w/ 5 demanding patients, NOT with discharges and admissions ...no way, no how. I am also NOT going to reach every doctor and solve every single problem all day long so YOU can have a "quiet" night and not have to call a doctor once in a while ....

    Sorry -- know I'm going to be flamed for this ...but I just can't stand it anymore. Nurses need to work together and stop putting down their co-workers constantly for not completing every single freaking task in one shift.

    I hate shift wars...I truly do.

    Each shift is varied and unique.

    The same doctors, NP's, and PA-C's that are polite and shake my hand during 0900 meetings and inservices are rude and yell at me when I call them at 0100 in the morning because a pain med expired.

    Or if I get busy because of a near code situation and the LVAD pt's driveline didn't get changed till 0200, and he has orders to not be disturbed between 2400-0600. But dayshift was too busy to change his dressing, yet I get faulted for disturbing his rest and not doing it earlier, however it was dirty and needed to be done and couldn't wait any longer.

    Or I come on shift and 4 out of my 6 post op patients need to walk before bedtime and night shift has less aides than dayshift, and I have 3 1/2 hours to do this and get my meds passed and get them tucked into bed,yet I can't physically walk them all at the same time and pass my meds without them being late, and I get dinged for the patients not meeting their cardiac rehab.

    Don't lump a few bad apples into the whole bushel. Not all night shift nurses are bad...not all day shift nurses are bad. Not all nurses have crappy attitudes. There are some day shifters I love to follow after, there are some that it is like following a train wreck in slow motion. The ones that will not have a single admission, no discharges, work the weekend, and you just know you will spend the entire shift playing clean up and catch up and praying that no one is near death when you come on. Then there are the golden apples that can turn over all their patients, have spotless rooms, and send all their labs off, apologize profusely because the pt only has 1 IV site and multiple IVPB's, yet all the admission assessments are done.

    I worked day shift too. The greatest difference I find between night shift and day shift...on day shift you can spread your work over your shift, but it is hard to organize your day due to tests/procedures/visitors. On night shift you have to cram all your assessments and treatments into the first part of your shift because the patients get really cranky and upset if wake them up for dressing changes or treatments after midnight or before 0400. I can't walk post op patients after 2300, or before 0500, unless they request it. So if I am too busy to do it before or after those hours, it doesn't get done. If I have more than 2 patients with complex dressing changes, and I have an emergency, my whole night is screwed.
    canoehead, pumpkin455, anotherone, and 12 others like this.
  10. 4
    We all can have busy shifts and not get everything done. I always try to give the person I am relieving the benefit of the doubt. After a bit of time I learn who the slackers are and am not quite so nice to them - so just make sure you aren't one of them and realize some people won't be happy whether you have everything done or not!
    Armygirl7, gaylarn4, Roy Fokker, and 1 other like this.


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