Night shift -- can you just take it easy, please? - page 7

by SoundofMusic

14,450 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. 6
    I am a bit notorious 'round these parts for being a 7P-7A nurse who is vocal in regards to defending night shift nurses.

    I'm not going to do that this time.

    Instead, I am going to strongly suggest that you DO switch to nights. I work nights because I LOVE nights. If I were to switch to days, it would be just to save my horrid sleep schedule. (After five years, you'd think I'd figure it out...haven't yet!)

    I am able to (usually - and that's the important part - USUALLY!) read my patients' charts extensively, delve more into their history and clean up their orders.

    I am much more autonomous. It is up to ME if a doctor is involved. During the day, doctors come and go, grab charts, change orders around, unwrap dressings to see wounds (but why can't some of them rewrap? ARGH!) But at night, I involve them when needed. More specifically, when it is determined that I need them!

    I make shift differential! At my hospital it is 20%! That's like working an extra eight hours every two weeks! It adds up, especially on weekends and holidays.

    On most floors (and I've worked on and been pulled to quite a few!) night shift works much better as a team, mostly because we HAVE to due to ratios and staffing. But we are a family on nights. Fo' real!

    If your only qualm about switching to nights is your body's response...well, there are threads a'plenty to help you out. And you can always PM me. Seriously. I have been there, done that! Plus, it sometimes takes a good while before you are used to such a switch.

    Ignoring the shift wars, I know just what it is like to be grilled on an open flame by an eye-rolling wench during report. They exist on every shift, in every department, in every hospital...well, you know.

    Or...come work on my floor! We will treat you better than THOSE night shift nurses. (Well, except for like one nurse, but, you can't win 'em all!)
    pumpkin455, amarilla, Poi Dog, and 3 others like this.
  2. 0
    I've been thinking about this post since I first read it. I admit, I had that initial anger at what I perceived to be bias against us lazy night shifters. I'm sorry for that, since that isn't the issue at all.

    OP, are you a newer nurse or newer to the floor? I was wondering if maybe some other nurses for whatever reason are trying to test the newbie. I ask because when I met with my manager to discuss coming off orientation, he told me to let him know if anyone is leaving extra work for me, tasks that should and could easily be taken care of by the day shift. I haven't had that happen, thankfully, but wondered if this might be happening to you.

    I don't understand when people get huffy about having pt care carried over to the next shift. It should not happen on a regular basis, but occasionally things happen. That's life. The eye rolling is just childish and dumb. I'm sorry you have to deal with that.
  3. 0
    I'm probably going to add more fuel to the fire here but:

    What about the evening staff? I honestly feel really bad for them, their staffing is almost the same as nights in our building except almost all the incident reports, return calls from doctors, and family members fall on their shift.

    All this 12 hour shift talk makes me envious.
  4. 8
    Ugh, 3pm to 11pm are the worst 8 hours of the day. EVERYONE is in a bad mood. The patients and their families are crabby and tired and need to go to bed. (Who am I kidding? The staff is crabby too!) They all realize all of the sudden the 15 things they wanted to talk to the doctor about but couldn't think to do it when the doctor was rounding. And it's always important things like, "I haven't pooped since yesterday!" (Well neither have I and you don't hear ME whining about it!) All the families come around mad that they missed the doctor. (Well he/she was in the building for the last 7 hours, perhaps if you'd come by 30 minutes earlier. And no I'm not calling the doctor because meemaw's 5th cousin twice removed wants to talk to him/her.) And the fabulous things like, "I haven't taken a bath in a week!" (Well sir, that's not entirely our fault since you just arrived at 1pm this afternoon.)
    I have nightmares of having to go back to 2nd shift. Hell for nurses that have been bad? It's 24 hours a day of 2nd shift.
    Hoozdo, anotherone, amarilla, and 5 others like this.
  5. 0
    I don't get why so many are telling the OP to work nights. She's not saying she wants to work nights, she's not saying she minds the busy day shift or is unhappy working that shift. She's just asking for some understanding when a horrible day results in not having everything tied up in a pretty little bow for the next shift when she gives report. And it seems she is willing to do the same on occasions when the night shift reports on an awful night where time just ran out on them.
  6. 2
    True, but from the OP's posts, it seems as though she feels that nights are easier, which is not true. I agree that it gets annoying when coworkers don't pull their weight. We all work with people like this. These people work days, too.

    The message I take from this discussion is this: nursing is 24 hour care. Sometimes it's impossible for any shift to get everything done. However, a little courtesy goes a long way, and having a war over whose shift is "more work" is pointless.
    wooh and Fiona59 like this.
  7. 0
    Quote from SoundofMusic
    Wait a minute. I DO work my a%%$ off, every single shift to "attempt" to provide a clean slate for the next shift. Every shift I do this .. .I'm as efficient and fast as they come ....what a lot of folks still don't get here, is that it's STILL not possible, even at the nursing speed of LIGHT, sometimes, to get it all done!

    This is what I'm getting at .. .it's impossible. I feel many night shifters who work it permanently don't get this. Or they just forget once they move to nights permanently.

    I also worked on the unit where the night shift partied, chatted, laughed, and gossiped a good deal of the time, had pizza parties, etc. loudly, on most nights .... where most patients would complain about the "party atmosphere" all night long. And then we'd come in and would find patients sleeping in poop, IV's falling out, rooms a mess, etc, etc. This same bunch would be as crabby and snotty as all get out, would pass stuff onto YOU, without really saying much about it ...and yet don't EVEN TRY to pass it onto them the next night ....

    I'm really not generalizing ... sorry if MY OP came off that way. Most of the time it's not a problem, but when it is ....it's a definite morale killer. Esp if you've really TRIED to get it all done, as well as TRIED to be good and kind to patients, but the clock just ran out on you.

    And I agree -- we're set up to fail ...by all of them from the unit manager on up.

    Yes, guess I will have to toughen up. Or find another job. I'm in a masters program, so I won't be at the bedside for too many more years .. ..for these very reasons. I'm tired of a job where I'm automatically set up to fail and to be at war w/ my colleagues. It's really wrong.
    Therein lies the problem with nursing........and it makes me sad.....

    There are those nurses that due to whatever reason will continue to do the bare minimum no matter what because they are too overworked, too underpaid, too tired, too busy, too many patients, too hot, too cold, too early, too late.....you get the picture.

    I would tell them....you look, sound exhausted again....I'm concerned for you........ I am so sorry you are having a hard time...would you like a soda, cup of coffee,a piece of gum??? It really has been a long hard day........ That usually sucks the wind out of their sails....then I consider ther source and move on.....
  8. 2
    I'm kind of offended by this post. I work Nights and your making it seem like we don't do anything on nights.

    on nights,i have 7 patients. Count em...7. We get just as many admissions and transfers as you do during the days. Codes and MRT's always seem to happen at night, why? because we spend an hour trying to get a doctor to wake their a$$ up to come to the patient.or one that takes us seriously when we call them that early.

    We work just as hard as day shift, so lets not make things like this a "night shift problem" because it isn't. I understand day shift has things to do as well, but keep in mind we have patients going to procedures during the night (when it is needed), i have only 1 aide for 29 patients, so im the one taking these little old ladies to the bathroom 50 times a night.

    And because you, as the nurse, allowed them to sleep during the day they are now awake all night!

    Don't act like you don't know that patients rarely sleep at night. They just don't and anyone that thinks it is easy because our patients are sleeping is wrong. They nap, but they also nap during the day.
    joanna73 and glutton4punishment like this.
  9. 1
    Quote from Jenni811
    I'm kind of offended by this post. I work Nights and your making it seem like we don't do anything on nights.

    on nights,i have 7 patients. Count em...7. We get just as many admissions and transfers as you do during the days. Codes and MRT's always seem to happen at night, why? because we spend an hour trying to get a doctor to wake their a$$ up to come to the patient.or one that takes us seriously when we call them that early.

    We work just as hard as day shift, so lets not make things like this a "night shift problem" because it isn't. I understand day shift has things to do as well, but keep in mind we have patients going to procedures during the night (when it is needed), i have only 1 aide for 29 patients, so im the one taking these little old ladies to the bathroom 50 times a night.

    And because you, as the nurse, allowed them to sleep during the day they are now awake all night!

    Don't act like you don't know that patients rarely sleep at night. They just don't and anyone that thinks it is easy because our patients are sleeping is wrong. They nap, but they also nap during the day.

    Yeah, what's up with them not sleeping????? I am 3 weeks into night shift, and these ppl don't fricken sleep!

    And sorry guys, but night shift is waaaaay easier for ME than days, and I really don't care what anyone else thinks about it. I can finally have a moment to process information without a doctor, family member, ancillary staff, or patient simply talking to me. It's physically less demanding at night, as well as mentally. I can hear myself think! It's soo awesome. I wish my day girls could have the same experience. Oh what a relief it is!
    Esme12 likes this.
  10. 0
    Ok, with all the night shifters chiming in, perhaps I should amend my post.

    Just, whatever shift your'e coming off of -- or coming onto -- be NICE to your fellow nurses. I dont' think I've met YET one single nurse who purposely put off tasks to night shift .. .I've never seen that done by nurses. I've seen it done by techs all the time ...but not Rn's. The rule is -- you know about it, the order is in on your shift ...it's yours.

    You truly won't get sued, and I doubt the patient's stay will be affected by ONE lab, ONE urine ...or one med not delivered, or one order not put in. Try to keep in in perspective. Try not to ruin a nurse's evening (or morning) w/ your comments, your facial expression, your attitude. They likely really tried hard that day .. .and were having a good day .. .until you came along and p*ssed on it.

    Of COURSE --if I've passed on an order I received at 8 a.m., that's really wrong. But if I just got the patient, and each and every order isn't in yet, each and every task not done ...well, try if you can to just remember -- I did my best -- for you as much as I could, yes, but I may have also being doing my "best" for the patient -- by spending a little time listening to them, holding a hand, turning them properly, changing them, whatever .... and maybe as a result, I didn't get the tasks done, but the patients are alive and happy -- that stuff not documented ...it also matters.


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