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

  1. 24
    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.
    CCL RN, ohioSICUrn, melmarie23, and 21 others like this.
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  5. 26
    Quote from SoundofMusic
    ...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 was sympathetic with you until bolded stuff.Not cool.

    Your post is part of the problem.
    1TachyRN, caroladybelle, chevyv, and 23 others like this.
  6. 4
    Am I missing something? I don't see the post bolded anywhere..
    tokmom, himilayaneyes, carolmaccas66, and 1 other like this.
  7. 0
    NM I see what you meant!
  8. 14
    So, move to nights?

    I don't mind "cleaning up" after day shift, but I won't page an on call doctor at night to handle something that happened at 8AM unless it's an emergency- even if I have a quiet moment. I'll be happy to leave him/her a note, though
    chevyv, DavidFR, anotherone, and 11 others like this.
  9. 37
    I've done a lot of going back and forth.
    Yes on days it is busier. But...
    You've got more resources and (usually) better staffing.
    You're also living in a normal world where the space time continuum works.
    If you think it's easier at night, switch to nights.
    Yes on nights there tends to be a bit more downtime. But...
    Does anyone think waking someone up at 2am to do their teaching on whatever is a good idea? (Other than management that likes to make mandatory inservices for night shift at 2pm.)
    You got to do all you got to do that requires an awake patient pretty much immediately after you get report. Wait any longer and it can't be done.

    I don't care what the shift before me got done or didn't get done. I don't care on either shift.
    The people that sigh and roll their eyes? They do that on both shifts. If only we could just all get along...
    mother_baby_RN, I<3H2O, chevyv, and 34 others like this.
  10. 4
    Quote from Katie5
    I was sympathetic with you until bolded stuff.Not cool.

    Your post is part of the problem.
    Could you explain how the OP just stating facts as they are, is 'part of the problem'? You must work nights. I've worked both and days are definitely more challenging any day compared to nights for me.
    CCL RN, ohioSICUrn, enchantmentdis, and 1 other like this.
  11. 6
    If it really bothers you so much and it is happening on a consistent basis then you may want to consider moving to nights yourself. Or advocate for better staffing ratios so there is enough time to get everything you need to do done. Although everyone should be willing to extend a helping hand, I don't know if expecting the night shift to always pick up the slack is the answer.
    DavidFR, klone, diva rn, and 3 others like this.
  12. 40
    Nursing is a 24 hour job and no shift is ever going to be perfect. That's the cold hard truth. There seems to be more of a divide and conquer mentality rather than a teamwork approach in many hospitals. Today in my ER one of the nurses I was giving report to refused to take report because I couldn't get an IV on one of my patients. The nurse made me wait until 1530 when they were able to get the IV before accepting report and wasn't happy that I was going to sign out and leave them with a task to do (I had just gotten the patient 5 minutes before change of shift, had gotten labs and urine but the pt's veins kept blowing). I'm sorry but I thought these tasks were the reasons we WANTED to be nurses - the thrill of getting that IV, the knowing the rationales for the interventions we perform, etc...I believe you do the best you can do for your patients within your shift. Take care of the critical things and task down from there. If you have to pass something on, so be it! We have all been there, done that, on both sides of the fence. Nursing isn't about having an easy shift, I think we all knew what we were getting into by entering into the healthcare field. It's a dirty and sometimes thankless experience. I NEVER get frustrated with nurses who can't leave me with a blank slate at the end of the shift (unless it's a habitual thing, which is a whole other story) and I never go into my shift expecting it to be easy or quiet, and I'm never disappointed that it never is.

    Each shift has its own unique set of challenges. Days has all the things you mentioned above, but nights is filled with patients who tend to crump vs. seeming fine on the day shift, doctors who get angry when you wake them, residents who don't return pages and the only one above them is the doctor who gets angry that you woke them up, a full house and nowhere to put patients because you can't discharge them in the middle of the night, a lack of resources, less helping hands, so on so forth.

    The debate can go on forever. The bottom line is we are all supposed to be on the same page. We're all in this together to ensure the best possible outcomes for our patients. We also experience stress and compassion fatigue together and need to take care of each other. I truly believe if there wasn't this battle of the shifts nursing morale would be much higher.
    Last edit by NeoPediRN on Aug 29, '11
    1TachyRN, CCL RN, I♥Dexter, and 37 others like this.
  13. 9
    Just to remind night shifters, think about the following very time consuming tasks we are required to do that you are not required to do, or are usually unnecessary on nights:

    1. Provide a daily report to case managers and/or attend rounds.
    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.
    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.
    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).
    5. Tests, tests, tests. Patients who return from tests ...needing frequent vitals, needing tele on, tele off, needing boots, transfers, etc, etc.
    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.
    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.

    This does not include the occasional code, elopment, fall, or whatever crisis might happen on any given day. Doesn't inlude arguments, difficult patients, or having to explain and educate on each and every med given at 1000.

    Need I go on? And let me ask you this ..what happens when your tech staff is short or unwilling to helop ...now we dayshift nurses get to add baths, filling water pitchers, and vitals/sugar checks to our lists . . .

    How do you think we can get it all done??? It's not possible. It just isn't. I wish more night shift would realize this.

    I have known many a day shift nurse who burns out and goes to nights because they can't stand families, docs, managers, and all the rest of the people we deal with on days ...many of those nurses seem to become some of the most demanding and uncompassionate nurses towards the day shift, from my experience.

    Remember, please ..what is is like to work the day shift, before you criticize.

    I'd LOVE to do nights if I could, but my body can't do it for some reason. And I really appreciate night shift people who do this, because I can't. But I wish they'd appreciate ME and all i do on days ...and try to take it a bit more easy on me at 1930 at change of shift.
    Savvy20RN, CCL RN, I<3H2O, and 6 others like this.


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