Night Shift For Newbies - page 3

Most of us don't get much choice over whether or not we work nights, although we might get a choice about when. We also get a choice about how we handle our night rotations. There are pluses and... Read More

  1. by   mamu2011
    Nice article. As a nursing student I've been dreading the night shifts (I like my sleep- at night) but your article makes it seem less dreadful

  2. by   bagladyrn
    I've been working nights for 28 years now.
    If you have kids you may want to "enlist" them in helping mom to get her sleep - pointing out that you are a much nicer person to be around when you have enough rest. My boys would screen calls, politely informing callers "I'll be glad to take a message but I won't wake her." The general guideline was only to wake me for spurting blood or bones sticking through the skin. I also instituted a general rule that any permission granted was automatically changed to "No way" if they had asked during sleep hours.
    On driving home: I've found that a large orange juice sipped along the way seems to help keep me awake. If the open window and radio don't do it, I pull over and walk briskly beside the truck swinging my arms and deep breathing.
  3. by   prairiecat
    I have been working nites for 2 years now. I am no spring chicken and I have always been a nite person. My problem is I cannot sleep at nite anymore. Awake and sleepy all day, but go to bed and I am awake all nite. It can be 36 hours before I get to sleep. Needless to say it drives me crazy. Ambien helped until I developed angioedema whenever I took it. Worked last nite (Thursday), came home slept from 10 am till 3 pm.(Fri.) Now it is 4 am (Sat.) and I am still wide awake and I have a full day of activities ahead and company. Hopefully I will sleep tonight after the busy day, if not I will sleep all day Sunday. My body is whacked. My BP is high and I am gaining weight. The sleep problems were not bad when I was young, they seem to come with age Also, our shift differential is not much and the ratio at nite is now up to 7 patients per nurse. Time for a new job I think!
  4. by   frankyfern22
    I don't work nights anymore, but I just want to say that as a fresh new nurse, I think it saved me from running away from nursing altogether and I'm glad I did it. I loved my night shift crew and made some great friendships in a short amount of time I was there. Yes, night shift is busy in its own way, but it was a good environment to learn in and people were actually able to help you and answer questions. My first day shift job was insane! It was a million miles a minute, every single minute of those 12-hours!!! Sleep was tough to get used to but I'd work nights again if I needed to Good night!
  5. by   llerkl
    An additional TRIED and TRUE night shift assist= GET A FAN!

    I am SO about the "background noise" really does help block out neighbors mowing lawns, family in the house showering or just doing stuff, even loud horns honking next door, and little ones playing outside!

    For awhile I did wear ear plugs too, but don't do that anymore. It wasn't too bad though.

    DO IT, get the fan. You won't be sorry. Get a box can find them at Sears or Target. The newer "quiet" models defeat the whole purpose
  6. by   WildcatFanRN
    I love night shift, it's my preferred shift. The only time I've done days is when a manager tells me I have to do orientation on days "just to know what it's like". Need to remember about the eating well even on nights, it's so easy to binge on junk food.

    Very good post Ruby :-)
  7. by   wooh
    Have to agree that a lot of it is just having a good attitude about it. I realize for a lot of people, it does suck. But I snagged a day job when I got the chance. And I've learned so much. But I love when I pick up a night so much that now that I'm going back to school I'm trying to work something out so that I can go to nights and cut my hours without cutting my pay too much. You absolutely cannot match the comraderie that a nightshift team has. There's an "us against the whole wide world" that brings you together. You don't have the resources that day does, so you get creative and learn who you can count on. Who's a good IV stick? Who knows all the policies? Who knows how to do a discharge since they only happen once in a blue moon at night? And the lack of management, it's a wonderful thing. Sure, they don't know the pain that nights is always facing, but if you're like me and don't have a desire to "move up," then face time with management is more likely to get you in trouble than to help you reach your goals. And it's HARD to hide on days.
    It's funny, I've been at my current hospital for a while, worked nights for a while there even, but working nights, I learned all sorts of things that I didn't know working days, because I didn't have to. Like where the vending machine is that has tylenol (since at night, can't send visitors to the gift shop!)
  8. by   MouseMichelle
    I used to do full time nights and it was in a very small town of 400 people, needless to say I could do nothing on my days off, and I got very depressed.
    I now work part time nights, four off and two on.
    Your article is great. I would add and emphasize about the eating, eat healthy, and don't snack all night to keep yourself awake, you want to stay awake drink water....... most night workers gain weight. Also like you said in your article excercise. I go swimming every morning after my night shift to get rid of my stress and keep my weight under control.
    As for the sleep that's very important don't consider the day before your night shift as okay I can go have fun you'll regret it.
    It's also true about your coworkers, yes we have down time, not much I'd say about 45 minutes each night and I love talking to my CNA's and we're good friends which makes for a good work environment because my CNA's respect me as a supervisor and as a friend. However they all know that when I'm directing them about things it's not personal but about the job. It's okay to be friends with your CNA's but you need to keep you boundries in terms of work/vs. friendship.
    I also wind down after work with my CNA's we sit outside drinking sodas and just talk about life.
    Also melatonin is a great way to get sleep too I take one about an hour before I need to sleep.
    I wake up 40 minutes before i have to leave to wind down and watch a bit of TV before having to go to work, and to mull in my mind what needs to be done that night
    Great article thumbs up
  9. by   e.j_rn_to_be
    .... love, love, love your article Ruby Vee! I started on nocs 5-6 weeks ago, and I remember coming over to All Nurses website for some insight and run into your article. Oh, so true about night shifts and such a positive outlook on it! Thank you!
    I applied many of your insight as well as the other noc shift workers insights as well; staying hydrated, exercising and eating real meals have been helping me understand my body and its circadian rhythm patterns. Hugs!
  10. by   nursefeelgoood
    Thank u Whoo for ur helpful tips! I am a LVN of 8 yrs. always worked 7am-3pm on floor only. I would like to try noc's. Would another nurse actually do a discharge for another nurse,I if you never had the experience of doing one? Or do a iv stick for you? I never had to do either! It's scary if you have to do one with no one there to show you how to correctly.
  11. by   07302003
    Don't worry new grads - night shift is awesome. I started out on evenings, went to days, then nights because I wanted to switch to ICU. Barely any families like on days, to distract you. No administrators. Bend all the rules. And actually do good patient care, undistracted. LOVE IT!
  12. by   pmshiftrn
    Thank you all for your tips and suggestions. Am a day person and am just about to start my nursing career as a night nurse. This will all be helpful to me.
  13. by   nursemelyn
    Love this article - I read it before I started FT nights in Psych. And I love nights! No administration, no "extra" staff, etc! I work 1500-0700 twice a week and 2300-0700 once a week. Since these aren't all bunched together (thank goodness), here is what I do: The day I work, I sleep in extra late. Easy because I don't have any kids and my husband is in medical school so he doesn't bother me. Work all night, drinking LOTS of water to stay hydrated, and eating healthy (i.e. yogurt, fruit, nuts, leftover dinners, veggies). I work on a unit with only 8 pts so I get my work done early and read the rest of the night or play sudoku to stay awake lol Then, once I'm done with my shift, I keep drinking water so that I have to pee, because I can't fall asleep while having to pee. I have to drive 40 minutes home, so this helps tremendously! I also listen to loud music, like Lady Gaga, and sing the whole way home. Sometimes when I'm absolutely exhausted I'll call my husband to talk me home. If I don't have work that night, I'll sleep til about 1300 and then get up and go to bed around 2330. If I am working that night, I'll take some Melatonin, wear a face mask, turn the fan on high, and draw my blackout curtains. I usually can sleep til 1630 and then I'll get up and go about my day as normal. Hope this helps someone!

    Melyn, RN