Night Shift For Newbies - page 7

by Ruby Vee

96,738 Views | 73 Comments

most of us donít 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 plusses and minuses to working eight hour... Read More


  1. 1
    Great article! Back when I did nights, I found that it took about 2-3 months to adjust to it... After that, I only slept about 3 hours each day when I got home and became a non-sleeping zombie. I only lasted 7 months on full-time nights then switched back to days. I too drove home often with the windows open in January with the music blaring! LOL
    adventure780 likes this.
  2. 0
    This was great.
    I'll be starting on the nightshift. At first, I wanted to be on days...because, I guess, it's better to start 'hard' and go to 'easy'.
    But I've thinking about it and seeing the benefits of nightshift.
    Days are hectic and I'll be able to settle into a routine, further my learning and improve my skills when management's out, the residents are mostly down and things are a little quieter.

    I'm somewhat fearful of what can go wrong, though. Sleep...?
    Until I gain more exp, I'll be far too skittish to sleep.
    What if someone dies?
    No, seriously....LOL

    It's 'no big deal' to the veterans. But... I'm new.
    So, if you need me? I'll be standing in a doorway. Counting respirations and silently 'clutching my pearls'....
    LOL

    Where I work? I get the feeling that most either can't or don't want to do nightshift. It's weird. I'm used to people fighting to get off days. I've always liked nights. Worked them as a tech(xray/ct) and for us? You're the only one in the dept.
    So, at least with nursing? I'll have company.
    But - I like going home when everyone's coming in. I like not being in traffic.
    I like having my days empty. I always slept less on nights, too. It always felt like I had way more time to myself.
    I'll be honest: I've never liked any work-day that began at 6 and 7am. LOL It's too early in the morning to be doing anything.
    No matter how much I sleep, I still have to drag myself out of bed.

    The drawback? I never ate well on 'nights'. Never. I'd raid those machines and fill up on chocolate, 'sub sandwiches' and Coke.
    That will have to change. I know.
  3. 1
    I've worked nights for 7 years now, the first 5 working 8hr shifts, and the last few working 12s. I have to say that working 12 hour nights is much harder for me. I'm kind of stuck with them because I really love my job, but I feel like my life is so out of whack with these hours. Even though I have more days off, I feel like my personal life is a mess. When I worked 8hr nights, I could work all night and still manage to get 7-8 hours of sleep in my off hours. We were fostering infants for a while, and I could help take care of them when I came home in the morning. On days off, I was able to switch to a "normal" sleep pattern fairly easily. I definitely felt more rested even though I felt like I was working every day as a 0.8 or 0.9. With 12s, I can't do anything on my work days, I can usually only manage to stay asleep for 4-6 hours, and my first off day after a stretch of working is completely lost to 12-15 hours of sleep and then lounging on the couch awake but too tired to actually get anything done.

    I've read lots of articles on this board about how other nurses manage their sleep working nights. I also read a Medscape article on the topic recently. Lately I've been finding that keeping my night schedule even on my off days (staying up all night and sleeping all day) has helped me to get a bit more sleep overall. I've decided to enroll in a completely online RN to BSN program so that I can start to feel like I am accomplishing something with my life during those nights when I'm sitting at home at 4am wide awake! My husband is a night owl, so at least we get our time to hang out together as well.

    I agree with the other RNs who commented about importance of Vitamin D. My doctor told me to take 2000 IU/day. I also take a Vitamin B supplement. I was doing this for a long time, but then got lazy last winter for several weeks. I ended up getting really sick twice in 2 weeks, a bad GI illness and then a horrible cold. I missed 3 days of work! Never miss taking my vitamins anymore!
    JulieL likes this.
  4. 0
    Quote from MedChica

    It's 'no big deal' to the veterans. But... I'm new.
    So, if you need me? I'll be standing in a doorway. Counting respirations and silently 'clutching my pearls'....
    LOL
    I love this! I can relate. Some of those patients can be really deep sleepers. I'd stand there with my little pen light, thinking "breathe, darn it." and getting so relieved. That feeling does go away, but I had it for a long time!
  5. 1
    I hate night shift for what it does to my life and my body but the shifts themselves? Love them. There is something great about the night shift vibe. No less busy most of the time, but different. And no families, procedures, meals -- heaven. At least insofar as heaven exists at the hospital. :-)
    wooh likes this.
  6. 0
    I have a love and hate relationship with night shift. I like it because there's less people and noise. The thing I dont like about it is how it ruins my diet. When I work night shift, I tend to drink too much coffee and eat lots of sweets. I know it's all about choosing the right food but I can't help it.
  7. 2
    I really enjoyed this article a lot!!! I graduated from nursing school as an LPN in 2010 and had a hard time finding a job. When I did find a job, it was in a hospital (one of the top 100 in the country,) and I feel completely blessed. I work the night shift 7p to 7a and I will continue to most likely until I have kids, or forever if my future wife decides to stay home and raise the children. I completely agree with the fact that nighttime nursing is like one huge family, I could not imagine working during the day with doctors breathing down your neck, and all of the families in and out asking 100 questions. I have been at this hospital for almost 8 months and have really grown to love nursing more than I already did. I know I picked the right career, and would never go back on choosing to do nights as my first nursing job.
    silverbat and rachelrcarlson like this.
  8. 0
    I am currently a pre-nursing student and will apply to RN school in November. I am really leaning toward the night shift in the ER, three 12 hr shifts. Sleep is something very important to me and I want to make sure I get the right amount of sleep. With that being said what do you do on your days off? For instance, you work from 7pm to 7am Wednesday-Friday; you sleep from 8am-4pm on the days you work. What do you do on the days you don't work? Do you continue your sleep pattern on 8am-4pm or try to readjust your internal clock to sleep normal hours say 10pm-6am?

    My kids are currently in 2nd and 7th grade, how would working the night shift affect them? Will they not see their mom on days I have to work? Is it possible to work the night shift and have a family?


    Sincerely,
    Someone who canít wait to be a nurse!!!
  9. 0
    I work 4:30p-5am so by the time I get home, shower, eat, and go to bed, the sun is starting to rise so its easier for me to go to sleep. I have definitely thought about buying blackout curtains. I eat breakfast when I get up around 2pm and have dinner around midnight. I have never really had much of an appetite, so thats what works for me. I do munch on candy at work and drink energy drinks to stay up. Thankfully there's a gym at the hospital, so I can work out, shower, and start my shift. They are open 24 hrs so if I need to, I can go after I get off. I'm still new to night shift so I will definitely take your advice.
  10. 0
    I did 8 hr nights for 5 years. On days off I usually went to bed at 4 or 5 am because that is my natural sleep time-on night shift I just had to stay up a few hours later and would usually stay up to do anything that needed to be done during the day. When I started school, I shifted to sleeping between 4 pm and 9 pm. I always ate breakfast and supper in reverse order and then had something at work. Now I am doing mostly 12 hr days and getting 1-2 hrs of sleep a night. Brutal. Have been falling asleep charting. Not going to lie--one of the reasons I went into health care was so I wouldn't have to work days, but they want new grads to work them and get experience. Makes sense, but Ugh.

    For someone with kids in school, you can come home and have breakfast with them and get them ready to go to school. Then sleep. That's easier to do if you work 8s though.


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