please help us help night shift! - page 2

Need ideas that would make night shift staff happy. Already do self scheduling, with changes ongoing between them as they desire, already have increased staffing numbers on nights, have staff... Read More

  1. by   pk1
    Please keep the ideas coming. This is really helpful. Really good idea on inservices. Also, how do you get people to pass on information, not report? We have a write on board in the break room, they have individual mailboxes, communication box in nurses station, and send emails. Can count on one hand how many people read the messages or even check their mail box.
  2. by   KLeigh
    [quote=santhony44]
    Quote from saguaro13
    well let's see. bear with me here.
    it is always immediately after a 12-14 hour shift, or on my one day off. sorry to say but that is not convenient. if they are scheduled during my shift, at night when we actually have the staff to leave the unit, and we are awake enough to remember what is going on, well that would be convenient. /quote]
    night shift often feels like the "red-headed step child" and usually for good reason. everything from inservices to meetings to holiday meals are scheduled on other shifts. nights either come in early, stay late, or get the leftovers.
    if going in to do a meeting or inservice at 3 am sounds outrageous to you, that is no more outrageous than expecting nights to stay over and attempt to prop their eyes open, or to come in in the middle of their "night."
    i completely agree with you here! one of my greatest pet peeves is the lack of respect for night-shifters' schedules by most of the world! of course, the vast majority of our society functions throughout the daytime hours--we night shifters know this. we are aware of the fact that you cannot reasonably, for example, request that your apartment building has the construction crew come back at 2am to repair that leak or mow the lawn because we night-shifters need our sleep, and it is too noisy at 11am.

    however, i think many of us night-shifters would appreciate just a little more understanding from our places of work. we are people, too, and we also require the same number of hours of sleep as you; we simply sleep at different times than you do. so it really should not surprise or offend anyone that a night shifter wouldn't want to come in at 5pm for a "conveniently" scheduled meeting before their 7pm shift any more than a dayshifter would want to get up for work at 3:30- 4am to come in for a 5am meeting. honestly, if daytime people who have a hard time understanding it could just "shift the clock" in their minds, and imagine themselves in a congruent situation, then i think it would be much easier for them to see that nightshifters aren't actually being noncompliant or difficult--we're being human. and that's all that we want, is for people to acknowledge and respect that we have the same basic needs for sleep (haha and for fresh snacks, not just crumbs, as some have mentioned...but that's a different story. anyway, the fact that night shifters don't get the goodies keeps me from getting fat!).
    hopefully that didn't sound like a rant--i tend to get emotional and defensive when it comes to my shift, so i'm sorry if i came off as cranky! i am actually very happy that the original poster is doing the exact right thing by trying to see things from the night shifters' perspectives and trying to understand the problem in order to fix it. we need more people like that!
  3. by   anne74
    How much is your night shift differential? Ours is $5 an hour for nights, which netted me an extra $400 a month. Most of the people on the unit chose to work nights for the differential, and they also get a $1300 bonus every 3 months of full nights. And when you choose to work nights, you don't complain as much.
  4. by   Rnandsoccermom
    When the facility has food or activities during the day, make sure the same things happen at night.

    Today at my facility they were having an anniversary celebration from 12:00pm-2:30pm. I worked last night and I work tonight. No memos posted about anything for nights. What a slap in the face.

    Most night shift complaints are about not being recognized and appreciated for being there and handling things when management is gone.

    As for passing along info, notes left in locker rooms and bathrooms that say "check your mailbox, important info" usually work. Sometimes, I'll add a little joke, picture or cartoon to it-people pay more attention and talk about it then.
  5. by   CritterLover
    [font="comic sans ms"]don't allow night shift become the "clean up shift."

    there is a prevalent misconception that night shift has less to do. the other shifts often expect nights to deal with everthing they couldn't get to.

    this is fine, to an extent. hospitals are 24-hr facilities. what one shift doesn't get to, becomes the next shifts' responsibility. we all need to work together to take care of the patient. night shift does not have nearly the number of rounding physicians or other departments using their charts/writing orders that days and evenings have.

    however, nights often works with a skeleton crew. in addition, the ancillary departments have few (pharmacy) if any (pt, ot, dietary) staff. patients arn't gone for hours for diagnostic tests unless it is stat (and most diagnostic tests that take hours arn't usually the ones that can be done stat :wink2: ). physicians do not like to be called after hours for routine matters (and who can blame them? they probably have to work in the morning. if it is important -- resp distress, etc, they need to get over it. but can't you see why they get irritated by that 2am "we just noticed that the pt's dilaudid order expires in the morning, do you want to renew it? calls).

    night shift already has a bunch of "additional" duties -- 24 hour chart checks, updating the diet lists, check the daily mars, assigning room assignments for the am surgeries.....

    patients still need to be assessed at night. they still hurt and require prn pain meds at night. they still need their abx, anti-emetics, fluids at night. ivs go bad at night and need to be restarted. patients get admitted at night. patients need to go to the bathroom at night.

    in short, night shift isn't the picnic that some day nurses think it is. please, stand up for your night shift nurses. they expect to have a little bit more of the paperwork to do. but don't let them become a dumping ground. or, if they are to be the "clean up crew," staff them for it!

    from a former night shift nurse, current day shift nurse (and always a night-shift nurse at heart).
    Last edit by CritterLover on Oct 19, '06
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    to quote saguaro:


    meet them on their own shift, face to face! this really does say it all.

    if you want them to feel you care, you need to go and visit them on their shift and discuss their issues, specific to nightshift ----and really listen. i actually had a manager say "it's a dayshift world" when i balked at attending a middle-of-the-day retirement/401k briefing once. obviously, this does not improve our morale much....nor does this attitude, even unspoken.

    the others covered it well. get dayshift to clean up after themselves before they go. also leave some of the "goodies" (non perishable) for the nightshift whenever possible----whatever you give dayshift, be sure you do for nightshift.

    it sounds simple enough and it is. problem is, too many managers and dayshifters simply don't care to do these simple things to help us out.
    and that makes for bitter feelings on the nightshift for obvious reasons.

    thanks for caring enough to ask this! good luck.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Oct 19, '06
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from pk1
    Please keep the ideas coming. This is really helpful. Really good idea on inservices. Also, how do you get people to pass on information, not report? We have a write on board in the break room, they have individual mailboxes, communication box in nurses station, and send emails. Can count on one hand how many people read the messages or even check their mail box.
    Simple solution. Write updates on flyers or in bullet form, attach a piece of paper with each employee's name on it, to initial and date acknowledgement that he/she is responsible for that information. Affix to bulletin board in report or break room. Problem solved.
  8. by   banditrn
    Geez, some of these posts are bringing back hospital memories!

    Day shift got the 'sit at bedside with a basin of water, I'll wash your back' baths. Nites got the total bed bath patients.

    No food was ever left!

    And the mess! Cups, glasses, trash, etc. Charts everywhere - just get up and leave!

  9. by   MissJoRN
    Oh, yes... the "almost leftover" goodies. Three of us always came on and found one piece of candy in the box (that wasn't even there last night!) one doughnut, one bagel, one whatever. Why are people so afraid to take the last one?? Either save enough for everyone or eat it all and toss the evidence. We don't want to decide who gets one goody, we don't want to clean it up if it's not ours, and we don't want our faces rubbed in the idea that we're not important enough for thank-yous. I can understand (but it still hurts a little) when pts or families are too tired to remember our names at night and fill out surveys with "Jane, Bob, and the night nurse with the blue shirt were so wonderful" But when our co-workers forget us...

    Cold or over cooked food in the cafe, too... IF it's open (don't get me started on how the hospital installed a canteen machine because night staff complained about not having food when the cafe worker called out sick a lot... but installed it in the locked cafeteria!!) and maybe they'll give us our free meal for nurse's week, holidays, etc. Maybe a cookie instead. Maybe nothing.

    Still, my big gripe was the time lost in my life... just seemed unaccounted for. And cheerful relatives at holidays saying "smile! somebody seems cranky!" while I wanted to scream... "No, I can't! I've been up for 32 hrs!"
  10. by   SmilingBluEyes
    For ONCE it would be nice for dayshift to pass up the opportunity at first crack at the goodies and save them ALL for the nightshift on some given occasion. After all, we do at least 1/2 the work and take just as good care of the patients as dayshift nurses do.

    I would love to see a manager set aside ONE whole, untouched goodie basket or box of fruit or whatever and say "no, this one is for nightshift", for a change.

    We do have one physician who is sweet enough at holiday time to make sure a separate gift/goody box is set aside for both shifts. He is even nice enough to have pizzas and sparkling cider sent up to nightshift on New Year's Eve. I can't tell you how much that means to us-----and this puts him in high regard in my book, because he takes the time to care for us, too.

    The other doctors do try but usually again, it's dayshift that benefits. Sometimes, they will treat dayshift personnel to pizzas or sub sandwiches when they are really busy and lunch breaks are very short to nonexistant. At night, we don't even have a cafeteria at ALL, let alone such goodies. We have to bring our own food, if we are to eat at all.

    But what we DO get from physicians at night is crankiness to outright rudeness when we call and "disturb" them for patient issues. This is another morale-buster that it's hard for management to solve I realize. But you want to know why night shifters tend to have low morale and come and go in some hospitals. These are prime examples why.

    BUT there are some things mgrs CAN do to help. And, yes, it would be nice for the manager to notice these things and decide just once in a while to put the whole basket/box/whatever away for the oncoming nightshift. Days gets plenty. They have access to hot food on their shift in the cafeteria. They have also the choice to get food delivered to them all day long, if need be. Most places do not deliver much if at all on nightshift. The majority of thankyous from both drs and patients come on dayshift---as do the food and other rewards. I know, cause I work both shifts.


    I guess, I am like the other poster who says she has a special soft spot for nightnurses. There is usually very little benefit to working nights EXCEPT the pay differential. It would be nice for management/administration to remember us once in a while. The old cliche, "little things mean a lot" really does apply to those of us who work nightshift.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Oct 21, '06
  11. by   Gompers
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    For ONCE it would be nice for dayshift to pass up the opportunity at first crack at the goodies and save them ALL for the nightshift on some given occasion. After all, we do at least 1/2 the work and take just as good care of the patients as dayshift nurses do.

    I would love to see a manager set aside ONE whole, untouched goodie basket or box of fruit or whatever and say "no, this one is for nightshift", for a change.

    We do have one physician who is sweet enough at holiday time to make sure a separate gift/goody box is set aside for both shifts. He is even nice enough to have pizzas and sparkling cider sent up to nightshift on New Year's Eve. I can't tell you how much that means to us-----and this puts him in high regard in my book, because he takes the time to care for us, too.
    Here, dayshift doesn't save any goodies for us unless it's specified for night shift. Like they'll eat an entire basket of goodies and then leave the empty basket and thank you card. There are some families, though - especially those that visit later in the evening after work or whose baby's primary works night shift - that bring goodies for EVERYBODY. They'll have baskets for each shift, things like that. And for Nurse's Week, the hospital does provide full dinners for every shift and many of the unit managers come in at 2am to help serve food to the night shift nurses. Our docs always order us pizza that week, too, and they make sure to have the last batch delivered around midnight so we get fresh snacks!

    We had one dad that would bring in 2-3 dozen fresh donuts every single morning, at 5am, on his way to work. We told him he didn't have to, but he insisted. I'll admit that we usually ate most of them - we have about 20 nurses on per shift plus maybe 10 others (secretary, RTs, MDs). But we didn't feel too guilty since it was one of the few times we got first crack at something...
    Last edit by Gompers on Oct 21, '06
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    there, again, is something mgt can act on. Instead of letting dayshift plow through and plunder it all, save it for nightshift for a change. They (Day nurses) get plenty, like I said.

    I do have to commend my place of work on one aspect. Every year, we have a Christmas party on like the 2nd Friday night of December. They DO count how many are on staff inhouse that night and send over prime rib or salmon dinners for us who are working. I think that is VERY nice and yes, it means a LOT.

    Also every year, for Nurses' Week, they get us each a small gift. The mgt immediately "tags" each item to a name and holds it in the office for the person when she comes to work. No plundering or hogging is done, when it's done that way. I appreciate the effort, too!

    Little things......
  13. by   GNURSE5
    I am a night shift worker of two years and I have seen the treatment from training on days to working on nights. It is often said "they can do it, the patients are sleep, we got to go watch American idols leave it". Wow the respect I've gained for my night shift crew. We hardly ever get a break to eat, we clean up all night, bed alarms are sounding, sun downers are disoriented, meds are given through out the shift, iv needs to be restarted, high acutity levels with 3-4 nurses (6-7 nurses on day shift), total care baths are done with 1 aide on hand. The list could go on. We do our best, patient safety is everything we want to protect our license often times it seems as though who cares. We ask for more help and we get it but managent then find season night shift worker to fill in positions needed in other areas. Back to square one! The help is a replacement! We often find many errors that day shift is credited for. We often feel left out. Our suggestions are often overlooked so who wants to voice an opinion. More meetings need to be provided for 11pm-0000am, give us a thank you, and Yes save some of the goodies. An increase in shift diff is good idea as well.

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