Second Class Citizens

  1. ...No, it's not just me. Those of us who work the night shift, whether its from 11pm-7a or 7pm-7am, are treated like second class citizens. Its as if we don't matter, or don't exist! Obviously, those who work days (7a-3p) are the prima donas of nursing, and always get preferential treatment by higher ups, but even 3a-11p nurses don't have it as bad as graveyard workers do. We don't get any consideration by higher-ups. When scheduling inservices (which are always mandatory) they are scheduled during typically day-shift hours. Whenever the facility decides to acknowledge its workers, its always something done during their usual hours of operation in the business office (so the clerks and office personell who have little or nothing to do with nursing benefit).

    Why do I bring this up, you ask? ...Well, just recently, the facility I work for completed their annual state survey. Anyone who works in long term care knows exactly how it goes. The state comes in and reviews everything about the daily operations, what is implemented as far as nursing care. How its implemented and if its being done right. Much like hospital accredidations, the facility can not accept medicare or medicaid patients without the green light from the state. And, in rare situations, must be shut down if considered extremely dangerous to patient safety. The state can also put a nurse's license up for board review if a nurse's work is considered suspect, or if she/he makes too many errors while a surveryor is standing over their shoulder. It is the most frustrating and nerve-racking experience you could ever be a part of. First of all, most facilities don't follow through year round with half the things they're supposed to throughout the year, and when their "window" opens for the state to come in, the big-cheeses run around like chickens with their heads chopped off trying to correct all their mistakes they let slide all year long. Paperwork not filed, forms that don't include certain information that they neglected to include when they designed the forms, areas not kept clean and tidy (like the med-room or even the med-carts), orders not being transcribed properly, treatments not being done (who has time to do this when you've got to do everything else: so they temporarily assign a nurse to get them done or hire someone to do it while the state is there). There are what seems like a million things that aren't done all year that suddenly matter, and guess who the brunt of it falls to to "fix"? The night shift.

    Somewhere along the lines, some idiot got the brilliant notion that night nurses do absolutely nothing all night long. So, whenever there's something that has to be done (and done right), its assigned to the night nurses to get it accomplished. Things like, cleaning the med-carts (messes left by filthy nurses who think their mammas work their and will clean it up for them), junk left lying around because someone else was too lazy to find an appropriate place to put it, MD orders not taken off when they were written, and my persnal favorite...putting dates on open vials and containers. Why can't day nurses do this when they open something up? Are their precious hands too dainty for the task? (Yes, it bothers me, because I shouldn't have to correct your mistakes, because you're too lazy to do something right the first time!) But I digress...

    With everything that night nurses do, first of all a lot of crap is dumped on us to "fix" or "clean up", like we're the house-keeping crew. Secondly, while the rest of you have your pretty little heads on a pillow dreaming of sugar-plum fairies, the rest of us are awake and caring for patients. We aren't sitting on our plump behinds reading romance novels and sleeping at the desk. There are lots of things done on the night shift that can't or don't get done during the daylight hours. And, regardless of popular belief, the majority of patients don't sleep at night. Most either have insomnia themselves, or have to be wakened by the CNAs during care rounds. There are falls out of bed, there are the screamers who wake everyone else up. There are duties such as assessments, head counts, and yes charting. But there is also a full med pass at 600am that has to be completed by 700am. With many facilities using CMAs now to pass meds, day and evening nurses are often spared this time consuming task. And, all this is accomplished during what normally is considered hours of sleep. But, are we appreciated? NO!

    Like every other facility I've worked for, when the time comes to reward nurses (for doing their job...hmmm), night nurses aren't considered in the least. Like I said, we just completed our state survey. After all the hoop-la, we only got a few minor "tags" or "citations". The higher ups celebrated by treating the staff to pizza. That is they treated the staff from 7-3 and 3-11 to pizza. They were nice enough to leave their scraps for the night shift to pick over. (yeah, right!). Cold, disgusting looking pizza left-overs, sitting out all afternoon that stunk. That was night shift's "reward". But, that is always the way. We are second class citizens, always have been and always will be. Most of us really don't care about your little pizza parties or catered lunches, but what if we weren't there to clean up after you, and to keep operations running throughout the night, so that everything runs smoothly for you in the morning? What then? Would management finally acknowledge our contributions? Probably not.
  2. 31 Comments

  3. by   Be_Moore
    I had that problem at my old job. It was funny, because on my last day there my manager called me and said "It's funny, I don't think I've seen you since I hired you." And I was a charge. Hilarity. My current facility is much better about things like that..inservices are scheduled day and night. Staff meetings occur twice, once at 7A and once at 7P during our morning "huddle." So it sounds like you need a new manager that is sympathetic to those who trade any sense of a "normal" day to day living routine for night diff.
  4. by   Sensoria17
    I think this is common to all nightshift workers regardless of occupation. My husband works graveyard at a small, private airport and everyone on his shift gets blamed for everything that goes wrong. I think it has something to do with being somewhat unsupervised in the sense that there are no bigwigs around. It still sucks though.
  5. by   NC Girl BSN
    ((HUGS)). I worked 3-11pm in the nursing home and it has and always been like that. It all comes down to RESPECT. Every shift complains about the next shift and so on. I have worked everyshift and we all have our challenges. I am not gonna disrespect one shift over the next. I have brought this up at every staff meeting about not including 11-7 and 3-11 in more functions. For the most part, support staff are not going to do it and that the way its gonna be. Every once in a while they would order something nice for each shift but not very often. I am glad you were able to vent your frustrations. We just have to remember why we come to work.For the residents! Also in Nursing I have found that you just have accept that people are not going to always praise and pat you on the back. I wish we could get more praise from the higher ups, everyone needs to feel wanted sometimes. Keep doing what you do!
  6. by   KneKno
    OP--Bet you had to clean up the left-over pizza party mess, too! I think that's the reason leftovers are even left for nights--3 big boxes that need walked to dirty supply, with 1 piece of pizza in each one....
  7. by   Straydandelion
    Having worked all shifts I would say there are advantages and disadvantages to all of them. I used to envy one particular shift then when I actually worked it decided it wasn't as good as I thought LOL. As far as nights however, I agree, the main over-sight IMO is managerial related. Perhaps have a discussion with your manager?
  8. by   drgnflydggr
    Have you considered putting in for a transfer to day shift?
  9. by   feralnostalgia
    pizza parties? those were cool in grade school...haha. your management sounds completely clueless. then again, they wouldn't really be management if they weren't.
  10. by   texastaz
    Quote from Sensoria17
    I think this is common to all nightshift workers regardless of occupation.
    I think it has something to do with being somewhat unsupervised in the sense that there are no bigwigs around. It still sucks though.
    I have also have worked night shift in other occupations - and while I have worked with little to no supervision, yes the perks are next to zero in comparrison to the day shift. Day time Big Wigs-Supervisors are great with verbal praise, but otherwise don't care just as long as the job gets done and they are not bothered. I think the Big Wigs-Supervisors know as well there is little Lime Light on the graveyard shift, so why bother - they are not going to get an extra Kudo for it.
  11. by   zofran
    WOW!! You sound so bitter.....maybe jealous of the day shift hours?

    I am a day shift nurse and some of your comments rubbed me the wrong way.

    For example I don't consider myself a "prima donna of nursing" or consider my "precious hands too dainty" for any nursing task.

    This takes the cake though....
    "Yes it bothers me, because I shouldn't have to correct your mistakes, because you're too LAZY to do something right the first time"
    I don't understand why you would call the day shift "LAZY" for not labeling a medication bottle. Not sure if you have ever worked the day shift before, but (at least on my floor) we are very BUSY, not lazy. Cut us some slack.

    Sounds like you need to voice your concerns to the meantime......we nurses should be supporting eachother instead of bashing different shifts.
  12. by   soulofme
    Labeling a medication bottle, when opened the 1st time, was taught in NS! Just do it!
  13. by   Elektra6
    I used to say the day shift was treated like your children, 3-11 like your stepchildren and 11-7 like people who broke in and robbed you! That was a joke but I always got a laugh.
  14. by   LilPeonNo1
    Not jealous, but very peeved. Your reply suggests as well that night nurse's are not busy...that's just it. We are. And, we have time (all of 3 seconds) to put a date on a bottle. So yes, that is laziness. And, yes I have worked day shift, so I do know how busy it gets. As well as how many other disciplines you have to share space with. But, I have worked behind too many day nurses that leave their work for some one else to do, rushing to clock out right at 3pm. But, heaven forbid, a night nurse leave something for day shift to follow through with... you'd think the sky was falling... I have to stay sometimes until 9am in the morning after my shift just to make sure its done. I got hauled onto the carpet once because admin said I was staying too late in the am, so next time I decided to "leave it" for the next shift, well, it didn't get done, and guess who got reamed out for it? ME! I wasn not afforded the luxury of saying I was "too busy".
    I'm not really trying to start a flame war, and I know there are differences between what you have to do and what is expected on my shift, but it isn't that you are so much busier than me, its just some things are different which is no excuse.

    You should try working night shift for a month, then tell me I'm not busy.