Serious Sleep Deprivation?!

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    Wondering if anyone else has had serious sleep deprivation resulting from insomnia and problematic work schedules, so that you've had serious effects. Wondering if those effects were understood by your employers or if you were blamed for not being on top of your game when the workplace caused your difficulties.
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    Before being diagnosed bipolar, I would be manic most of the time (took the dx for me to see it though) and of course, after 3-4 days of no sleep...the hallucinations and psychosis would start. I never in a million years, thought that it could be bipolar disorder. Back then, I was working 16 hour shift, off 8 hours, then another 16 scheduled. I think those kinds of schedules are very dangerous, even for a non-bipolar. Back then I hadn't yet learned how to say "no" and mean it. That particular LTC STILL schedules nurses like that; you'd think in this day and age they'd realize what they are doing to their patients simply by what they are doing to their nurses.

    Sorry to ramble!

    Blessings, Michelle
    medsurgrnco likes this.
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    I remember I was out with my family in the early morn following 3 straight night shifts. We had just finished picking up some doughnuts to celebrate my completing the week's task, when I approached the exit with my vehicle.

    After making my right turn I noticed that I was heading straight at oncoming traffic. In Bakersfield, California the Crosstown road is not labeled a one way all along its boarders...so my my fortunate luck I made another quick right and saved my family from utter doom.

    I thusly vowed to myself that I would never ever drive after having had worked a night shift! Luckily I lived 8 blocks from work and walking home from work would only result in my harming myself (falling down!) rather harming others.
    Last edit by CaLLaCoDe on Oct 21, '08
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    Quote from medsurgrnco
    Wondering if anyone else has had serious sleep deprivation resulting from insomnia and problematic work schedules, so that you've had serious effects. Wondering if those effects were understood by your employers or if you were blamed for not being on top of your game when the workplace caused your difficulties.
    I have one word to say "Provigil". It's a anti-narcalepsy drug that is also used for shift workers. In addition to keeping you up it also allows for greater focus and mental clarity. Navy fighter pilots are issued it and many medical residents swear by it. There are very little side effects and the drug can be used long term, although not recommended. Go talk to your Primary Doc and tell him/her about your issues. For "shift work" is one of the off-label uses and your Doc should be willing to prescribe. Good luck.
    medsurgrnco likes this.
  7. 0
    Yes, I've heard of Provigil being used for this and plan to ask my doctor about it. I've enjoyed the responses I've received so far. I've read that driving home after working night shift is equivalent to driving intoxicated. I'm wondering about prolonged sleep deprivation, not caused by "normal" shift work, but caused by TPTB making really ridiculous schedules or switching nurses to the opposite shift, so that nurses can't get anywhere near a decent amount of sleep. Serious sleep deprivation can result in some quite interesting effects (in addition to psychosis and hallucinations mentioned in previous post) that can be misunderstood by employers due to their ignorance of this area.
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    Having a set sched works best for me. I work 2 nights back to back then pick up one night mid week. Same nights for 6months. All my kids are in school now so I can actually sleep during the day vs just nap.

    By having consistency and somewhat of a regular pattern I find I do OK.

    When I started working 3rd shifts I still had a baby that ate baby food, I remember once being at the grocery and picking up a jar of baby food and it slipped through my hands and smashed, so I picked up another one, it too slipped through my hands. It was not until I had dropped 3 glass jars in one aisle at the grocery did I realize "gee my hand eye is off a bit" I had been living in a fog!!
    medsurgrnco likes this.
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    Employers do not care how shift work affects your ability to function. You are just a number on a grid, a hole to fill.They pay no attention to how many shifts in a row ,switching from nocs to days with the infamous 'fake day' off, or double-backing can screw you up, it's really only your problem, I've never seen any empathy or sympathy given.
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    Sleep deprivation - Nursing school. That about says it all for me right now.:zzzzz
    medsurgrnco and CaLLaCoDe like this.
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    The LTC facility I work at offers and encourages 16 hour shifts and I don't care for them.

    But there is one co-worker who does them twice a week and it's funny how she manages to take home the treatment keys at least twice a month, which results in serious problems for the rest of the facility to work around. (She shuts off her phone and doesn't return the keys until she's ready - which can be days).

    Imagine how dangerous it is for her to be driving home, at night, in such a confused state. And she has small children at home.

    I understand the convenience of not having to drive to work several days a week and to get the shifts over with, but it's not worth risking your life, in my opinion.

    And working 16 hour shifts cannot be in the best interest of the patients, especially when meds are involved.
    mondkmondk and medsurgrnco like this.
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    Quote from GrumpyRN63
    Employers do not care how shift work affects your ability to function. You are just a number on a grid, a hole to fill.They pay no attention to how many shifts in a row ,switching from nocs to days with the infamous 'fake day' off, or double-backing can screw you up, it's really only your problem, I've never seen any empathy or sympathy given.

    I basically agree, the hospital I worked at routinely did the "fake" day about once a week, I wonder if nurses and sleep deprivation is synonymous, is there any nurse that doesn't drink caffeine?
    medsurgrnco likes this.


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