Sleeping during nightshift!! - page 5

This is not my first night shift position and I am shocked at how many people at this hospital sleep during their shift. I'm not talking about nodding off for a couple minutes either. They are... Read More

  1. by   kate1114
    I'm a little conflicted on this one. I would be supportive of a policy for small (30 minutes or less) naps as long as the patient load is assigned to another nurse (like it should be at lunch also) and as long as only one person goes at a time. OTOH, I could see this leading to all sorts of problems and abuses.

    I've seen nurses who've come to work either low on sleep or not feeling well (but not feeling poorly enough to call in sick). In a couple of cases, they've negotiated a brief nap while others watch their patients, and they've come back refreshed. I've seen this done sparingly and it's worked well.

    OTOH, I've seen people get fired for falling asleep on the job. These are cases when the nurses are in direct patient care or didn't negotiate a break. Someone found them napping. Hopefully they weren't holding a baby at the time (I've seen this in NICU quite a few times).

    If you can't stay awake, and routinely fall asleep on night shift, it should be a sign to change to another shift. I worked with one nurse who routinely fell asleep holding babies! Pretty scary! I was really upset because everyone knew about it but nothing was done, and that could have had dangerous consequences. But eventually she moved to day shift and didn't have that problem.

    I know for myself that a small nap does nothing to renew me personally. I can't imagine taking a nap and waking up more groggy and going out to take care of my patients. Also, I tend to stay busy enough that I don't have the opportunity to go sleep. On the nights when I'm running and barely have time to sit, I usually don't even feel tired LOL
  2. by   Keepstanding
    Am I the only person who thinks this is abnormal ?
    Seem's to be a lot of nurses in favor of napping. It really suprises me
    that it is accepted practice. I am in shock !!
  3. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Quote from LPN 90
    Am I the only person who thinks this is abnormal ?
    Seem's to be a lot of nurses in favor of napping. It really suprises me
    that it is accepted practice. I am in shock !!

    No, you're the only one.

    But i'm also one of those people that feels worse after a nap of 30 minutes, than a nap of two hours. No matter the length of time, i don't sleep at work, unless i'm on call, in the on-call room, and off the clock.
  4. by   jamonit
    that nurseangel lady has me all wrong. i don't think it's a good idea to sleep during night shift or any shift. especially when people's lives depend upon you and your actions or inaction. i'd be too worried about my little guys in the PICU to leave them and have them go bad on my watch. so, although i'm a new grad, i know that i, myself, will not feel comfortable napping when little guys are oscillating, titrating, etc.
  5. by   Lisa CCU RN
    Quote from barbyann
    Lawyer for plantiff: And where were you when Mr. Jones coded?

    Nurse Sleepy: I was on my break.

    Lawyer: What did you do on your break?

    Nurse: I was sleeping.

    Lawyer: Why were you gone two hours?

    Nurse: My coworkers were supposed to wake me up but they were too busy in the code and they forgot.

    Lawyer: I rest my case.
    And this scererio is completly different from the one where someone takes a 30 minute nap SETS AN ALARM and wakes up on time.

    So, what if the patient coded while the nurse was on break off grounds?
    I either case, another nurse should be responsible for the patients and therefore has no liability, no matter what the nurse was doing while off the clock.
    No one should be on break two hours if they were only supposed to be gone for 30 minutes.
    Nurses should not be expected to act as machines would and take no break.
    We don't run on D batteries.
  6. by   KellNY
    If a patient codes while a nurse is sleeping (supposing she doesn't sleep for 2 hours and tries to blame her coworkers, which is not what I see in practice--and is really not a valid argument, but I digress), then it's no different than if he codes while she is in the cafe getting a coffee, running to her car to get her cell phone, outside smoking a cigarette, or running up and down the fire stairs (one of my coworkers does this to stay fit and energize herself).

    Quote from nurseangel
    Wonder how funny YOU'D think it is when it's you or one of your relatives who suffer needlessly at the hands of a nurse who is off sleeping in his/her car during their break?
    That would not be that nurses fault. Our laws dictate that when we leave the unit or otherwise make ourselves unavailable--be it a break, personal emergency, etc--we are to hand off responsibility to another RN on the unit by giving report. If that patient "suffers needlessly" (whatever that means?), it is not at the hands of a nurse who is sleeping in his/her car (which I've never seen). That patient would suffer no more or less than if her nurse had been getting a soup from the downstairs deli--which I'm assuming is an apporved activity according to your standards?

    If a nurse sleeps for 2 hours because her coworkers didn't wake her, that is dangerous, irresponsible, and wrong on that nurses part. Same thing as if she went to buy a coffee and dilly-dallied reading People or the Enquirer or whatever for 2 hours. I don't see the difference. Or something unfortunate, like she goes to Starbucks to get a latte and gets into a fender bender and is delayed by 2 hours getting back to the unti. Yes, it could happen, and I'm sure it does sometimes.

    Here's an idea-lets chain all the nurses to their units for their breaks, so that nothing ever happens and they are available during their unpaid breaks. After all, we couldn't possibly trust them enough to take responsibility for their own actions and use only the time allotted to them for their breaks, now can we?

    You trust me to push meds through a PIV, to run caustic antibiotics through a PICC, to insert an ng tube, to perform CPR and operate an external defibulator, to handle large amounts of controlled substances every day.....but you can't trust me to be there for my Pt after my 30 minutes is up, no matter what I'm doing?

    But let's not get off topic--we're talking about taking your 30 minutes to do whatever you want, and I support that 100%. You want to tell me what i can and can't do on my break? I'll consider that once you start PAYING me for that 30 minutes!

    Again, for what it's worth, this is coming from a nurse who does not benefit (and therefore does not take) 30 minute naps. I do support my coworkers who chose to, and take responsibility of their Pts for that 30 min, just as they do mine when it's my break.

    And truth be told, I feel more comfortable having Nurse A in the back room with her head on a desk--who I can wake in an emergency--than I do with Nurse B who takes a 15 minute smoke break, followed by 15 minutes in the cafeteria or another unit talking with friends. In my unit, there are only 2 RNs on at night, and sometimes an aide.
    Last edit by KellNY on Feb 10, '07
  7. by   traumaRUs
    My point is that staffing very rarely (if ever) allows for one nurse to actually care for the patients she is watching for another nurse. The nurse watching for you while you take your break is just that - watching. She is not actually doing the care that the nurse assigned to that pt would perform. And, if she is, then how is she caring for the double load? That is my point. Plus, the article that I cited stated that the few minutes after awakening did show a decreased performance level in their testing. So...whether you wake up quickly or not, your performance in the few minutes after waking up is not up to par.

    I will be honest here, I an APN now and if I slept on the job (even on my breaks), I would be fired and reported to the state BON. This is just not acceptable behavior at work.
  8. by   KellNY
    Well, on my unit (which I'll admit, is usually pretty light), the nurse taking her break will schedule it so that it follows the med pass/treatment/vital schedule. Our Pts rarely--if ever--require continous care, and if they did, that nurse would not sleep or leave the floor for longer than 5 min. It requires common sense and consideration, which I'm lucky enough to not only posess, but identify in my coworkers.

    If during that nurse's break, one of her Pts needs a pain med, breathing treatment, use of the bedpan, help ambulating to the bathroom, etc, I'm more than happy to assist.

    And like I said, if there were an emergency (or if I got too busy with my own Pts), I can wake the other nurse immediately. I'd rather have an RN with me who needs a few min to regroup than one who I can't get a hold of for another 20 min because she's taking her break off the floor.

    If you work on a chronically heavy, understaffed unit, even then I hesitate to say "a nap would be unacceptable" for the simple reason that if staffing is so consistantly tight that a nurse is not allowed her legally provided, unpaid break, then there is a major problem. You should be able to call a sister unit or the ADN for a 30 minute meal break replacement, because that is an unsafe condition for the RN and the Pts.

    And no, sleeping is not acceptable at work. But you're not technically at work. You. Are. On. A. Break. (I'm starting to feel like Ross on Friends, though a little more validated, lol)
    Last edit by KellNY on Feb 10, '07
  9. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    And no, sleeping is not acceptable at work. But you're not technically at work. You. Are. On. A. Break.
    During.Your.Shift.On.The.Job.On.Facility.Property. Where.Rules.May.Apply.
  10. by   KellNY
    Quote from Marie_LPN
    During.Your.Shift.On.The.Job.On.Facility.Property. Where.Rules.May.Apply.
    Hilarious.

    Show me the rules where the BON or ADN (or whomever) can dictate what an employee does on his/her break.

    We are not superheros. We are LEGALLY entitled to a 30 minute break (plus one or two 15 minute breaks). We are not paid for these breaks. If a nap makes someone feel refreshed, then so be it. If (leaving the unit for) a cup of coffee does that, cool. If you need a few cigarettes (which is a pet peeve of mine, but whatever), then go ahead. If you need a snack wrap from McDonalds to boost your sugar and your protein, chow down.

    No one is saying "Well, if it's slow, there's nothing wrong with napping for a few hours". No one is saying "I have to work nights, so my employer owes me nappy time!". We are saying that this is a legally entitled, in most cases unpaid break which we are technically off the clock and have passed on report to a competant RN.

    NO ONE should be expected to be a martyr. EVERYONE should be expected to perform their duties competantly while "on the clock". NO ONE should be policed during their time (and yes, it is their time! Not the employers). What is so hard to grasp about this concept?
  11. by   GardenDove
    ER docs sleep every night at our one doc ER, and if there is a code coming in, they wake him up. What's the difference? I'll tell you what, nurses are supposed to have a martyr syndrome and be handmaidens of mercy, always sacrificing their last ounce of life blood for their pts, family, and anyone else who needs them.
  12. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Quote from KellNY
    Hilarious.

    Show me the rules where the BON or ADN (or whomever) can dictate what an employee does on his/her break.

    We are not superheros. We are LEGALLY entitled to a 30 minute break (plus one or two 15 minute breaks). We are not paid for these breaks. If a nap makes someone feel refreshed, then so be it. If (leaving the unit for) a cup of coffee does that, cool. If you need a few cigarettes (which is a pet peeve of mine, but whatever), then go ahead. If you need a snack wrap from McDonalds to boost your sugar and your protein, chow down.

    No one is saying "Well, if it's slow, there's nothing wrong with napping for a few hours". No one is saying "I have to work nights, so my employer owes me nappy time!". We are saying that this is a legally entitled, in most cases unpaid break which we are technically off the clock and have passed on report to a competant RN.

    NO ONE should be expected to be a martyr. EVERYONE should be expected to perform their duties competantly while "on the clock". NO ONE should be policed during their time (and yes, it is their time! Not the employers). What is so hard to grasp about this concept?
    The fact that i simply disagree with your position (reasons why are listed in prior threads), therefore i do not/will not grasp. Has nothing to do with BON rules, superheroes, or martyrs.
  13. by   KellNY
    Quote from Marie_LPN
    The fact that i simply disagree with your position, therefore i do not/will not grasp. Has nothing to do with BON rules, superheroes, or martyrs.
    Then who's rules are they?

    And what's the difference (as far as Pt care goes) from putting your head down in the back and going to the in house deli for a cup of coffee and sandwich and out for a smoke. Honest question, because I see no significant difference, other than the ones i've mentioned in my previous 2 posts.

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