Sleeping during nightshift!! - page 9

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   suetje
    Quote from helpinghands
    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 slumped over in chair, head on the desk drooling all over themselves (at the nurses station!). Their little slumber lasts 1-2 hours, some even sneak off and sleep in their vehicles for this amount time. During this time almost everybody is busy, and even busier because they're pick up their slack.

    I have mentioned this to several of the CN's, and don't get much of a response. It just some how seems accepted?!? This just can't be normal?

    It's so frustrating, I run my butt off and barely manage to get breaks, eat while chart etc... and there they are: snoozing in the corner.

    Please tell me this is far from the norm where you work!

    I travel to numerous hospitals throughout the US. I am in different ICU's as a part of my job. I, also was stunned that most units have several staff sleeping during night shift. They usually are gone 1 hour or more. That leaves usually 1/2 of the staff on the unit. In an ICU it seems this is pretty bad practice. If you think about it, even when you go to lunch, how many times have you come back to find many things aren't done (remember, this is in an ICU) like vitals, emptying urine, pulse ox etc. If something were to happen, the nurse covering for you would be liable, and likely you would be too. I don't think people consider the consequences of being gone long periods of time AND expecting that the nurse covering is actually looking in to make sure the pt. is OK. I think it could be a BIG case if it wnet to court...because you KNOW the hospital would say it was NOT policy that this can occur.
  2. by   cari rn
    I also live in Canada. Have worked in major city hospitals in both Toronto and Vancouver. On nights, in both hospitals, the norm was that the nurses "pooled" their breaks into one long one, usually 2 - 2.5 hours, depending on how busy things were. It was a RARE nurse not to sleep - and then it was just because he/she personally would feel worse after a nap. We all slept. Management knew we did. And it was just an unwritten rule that if it got too busy (admits, or sick kids, etc) we would be woken up early. No one ever had a problem with that. In one hospital, half the nurses went on a "first" break, then the other half went on "second" break. In the other hospital, we just each took turns, so usually only one or two were gone at a time.
    I couldn't imagine NOT getting at least a little bit of sleep on nights...wouldn't feel safe to drive home after if I didn't.
    Last edit by cari rn on Feb 26, '07
  3. by   KellNY
    Quote from PHLEBOTOMIST_TO_RN
    I use to bang my phlebotomy tray right against their heads on the desk to wake them up......I made sure everyone knew they were sleeping on the job to.
    Wow. That's pretty mature.
  4. by   bluiis923
    Wow,
    Obviously, I'm working in the wrong facility... I WISH I could get a chance for a nap! We are so busy, it's rare that we even get a lunch break, much less a nap.
  5. by   RNsRWe
    After skimming through some of these posts, I'm absolutely floored. I don't have time to take a meal break, or any other break for that matter, let alone SLEEP! I'm not kidding: I can count on one hand with fingers left over how many times in the last six months I've actually taken the time to sit and eat something (while doing charting, of course). There was one night when it was actually slow enough for me to sit in the breakroom with my food, instead of charting at the same time. I read a magazine, and felt absolutely lazy....and it lasted about ten minutes, lol, before I started to worry that something was going to go wrong while I was "gone"!!

    I literally have to ask one of the other nurses to keep an eye out for my patients in case they need pain meds while I run to the bathroom....IF I run to the bathroom.

    SLEEP????
  6. by   traumaRUs
    My take on this is that if you have time to sleep, the staffing is too much. I don't see how management would allow this. It may be unwritten but I would bet if the administrator or managers were to come in during the night to find half the staff asleep, half the staff would be unemployed. (I am talking in the US).
  7. by   StNeotser
    Quote from PHLEBOTOMIST_TO_RN
    I use to bang my phlebotomy tray right against their heads on the desk to wake them up......I made sure everyone knew they were sleeping on the job to.
    You know that thread you started about how nurses looked down on phlebotomists? I think you misread that. It probably had something to do with something else.......
  8. by   cota2k
    Even after a year, I'm still the new nurse with the crudy schedule. I get one overnight a week, goofs up my sleep schedule for days, not to mention the headache from slep deprivation. I've seen the "cat naps", I've heard of nurses going to an unoccupied room to sleep. But, what get's my goat is that the doc's have a back room with a bed. It's nothing for them to go sleep for hours if no pt's, or if awaiting labs, ct... If the nurses have to stay awake, the doc should to.
  9. by   TrudyRN
    Quote from helpinghands
    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 slumped over in chair, head on the desk drooling all over themselves (at the nurses station!). Their little slumber lasts 1-2 hours, some even sneak off and sleep in their vehicles for this amount time. During this time almost everybody is busy, and even busier because they're pick up their slack.

    I have mentioned this to several of the CN's, and don't get much of a response. It just some how seems accepted?!? This just can't be normal?

    It's so frustrating, I run my butt off and barely manage to get breaks, eat while chart etc... and there they are: snoozing in the corner.

    Please tell me this is far from the norm where you work!
    Why don't you wake them up? You've mentioned it to the CN but why not just wake them up yourself? What is your relationship with these sleepers?


    It will be a cold day in hell before I let some coworker sleep while I do her work - unless I knew the person was sick or had something really awful going on in her life and was dead tired. And then I'd only do it once or twice.
  10. by   TrudyRN
    A long, long time ago, I once just simply could not keep my eyes open on an 11-7 shift. I just physically could not help it and I told my coworkers that I was just going to put my head down on the desk for a few minutes and they should wake me if I was out more than a very few minutes. It all turned out ok. I slept about 10 minutes, had a very funny dream, and never got reprimanded. I just simply couldn't help it.

    I see nothing wrong with sleeping on my unpaid break time, as long as I am readily accessible, should an emergency arise. I would never condone this if patients were going to be compromised. Sometimes a person is just unable to physically carry on and a quick nap does help a lot.
  11. by   Quickbeam
    I never thought this thread was about what people did on their unpaid break. I worked straight nights for 20 years and I saw the "find an empty bed or closet and hide out" nurses. The 2-4 hour, sound-asleepers. Them.

    I woke them up. I told them that my personal ethos was to wake them up the first time and document what I found in writing every time after that. No matter what your point of view, I can guarantee you that a sleeping nurse is not checking IVs, hanging new bags, taking vitals or monitoring the floor. The units I worked on were very very busy and if someone slept, everyone else got dumped on. When people understood I'd not tolerate it, they didn't do it when I worked. A few times a drug diversion problem was uncovered.

    I agree with the upthread post that if a floor has so much staff that it can function fine with sleeping nurses, it is overstaffed.
  12. by   helpinghands
    I have no problem with people taking a nap if its out of sight and someone is covering their pts.

    My big issue is that it's at the nursing station. In full sight of other staff, patients and the patients family. It can't be reassuring to family members to see a staff member wrapped in a blanket and sleeping at the nursing station.

    As to waking them up. If they are needed for something I don't hesitate, but alot of people just cover for them. It's just accepted. The director, chargre nurses, dr's ect... have all seen it, nobody raises an eyebrow.
  13. by   madwife2002
    Having working in both the Uk and the US the differences on night duties are amazing. At night in the UK pts are settled down for the night and hopefully left to sleep, unheard of for doctors to visit the floor unless a pt is unwell, there tends to be only nurses around the hospital except for the ER department. The oncall doctors are asleep in the hospital somewhere. Nurse take breaks of upto 2hours and the other nurses cover the patients, it tends to be quiet, nobody cares if the nurse sleeps on her breaks or not, it is expected they will but it is also expected they will return quickly if they are needed. We all covered each others back and support each other. The nurses on their breaks are close by and dont leave the floor. I wouldnt however expect a nurse to nod off when they are back on the floor on duty but when they are on their break they can do what they want.

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