Switching to night shift?

  1. Hello everyone,

    I'm sure this topic has been dragged through the dirt several times, but I needed to know from those of you who may have decided to switch to night shift.

    My situation is this.

    I am a new grad, about 3 weeks out of orientation. I helped cover a night shift last week. Despite the terrible strain it put on my sleep schedule, I liked it. After recouperating, I'm still doing so even today as you can see from my post time, I feel that it may suit me better than days.

    My most recent day shift after this night shift I worked was horrible. Doctors throwing demands my way, interruptions to my organization, etc. I felt so out of whack I wanted to leave the floor crying and never come back.

    I realize I'm a new grad and this is my time to learn, but perhaps I could learn more smoothly on nights.

    Can anyone give me any thoughts or advice on what they believe night shift could do for me?

    Thank you and have a great day,
    JacelRN
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   zacarias
    Quote from JacelRN
    Hello everyone,
    I'm sure this topic has been dragged through the dirt several times, but I needed to know from those of you who may have decided to switch to night shift.
    My situation is this.
    I am a new grad, about 3 weeks out of orientation. I helped cover a night shift last week. Despite the terrible strain it put on my sleep schedule, I liked it. After recouperating, I'm still doing so even today as you can see from my post time, I feel that it may suit me better than days.
    Thank you and have a great day,
    JacelRN
    Jacel,

    I too am a fairly new grad having worked at a teaching hospital for seven months. I just recently started nights (12 and 8 hour shifts) and I have to say I like it too. The sleeping schedule is weird and working in the middle of the night is strange, but you're right in that it's way different than day shift.
    Day shift requires you to do all the nursing stuff AND deal with numerous doctors writing orders and orders, pt diagnostic tests, etc. Night shift gives us a break usually but also a patient can make a turn for the worst in the wee hours of the morning.
    I like nights but don't know if I could do it permanently because it messing with my circadian rhythm. I think it's important that we all have day shift experience to learn to deal with multitasking, but I think there's nothing wrong with doing nights and enjoying it!
  4. by   SavageWist
    i have been a nurse for 4.5 years now and 4 of them have been on nights. my reason for this i dont get mixed up in all the politics. i find at nights i dont have all the demands of this has to be done right now that i feel like i can do better patient care. i have that extra time to get things done like nail care for example. i also have more time to look over charts and make sure orders are written on the MAR and little things like that. but then i am single and my daughter is now 18 and starting college. also the walmarts are not packed that early in the morning.
  5. by   suzanne4
    Nights can be a very good thing for some nurses. Depends on if you will be able to get the amount of sleep that your body requires. Each person is different and only your body will be able to tell you.
    The extra pay for working nights can also be quite beneficial to your checkbook. You just have to see what will work for you.
    One thing to take into consideration, are you the only nurse, or do you have a good back-up system if you run into trouble with a patient...............

    Hope that this helps.................
  6. by   tiroka03
    In my facility, I have worked all three shifts. I prefer nights for several reasons.

    1. There are less politics. I say that because of the upper management is never seen. That is a blessing. However, there are plently of people who think they are personal informants to the management. So, there still remains those who try to control by one means or another. Just less big wigs to deal with.

    2. Actually, even though usually the work load is less, if you consider that two nurses just ran the floor prior to your arrival. Now the floor is twice as long and the paper work twice as much. But I find I can spend more time assessing patients. Many times on night shift things are 'discovered' only because the time exists to search. That depends upon the individual nurse, if you look and assess, or if you pull out a newspaper and read.

    3. I can pursue a topic of interest. For instance, I may deciede to study a particular lab. I will study it in conjuction with differnet peoples diagnosis. I will pull up things on the net, or read manuals to gain perspective. That will broaden my scope, and may come in handy at a later date. Being an LPN, I find my education needs supplementing frequently.

    4. I can usually manage to spend a little extra time with hospice patients and their families. I can sit and comfort a frightened person, or answer questions which are only thought of in the middle of a very dark and long night.

    5. For me the most compelling reason to work nights, I have control over the floor. I deciede when and what is important. I am not saying everything evolves around me, but rather I evolve around everything. I see it all, I track it all. I don't sit and wait for directions, I act, I move, I think. It's not nurse follow me. It's myself leading.

    6. Another plus, is that I do have some control over the actions of the nurses that follow me. In my facility the day shift, or (day *****es as we call them) think they are far superior. If a particualar am nurse is well unfreindly, she will quickly find I will not do the extras for her. I tend to do beyond my scope and do dressing and vitals and misc tasks not required. So, be kind to the night nurse, or I'll spend my extra time concentrated on helping the other day nurse, and just not have time for you. Too bad, but I happened to be busy last night. tsk tsk.

    So it depends what you like. When I worked days at a hospital, I used to love following the doctors on rounds. I learned a lot. I used to assess a new person and come up with all the angles I could see, I couldn't wait for the doctor to come to find out if I was on the right track. I wasn't always, and then it was interesting to find out why. That is something dayshift may be more suited for.

    Nights you learn from other nurses, or the occasional emt. I've called the hospitals if I have questions, or pharmacies in the middle of the night. I find most people love to share their knowledge and experiences. I am a LPN, but always a student at heart

    Hope this helps.
  7. by   SavageWist
    WalkMyGardenPath very well written. you captured the heart of all GOOD night nurses. i would be proud to work night shift with you anytime. lots of times i work with the nurses that read the newspapers.
  8. by   Ortho_RN
    Well I am currently on night shift... Fixing to have to get off of it, due to health reasons.. I just found out i have narcolepsy, and not having a set sleeping pattern is killing me.. I just feel drained all the time... But I do like that there are less people running around... But I have to do what is better for me and my health..
  9. by   JacelRN
    Thank you all so much,

    You each gave me a new perspective on the night shift.

    I do have a follow-up question.

    When you talk about less politics, do you mean less upper management only?

    Here's is what I need additional advice on.

    I am finding that during the day shift, the nurses talk badly about other, patients, nurses, doctors, EVERYONE. You just assume they talk badly about you when you're not around. I just try not to give them too much to talk about

    But when I worked my night shift, it didn't see too much of that. We were more a less a working unit, we helped each other out, they bent over backwards for me and I was able to ask as many questions as I needed.

    Just wanted to know if any of you had feedback about that? Day shift vs. Night shift back-talk.

    Thanks again, I am compelled to try this.

    JacelRN
  10. by   wjf00
    Quote from SavageWist
    WalkMyGardenPath very well written. you captured the heart of all GOOD night nurses. i would be proud to work night shift with you anytime. lots of times i work with the nurses that read the newspapers.
    Reading newspapers is terrible! .... are you at work doing this post?
  11. by   MandyInMS
    Jacel....I've worked nights and days...I prefer nights for one main reason..maybe it's just our group, but we all work together..helping each other out with whatever needs doing..we have almost 1/2 the staff as day shift so we HAVE to pull together to get things done..we're all we've got.....as far as the gossiping..I think you find that anywhere,anytime,any shift...lol
  12. by   tiroka03
    Quote from wjf00
    Reading newspapers is terrible! .... are you at work doing this post?
    I don't read the paper at work, you must have misunderstood. Anyway, I am writing this at home. If I was writing at work, I would be on my lunch break. But, I prefer to spend my lunches with my co-workers. I enjoy most of the people I work with, and since we enjoy each other , it tends to make work more enjoyable too.

    I tend to make sure I don't have too much spare time, as that makes the clock drag. I would rather be busy in one way or the other, I have little respect for the people who do shoddy work just so they can have 'free' time. I work with an RN who lives by this principal. He 'floats' between two units, suppossed to be helping when needed. He doesn't find anything that needs to be done, even if asked its very stressful for him to s l o w l y move to assess something. He tends to spend hours reading a particularly boring chart, then he pretends he is looking up important data, so he is too busy to actually do anything. If I tried that kind of thing, I would be bored to tears. Last night he was particularly weird in this, and it was quite comical to watch. If he only put forth a tenth of effort doing work, he would accomplish great things. The only thing he is gaining is disrespect from everyone around him.
  13. by   VickyRN
    I much prefer nights. I worked 1 year on day shift right out of school, then switched to nights and stayed on nights for 5 years. Nights were less stressful (days were generally ALWAYS chaotic, nights were only occasionally...). Nights had less suits, less belligerent doctors, less interrupting phone calls, less demanding family members to deal with... well, you get my picture. Much more time for quality patient care and patient interactions (like bedside teaching, even the fabeled back rub). The only downside to working nights was living in an upside-down world with a messed up circadian rhythm. My days off were spent sleeping and I was up half the night.
  14. by   zacarias
    Quote from walkmygardenpath
    6. Another plus, is that I do have some control over the actions of the nurses that follow me. In my facility the day shift, or (day *****es as we call them) think they are far superior. If a particualar am nurse is well unfreindly, she will quickly find I will not do the extras for her..


    All the nurses I work with seem to like me on all shifts. There is on nurse though on nights (I'm now on nights too) who barely talks to me and is hardly civil to me unless she is charge. She doesn't like me probably for some imagined slight but I haven't the foggiest. I am nice to everybody.
    Mornings are really busy and one time she had an IV antifungal due on her shift at 2100. She told me that she was way too busy to hang that antibiotic then so she rescheduled it for me to give at 0800. What timing, just starting my shift...anyway, the admonition of Rodney King comes to mind, "Why can't we all just get along?"

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