Who works nights?

  1. I got my schedule today. The reality is starting to set in. I am beginning my new job next week as a neonatal care tech. I am working nights. 645-715am. I will start my first night shift on June 5th. My scheule was given to me for a whole month which was nice. June 4th, I have a hospital orientation for the nursing staff including the care techs in the day from 830-430 then I work nights June 5th, 8th, 10, 11th, 17th, 22nd, 23rd, 26th, 27th, 30, July 1, 4th and 5th. That will be nice so that way I will have lots of time to spend with my 4 year old daughter. She is in pre-school and she will be in summer daycamp at the school she attends for the days I come home from work so I can sleep.

    How did you prepare for your first night shift? Did you stay up late so many days in advance to prepare and started sleeping during the day. How did you prepare for it or can you even prepare for it. I am so nervous. I want to do good and I don't want to fall asleep. I know that I am not going to do a lot of sitting when I don't have to. I know during my break I will walk around. Ok, now I need to stop worrying so much.

    Thanks
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   Tiiki
    I don't usually sleep on my first night shift. If possible I may take a nap, but I'm not a great day sleeper so for the first night, I'm in without any rest. Each person prepares differently. Some are able to sleep that first night, others wing it. Best of luck in your new position!!

    Ciao
    JO
  4. by   fedupnurse
    Try to sleep for a couple of hours in the afternoon before you go in. Don't worry about falling asleep your first night in the unit-you'll be excited and the time will fly because you'll be learning so much! You'll do fine!!!!
  5. by   bellehill
    I was very nervous before my first night shift. The truth is that you will be amazed at how easy it will be to stay awake. Take a nap or sleep in real good before your shift. You will do fine, good luck!
  6. by   LSRN
    When I worked nights, I found it hard to fall asleep for a nap during the day, so I would just sleep as late as possible (which was never a problem, I love to sleep in!!). I was amazed how easy it was to stay up all night at work. I always got tired driving home in the morning, so I could fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. You'll do fine!!
  7. by   shygirl
    I worked NOC's for 10 months. I was so tired all the time. I couldn't sleep during the day, I gained 10 pounds from eating all night with every other nurse, and when the shift was over and I had to drive 30 minutes to get home, I might as well have been smashed. My eyes were heavy and burning every morning. The plus side was I fell asleep the minute my head hit the pillow! Good luck to you! Sleep when you get home and try to sleep at least 3-4 hours before you go in. And.....drink lots of water!
  8. by   armyrn
    i worked nights for a couple of years, here are some tips:

    1) get some kind of exercise before you go in, gets your heart pumping and helps wake you up.

    2) try to keep snacking to a minimum! your metabolism will be screwed up and you'll get fat quickly. also, don't eat a huge breakfast in the morning before going to bed.

    3) put aluminum foil over your bedroom windows. also, shut off the ringers on your phones. get a beeper and give important people the number. cuts down on nuisance wake-ups.

    good luck!
  9. by   Rustyhammer
    I worked Nocs for almost 3 years and my first night on I'd go to bed and sleep 3-4 hours then get up, shower and cruise on in.
    I never had too much problem staying awake until about 3 am when I was charting I'd get tired. This only happened if things were slow and to fix it I'd take a few minutes and walk around the unit or brew some high octane coffee. Most of the time I'd be too busy to get tired.
    I WOULD have to pull over sometimes and take a power nap on the way home (1/2 hour drive).
    Nights were good for me when my kids were young and not in school yet but it WILL screw with your sleep cycle. It will take a while to get used to it.
    Snack on fruits or you will get large.
    -Russell
  10. by   AlexandraRN
    The biggest thing is you have to sleep. Even if you only get a short lay down and rest kind of thing, it helps before going in. I sometimes stay up in the morning until about 10am reading and then fall asleep. I am usually up by 5pm or earlier depending on whats going on for the day. Sometimes i get up as early as 3pm. Take everyones advice here and dont snack. I know I have gained 10 to 15 pounds the over the 9 months I have been on nights!!!
  11. by   Ted
    I will ALWAYS work nights in the healthcare profession!!!

    Sleep? What's sleep??? :chuckle

    I sleep about 3 to 4 hours during the day right after work. Then I nap another 1 1/5 to 2 hours just befor going to work. This nap is extremely important to me. If I don't get it, I drag my **s!

    I love working nights. It's usually quite. The people are great. We eat a lot (that may not be a good thing!).

    Good luck!

    Ted, the night ICU/CCU nurse
  12. by   suzannasue
    Have worked nights for 99.9% of my career...love nights...
    my first nights were spent watching the other nurses eat (when able) things like spaghetti,burgers,ets at 2 am...I could not figure out what to eat...(hell...our Mama's don't trainis to eat at that time of night!!!)...I would be so nauseated,smelling that food...ick...took probably 6 months to get into the routine of eating food when my body was accustomed to sleeping...
    :zzzzz started out taking fruit and light stuff...now...anythng goes if I have time to eat...which is a rare occurrence...
    Agree with the above posters who encurage you to either stay up and sleep as long as possible the day before the first night...don't drink anything except perhaps small amounts H20 after 5 am or else your bladder will awaken you around 10 am...if I see daylight,i am usually awake for the rest of the day!!!! Keep your bedroom as dark as possible...looks tacky (I couldn't care less what Martha Stewart thinks) but I have put up the thick black plastic over my bedroom windows...miniblinds and dark rollshades didn't cut it...if see one ray of light,my mind tells my body to "wake up and move!!!!!!!"....if while working,you get sleepy while charting...get up and move....walk outside,if possible...you will adjust eventually... take care..keep us posted!!!!!
  13. by   Teshiee
    I have been working nights since I was a Ward Clerk in Labor and Delivery. It comes naturally to me. I can't work days I am dying. I get very tired by afternoon and I am ready to crash. When I come home from night shift I get at least 5-6 hours of sleep which I only require. I agree nights are not for everyone. Unfortunately newly hired people get stuck in those hours. I am a night owl can't help myself. :-)
  14. by   ERNurse752
    I like night shift...I'm more of a night-owl person, and my bf works at night too.
    I stay up as late as I can the night before I go in, so I can sleep late the day of.
    Snacking was more of a problem for me on days, for some reason. I don't tend to be as hungry at night, I guess.
    Make sure you keep moving (usually not a problem!) The more you sit, the more sleepy you will become.
    Good luck and have fun! Night shifters are special people!

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