Need input from NIGHT SHIFT nurses - page 3

by marycarney

6,380 Views | 29 Comments

I recently completed my MSN - and my capstone research project was about how night shift nurses learn to adapt to circadian disruption. I am doing a follow-up project, and need you input on the following questions. 1)What... Read More


  1. 2
    Quote from CVmursenary
    Manager not being there is nightshift friendly
    Y'know, when it comes to people looking over your shoulder, I totally agree. But I found that a good number of problems stemmed from the manager NOT being there--ever. She typically showed up a half hour to an hour into the day shift's time, which meant that she heard all the complaints from those nurses about what "night shift didn't do/never does". She was never there to hear the flip side, such as what got "left over" for the night shift to do--although it had been ordered/requested at 2pm.

    She was leaving as the evening shift arrived, so sometimes got those complaints, but she didn't stick around long enough to validate anything. Easier, I suppose, to believe that the only shift working their butts off was days....

    Somehow she got the idea that evening techs had tons of free time, so she had them doing things she'd never ask the day techs to do. And heck, we on nights don't even NEED techs most of the time....sheesh.

    A little face-time on their units might help some managers get a reality check on what's REALLY going on.
    LoveToHike and That Guy like this.
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    Sounds depressingly familiar. Having worked all shifts, both staff and management, I know night staff usually get shafted when it comes to being able to defend themselves from the vicious barbs slung by day and evening staff.

    I guess if you take your lunch and are happy to be mostly free of managers and disciplines like Social work, OT, PT, etc., Night shift is ok. you usually get a shift differential and if you don't mind missing out on lots of social events and if it's ok for you to not be able to meet with visiting insurance folk, for instance, Night shift is pretty mellow.

    To survive it, you have simply got to cut the phone off, arrange for babysitters so you get sufficient sleep, and simply refuse to go to meetings scheduled at the most ridiculous times.
    LoveToHike likes this.
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    Friendly: Our nurse educators come to the unit and stay until 11pm to get night shifters signed off on inservices.

    Unfriendly: I've worked there for 2 years, never ONCE met the unit director - not even for hiring. she let the assistant manager meet with me to interview.

    Friendly: They staff an assistant manager for 7p-7a a few nights a week so we can get our evaluations done, questions answered, etc...

    Unfriendly: Absolutely no cafeteria or food available for night shifters.

    Friendly: We have a separate scheduler for the night shift people who gets to know everyone, their skill set and individual needs.

    Friendly: All "mandatory" meetings are at 730am & 730pm (they do 2 meetings) so everyone gets a chance to go to it coming off shift.
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    Quote from RNsRWe
    Thankfully I don't work night shift anymore. BUT I know this hasn't changed for my former co-workers.....

    2: Something "unfriendly": the idea that night shift has the time (and therefore should) clean the breakroom, wash down the table, clean the coffee pot, etc etc prior to dayshift's arrival. I used to FUME over this, as MY staff never got NEAR the breakroom! No, the piles of used paper plates, crumby napkins, smears of icing on the table they would find in the morning was from either day or evening shift.....why should nights have to clean it up?? Had a very poor unit manager then, who honestly felt that there was "plenty of time" on nights, so "why can't they do it" rather than recognizing that there actually was NOT plenty of time (we were the most short-staffed shift of them all) and even if we DID have downtime....why did she think it was reasonable that we spend it making the breakroom a pretty place for the dayshift to arrive to?

    I don't work in the nightshift setting anymore; I'm in ambulatory (M-F days only). But I still feel like a 'nightshifter' at heart
    This this this this. When I worked in the hospital, if we weren't at full census our manager expected us to be maids. We could have only had 4 nurses on overnight, been at full census and had 2 codes and if there was ANYTHING on the back table when she came in, you could guarantee things would be thrown (literally) and a fit would be had. The bulk of the mess was not created by the night shift but since management left at 3pm, they had no idea what happened on eves.

    This thread is actually quite enlightening. I cannot think of any "night shift friendly" attributes of my former employer. No one on nights ever wanted to go to days though... nurses who'd been on the floor for 25+ years were permanent night staff and there was a waiting list to go to nights. The best place to hide from management.
    JZ_RN and wooh like this.
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    our manager shows up every morning at 6am -- if you're working night shift and you need to talk to her, you know when she'll be there. she also makes a point to walk through the unit and offer kudos to anyone who deserves them. she makes a point to know who aced a class or passed acls or got a letter from a family, and when she comes in at 6am, she comes to tell us in person. when our manager orders food for an occasion, she orders some for the day shift and an equal amount delivered on the night shift. whoo hoo !! unfortunately, our manager isn't always in charge of the ordering of treats for the nurses.

    sometimes when families bring food, some will get set aside for night shift; sometimes not. hospital management made a really big deal about meals being provided for both shifts during nurse's week. they delivered sandwiches at 6 pm, the day shift ate them all and when we came in there was nothing but crumbs. it would have been so much nicer had they brought out a tray of sandwiches at 10 pm for us.

    i'll echo the complaints about the cafeteria. ours closes at 7pm. we have "food court" offerings like subway and mcdonald's until midnight, but you get sick of subway and mcdonalds real quick. the salad shop and the deli sandwich counter both close in early afternoon. breakfast starts about 6:30 am -- not very night shift friendly. meetings are 8am -- too long to stay when you're finished at 7 am, and very difficult to get up and come in for an 8am meeting on your day off. i'd love evening meetings. my previous job held all meetings at 1500-1900. it was an equally inconvenient time for both shifts, but both shifts were equally inconvenienced.
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    Night shift friendly thing my unit has done..

    It used to be that nights was solely responsible for the weekly or semi-weekly stuff..wound measurements and photography & central line dressing changs & port re-accessing. After literally years of crusading, it's now split up...we alternate off. Days stills complains about it. And only a couple of them will actually change outdated IV sites, but that's a couple more than it was a year ago, so at least some of them are becoming aware of it.

    As far as the management thing goes, I prefer to not have them over my shoulder, but it is a sad reflection on management style when your director is at a meeting and a "new" nurse who has been there for two years has no idea who she is.
    JZ_RN likes this.
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    Bumping this thread - looking for more input. Help as sista' out, will you??
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    1)What characterizes a 'night shift friendly' employer? Someone who schedules more than 1 day off inbetween working a few days in a row, someone who has two different times for meetings one for day shift and night shift
    2)What characterizes a 'night shift UNfriendly' employer? Someone who decides to call in the middle of the day wanting to know if you could work a few days in the future (Just send me a text I am sleeping), scheduling only one day off after working 5 nights in a row. someone who just throws tasks on night shift because day shift is too busy (or so they say...)
    3) What would you do to make night shift better if you could? allow for less "tasks" during night shift and transfer those to a non clinical employee so nurses can go and do NURSING care, Change the schedule to allow for three days off in a row, text the employee or call them during their shift so they can sleep during the day
    4) What specific things does your employer do that is either night shift friendly or night shift UNfriendly? All those that I stated above, only have 1 day off to recoop all the days you put in, they call during my sleep time, schedule non clinical tasks to be completed on nights just because the day shift doesnt want to do them.
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    Unfriendly:
    Scheduling meetings in the middle of the day.
    Calling you in the middle of the day.
    Scheduling all treatments, foley changes, blood draws, labs, iv changes in the middle of the night because, "we have less to do", even though we have just as much work as dayshift with less staff. People just "love" to be woken up at 3am to have their catheter changed too.
    Not being able to call in sick because, so and so can't handle nights and won't come in even though they are on call or they person on call is "asleep" and didn't hear their pager etc.
    Having to find your own relief when dayshift calls in even though you have a million things to do.
    Always being short staffed or having your staff pulled to another unit.
    Locking the breakroom at night, no access to food and you can't leave your unit for break anyways because there is no one to Cover for you.
    Dayshift gets a free or discounted meal in the cafeteria but, we get nothing.
    Ratio of 1 nurse/ 2 cnas to 55-60 patients on nights and 3 nurses/4-5 cnas on days (nursing home)
    Only allowing staff to pick up their paychecks from like 12p-4p etc.
    I agree with a poster above about never getting our rewards for nurses day, holidays, etc by the time we get to work there will be some deflated balloons, chip crumbs in the bottom of a bowl, a dried up piece of cheese on a tray, a squished piece of cake with the icing scraped off, while the dayshift walk out with plates made up for their husbands, kids or 2nds for themselves.
    Not offering any kind of differential.

    Friendly: I once worked for a company that would schedule night shift meetings for 10-11pm and give us our checks a day early and that honestly is the only thing i can think of.
  10. 0
    Friendly at my hospital!

    Meetings are 3 times a day to accommodate all shifts.
    We have an assistant manager whose hours are 5p to 1a to support a seamless transition to night shift (our hours are 11p to 7a)
    24 hour coffee shop
    Unit manager has stated we can call her ANYTIME if need be (of course I would leave that as a last resort)
    Managers help night-shifters come up with projects they can do at night (beyond regular duties) for points toward clinical ladder
    Self scheduling so we can work together to come up with our own preferred schedule
    Shift differential


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