Night shift and depression. HELP!

  1. SOS! I just started my dream job as a NICU nurse at CHOP in Jan, and am rotating shifts every 8 weeks. I worked nights before and left the job because it was so hard on my body and mental health. I have Generalized Anxiety disorder and a history of depression, have been hospitalized in the past for severe anxiety/insomnia. I love my job, but working nights seriously takes its toll. I have fallen into a depression again and am an absolute wreck. I can barely function, I ALWAYS feel sick, zero energy, no appetite, and I am completely miserable. I take anti-anxiety meds and trazodone for sleep and I feel like it doesnt even help.
    Does anyone know what a hospital's protocol would be in allowing nurses to work day shift if they have a medical issue that makes working nights not an option? I plan to speak to my physician and find out his opinions. I thought about being honest with my manager and telling her that I really cannot do nights due to my mental health as well as physical deterioration. But I do not want my employer to think i am weak or cannot do my job. I am a good nurse and I work very well under the pressure of the day shift. I am at a complete loss and don't know what to do, I am desperate. If anyone has any advice/experience I am all ears, thank you in advance!

    Lia
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   hgraves64
    Do you have to rotate between night and day shifts every 8 weeks? WOW, that would be so hard!

    Me, I've only ever worked straight nights, and it's the best for me. Have you tried other sleep medications OTC like Benadryl or Unisom? Have you had a checkup or physical with your PCP lately?

    I discovered that I had Vitamin D deficiency from working nights for so many years. Now, I take a 1000 IU Vitamin D replacement daily, and it's helped my energy tremendously.

    Best of luck with talking to your manager. Would you consider maybe working day shifts on a different unit, if none are available on your current floor?
  4. by   Lil Nel
    Well, I guess the answer to your problem lies in how empathetic your NM is, and whether or not there is an opening on day shift.

    The rotating schedule is a difficult one, and one that I couldn't do.

    But first, you need to address your recent bout of depression. Are you receiving professional care for that?

    Another option might be the ADA. Can your GAD be considered a disability that your employer must make an accommodation for? You might want to quietly make inquires.

    Good luck!
  5. by   nervousnurse
    I don't have any experience or knowledge of how they might be able to accommodate you, but just
    wanted to send (( hugs )). Even without depression and anxiety; ROTATING would be SO hard!
    I'm happy for you that this is your DREAM JOB; I worked in NICU
    (night shift ONLY!) for 6 years and LOVED IT.....There is NO WAY I could've switched from days
    to nights every 8 weeks. Is this required of the ENTIRE staff? Have your coworkers mentioned
    how they handle it? I hope things get better for you!
  6. by   gettingbsn2msn
    There is no way this is healthy to work rotating shifts. I worked nights for about 7 years (I also have bouts of anxiety and depression). I did well as long as the shifts were not rotating. I also became dependent on Ambien prescribed by my doctor (not good!). I finally found my place in a day shift position and it has helped my mental health immensely. I believe nights are difficult on all of this. Our circadian rhythms are become so screwed up on nights.

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