Is night shift easier?..... - page 3

by RN1263 13,329 Views | 28 Comments

I'm an rn student (6 mos. to go) i can't see myself dealing w/ the total chaos of the day shift floor for very long after graduation? is night shift more tolerable ....pace/choas wise? or is it just as crazy! during my... Read More


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    This is a very interesting question, and like some of you have mentioned, i suppose it depends on which unit you work in.

    I am from Sweden and still a student (about to graduate in a couple of months!). From reading posts at this great forum, I've discovered two things that I've found peculiar, based on my own experiences:

    1) New grads want to begin their career at ICU

    2) Alot of you guys from the US seem to be afraid of working days since they are so chaotic, and want to work nights because "it's easier".

    I find them peculiar because in my country, ICU is not considered something you start out with as a new grad, you need work experience because it's highly advanced and demanding. As for the nights, which this thread really is about, I wonder, what is your patient/nurse ratio day time compared to nights? On the surgical floor i've done some clinical rotation at, there are 21 patients. 3 nurses and 3 LPN's during the day and ONE nurse and one LPN during the night. That means you're the single nurse taking care of 21 patients, with the aide of a LPN. They require one year's working experience working days before you are considered experienced enough to handle the responsibility of the night shift.

    So here, I don't think it would be easier.. calmer sometimes, but not easier.
    cynforgiven likes this.
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    Dijmart, "Running around like chickens w/their heads cut off" - is a great description of the day shift... I'm like you, the pace/chaos is pretty overwhelming. I worked a few night shifts and was totally amazed at the difference - like another poster said "you have time to think", you can spend more time with your patients, etc.

    We have mini-nurses stations on each hall - at night, each nurse has their own little spot to keep everything, work on paperwork, charts, etc. You don't have to hunt around for anything, it's all right there. On Days, forget it - MD's, all sorts of therapists, social workers, clinicians, etc. cram into our little tiny spot - so I usually end up standing next to a windowsill to do my charting. I'm the type that needs to spread out my paperwork and really think about what I'm doing - makes it very hard to stay organized with a crowd milling around all day.. I know they have to be there, just wish there was a separate corner for us - since this is our "work space"...

    I've considered asking for nights. With all the positive comments about the shift, hope I can find an opening on my floor, sounds much less stressful and chaotic....
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    I work on a 36 bed med/surg unit in a teaching hospital. On nights we like to have 5 rns which would give us 7 pts and one rn would have 8pts. Lately we have had 4 rns which gives us 9 pts each. I like nights cause you are able to find a place to chart, a computer to log into and you can actually walk in the hall and get things done without running into people. You can assess your pt without jumping over family and asking them to leave.

    Nights has its own set of challenges. Sometimes the resident on call is a very heavy sleeper and you can't wake him up when paging him and it is very important. Rarely do all of your pt sleep and if they do they end up being Q4 vitals and you have to wake them up and **** them off. We do have a secretary most nights, weekends we do not. There are fewer aides so you are helping with ADLs more sometimes if there are not enough aides you have some pts without one. Overall night shift is more cohesive than day. There is more of a comraderie between staff and we help eachother out a lot more than day staff does.
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    There is pros and cons to both days and nights. Days have to deal more with family, Drs, Baths, meals, and getting pts ready for procedures but also usually have more help such as more nurses, NAs, and management. Night shift appears simpler and less work then days but you generally have less nurses and NAs so you need to do more total care. The only phrase that has ever been the bur under my saddle is when day shift say that the pts sleep at night. I always wonder if these people need to work a few nights to gain reallity. I prefer nights more because even though acuity changes often, the routine is basicly the same and I can stay more organized most of the time.
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    Having worked both, nights are definately not choatic like days, but I'd take days anytime. When I worked nights (12 yrs) it was difficult for me because of my internal clock. I had trouble staying awake after 0300 and had trouble sleeping the next day. I never worked two in a row and always felt like I had jet lag. I had to work nights to keep my kids out of daycare, which of course was my choice. Days can be hell, I come home so tired I can't eat dinner (I'm 51 y/o) but at least I can get a good nights sleep to recoup. I'm starting a HH job on Monday. I'm so excited!
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    I have worked as a nurse for years and have done both night shift and day shift. I know that the first question to ask yourself can my body handle the night shift hours some just can't after that is decided than you can proceed. I have noticed that when I enter a new employment place twice now I have found the night shift to be more receptive the urgency to meet the daily demands of doctors, other departments, family members and nursing demands can be overwhelming when you are trying to get your feet on the ground like that of a day nurse. The night nurses seem to have that extra minute to show or explain and answer questions more than a quick yes or no. THey work great as teammembers I think it is because they know what they see is what they get so they learn what the teammembers weaknesses and strengths are and come up with something that works. good luck with your decision.
    cynforgiven likes this.
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    You definatly will feel that "jet lag" feeling! I would still take nights over days!! Less people to contribute to any chaos that might occur! It is generally quieter, but not always!! The biggest hurdle will most likely be your sleep pattern and staying awake at work during "non-busy" times!! Once you get that down, you might just LOVE nights!!
  8. 0
    I have been working nights for 2 years. It has been less chaotic and night shifters (where I work) really get along and are helpful to eachother. Day & night shift are like 2 different worlds. As far as patients being less to handle during night, I disagree. Patients have trouble sleeping, some patients have to go to bathroom more often at night. You are still busy!! On my unit there is some "down" time, but that happens on day shift as well. You just have to figure out which shift works better for your life, and then make the best of it.:spin:
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    Wow, it really matters what unit you're in, and where you work! Dayshift gets to have lunch undisturbed; they even get breaks in (random, but they do). Night shift still has a half hour deducted for lunch, but we NEVER EVER EVER get to take that, let alone the two breaktimes! NEVER. In fact, we usually run late out the door in the morning as well. There IS no downtime; if that happens, it's for like five minutes, and then several bells go off at once

    Day shift stays busy with five or six patients, TOPS. Night shift is perennially short-staffed, and 9 patients per night is the norm..sometimes more. Insane.

    Anyone who thinks the nights are quiet because the patients sleep hasn't worked a busy M/S floor at night. They don't sleep. They are in pain. They all have bathroom issues. They all have skin/turning issues. There's all kinds of drains and dressings and lab draws and assessments, a zillion things going at the same time, and you have new admits from the ER as well. The only thing we don't have that days does is the routine MD visits and visitors past 10pm. But we also have to reconcile all the med sheets from the prior day and check for the next day, reconcile MD orders, which takes ALOT of time.

    So, in short: if you like working a night schedule or it works best for your life in general, do it. But if you're doing it to avoid the heavier load, LOL...make sure you know that's a fact on the unit you plan to work in!


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