Night shift nurses -need advice please! Kinda long...

  1. Hi, I am currently a daytime employee on a med surg floor and am going to apply for a L&D night position. I recently had a baby (still on leave) and also have 9 1/2 year old twins and think this switch would be good for my family life. I have read many posts about night shift so I could consider the pros and cons...and wanted to bounce off my perception of this new change in my life and whether you all experienced night nurses agree, disagree or have additional advice....

    I figure I will:
    -work three nights in a row (stay up until 2am the night before 1st 12 hour shift, sleep until 8am and then take afternoon nap to prepare myself for the first night). I figure the next morning I will be tired and sleep until 3pm, do the second night and then sleep until 3pm and then do the third shift, sleep until 1pm the following day...get up and be tired enough to go to sleep that night to get back on the daytime schedule.

    My idea is to work while my children are sleeping...being there when they are girls are in school...I will be waking up at 3pm when they get out...I will have until 630 with them on my work nights (when I work days I get home at their bedtime) far as the baby I will have 3pm until 6:30 as well but will still be able to see him a little in the AM when I get home and more in afternoon before I go to work....does that sound reasonable? I am the type of person who can sleep during the day....and I figure since I will be on orientation that nights are generally more quiet and will be a better atmosphere in which to learn....I read all of the other tips about bringing healthy snacks...staying busy, reading charts on downtime..etc and would definitely use those as well....

    If you are still with me after this long post, I really appreciate it....and thank you in advance for any advice you may have....
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    About JentheRN2007

    Joined: Jun '07; Posts: 23; Likes: 6
    L&D RN
    Specialty: Med-Surg


  3. by   NursingAgainstdaOdds
    I'm having trouble understanding what you are describing in terms of your plans for sleep. What shift will you be working exactly?

    I worked 7p-7a for about 6 months, and ended-up switching because it just didn't jive with family life, particularly with a really young child. My little guy at the time was 2. My co-workers agreed - nights didn't work for them with young children. This is partially due to the fact that the little ones just don't understand that X - Y is when Mama sleeps. Even more of a problem for myself and my co-workers was guilt, guilt, guilt. It's really tough, particularly if working three 12s in a row, to have to sleep when everybody else is up. For myself, and many co-workers with young children, we just didn't get the sleep we needed because we felt we didn't get to spend that time with our family. You also have to factor in "the day after effect" with working nights - the number of days you have off after a run of shifts is one less than actuality, because you have to spend one of those days sleeping.

    It sounds like you're making a move from med-surg to OB - I'm guessing something you've probably wanted for a while? I know in my area if one wants an OB position you just have to start on nights, pay your dues and work your way to days. If that's your goal, you and your family will have to make some temporary sacrifices in terms of time spent together. In my experience, that is the price you pay for working nights. It's why there is a shift differential on that shift.
  4. by   imafostermom
    I did a very similar schedule for many years. It worked well for my family. I did not stay up late the day before my three shifts began though, I just took a nap the afternoon before my first of 3 shifts.
  5. by   MYBESTSHOT
    I have been working 6p-6a for one year and it sounds like you have a pretty good sleep plan. The only thing that I do differently is the night before my 1st night on, I stay up until about midnight and sleep in until 11:00 AM. I don't know if that is an option since you have a baby, but my husband tries to do something in the morning w/our kids so I can sleep. I used to get up early and try to nap in the afternoon, but I found that I could not sleep that way---I would lay there getting increasingly panicked because I wasnt falling asleep. I love the night shift, I see my kids more and best of all---less doctors!
  6. by   LogCabinMom
    MyBestShot -
    so does this mean you always work 3 12's in a row? When you come home in the morning, do you sleep then?
    I'm curious, because I have a 4yo and 2 school-age girls, and may be working 3 12's in the near future...
  7. by   MYBESTSHOT
    Where I work, we have self-scheduling. We put in our "wish list" for the six week period and the nurse who is in charge of the schedule tries to give us what we want. Those of us who work at night try to get our nights three in a row so our sleep schedule isn't messed up for the week. It doesn't always turn out that way, however, but she doesn't make it one on/one off either. I have an hour commute, so I usually get home between 7:30 and 8:00 (If I don't have a bad night). I take a bath and sleep unitl 2:30. My husband works from home, so he is able to do all of the kid stuff on the days when I sleep. It works out well, and I usually don't have trouble switching back to the land of the living when I'm off.

    Best advice I was given re: night shift: Buy a $10 box fan from walmart. The white noise will block out everything and it keeps you cool! Let me know if I can be of more help.
  8. by   faithoRN
    I personally love nights, glad you've worked out a sleep schedule... That will HELP. One word of advice though... Don't let anyone guilt you about sleeping during the day. My MIL still doesnt get it, but you will need your sleep.

    Also, I totally agree on the window fan, I also use room darkening shades on my windows to make it dark and cover the clocks so I'm not clock watching.
  9. by   tokmom
    This thread is 4 yrs old. I wonder if the ever worked out her sleep schedule, lol