Feeling Burned!!

  1. Hi everybody,

    Hi! I was wondering if i could get some help. I just graduated from nursing and have started my new job in the NICU about 5 months ago, (and pleased to say i LOVE IT!!!) My schedule calls for me to I switch back and forth between night and day shifts (12 hour shifts) non stop and it's really starting to take a toll on my system, (getting sick often). I am always exhausted and can't even think about going out on my days off.
    Aside from sleeping every free second i have, is there anything i can do to make the shiftwork easier? Is it true shiftwork gets easier with time? After 5 months wouldn't i be getting used to it??

    Thanks for your help!!
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   mac23
    [font=Comic Sans MS]Does your unit self-schedule? I hate day-night rotation but when I had to do it we were supposed to do 2 weeks days and then 2 weeks nights but i always scheduled mine so that I'd do 2 weeks days 2 weeks nights then when the new schedule was to come out I'd start it with 2 weeks nights then 2 weeks days so I really had one month on days and one month on nights. I finally am working only nights but maybe you could try that; it made a huge difference for me. Other than that i don't really have any advice. good luck.



    Quote from neonursey
    Hi everybody,

    Hi! I was wondering if i could get some help. I just graduated from nursing and have started my new job in the NICU about 5 months ago, (and pleased to say i LOVE IT!!!) My schedule calls for me to I switch back and forth between night and day shifts (12 hour shifts) non stop and it's really starting to take a toll on my system, (getting sick often). I am always exhausted and can't even think about going out on my days off.
    Aside from sleeping every free second i have, is there anything i can do to make the shiftwork easier? Is it true shiftwork gets easier with time? After 5 months wouldn't i be getting used to it??

    Thanks for your help!!
    Last edit by mac23 on Jul 7, '04
  4. by   KRVRN
    Is there any way you can volunteer to be strictly nights? At least all night shifts would be better than flipflopping.
  5. by   neonursey
    Hey everyone,

    Thanks so far for your help. Unfortunatly we are not self scheduled, we are SUPPOSED to be 2 weeks days then 2 weeks nights, but we are so short staffed, our head nurse is doing what needs to be done. I would volunteer nights, but apparently i need more seniority! (you'd think that would be more for days, huh?) In the mean time, i try to take all the night shifts i can and switch from my days so at least it's less flipping.
    Thanks so much for all your help!
    Wish me luck...haha!

  6. by   neonursey
    Does it get easier with time? the Shiftwork??

    Thanks!
  7. by   nekhismom
    It kills me to switch back and forth. I get very sick myself. I watched an ABC special about sleep, and it said that flipping back and forth is bad for your health, and can actually shorten your life span. I had NO idea it was that bad for me, but I did know that I feel like junk when I have to do it.

    Maybe you can talk to the manager of your unit and let her know how you are feeling?? Maybe you can get on a set schedule of all days, all nights, or maybe you can volunteer for all weekend nights, or something?? Let her know it is making you physically sick.

    For me, I don't think it gets easier. But that;s just me. If my entire life could rotate on a 7p-7a schedule, I'd be fine. It's just trying to take care of things in the off hours that is nearly impossible!
  8. by   neonursey
    Quote from nekhismom
    It kills me to switch back and forth. I get very sick myself. I watched an ABC special about sleep, and it said that flipping back and forth is bad for your health, and can actually shorten your life span. I had NO idea it was that bad for me, but I did know that I feel like junk when I have to do it.

    Maybe you can talk to the manager of your unit and let her know how you are feeling?? Maybe you can get on a set schedule of all days, all nights, or maybe you can volunteer for all weekend nights, or something?? Let her know it is making you physically sick.

    For me, I don't think it gets easier. But that;s just me. If my entire life could rotate on a 7p-7a schedule, I'd be fine. It's just trying to take care of things in the off hours that is nearly impossible!
    Thanks so much for your advice. I think I'll speak to my unit manager tomorrow at work, i'm sure we can figure something else out, cause it's ridiculous how much my immune system has taken a beating, and i really need to be in shape for my little ones at work. It makes me feel better to know I'm not the only one feeling this way.

    Another Question i have is, how do i stop taking my work home with me? (all the worrying about my babies) I have tried, but I'm having a hard time, i'm sure that's not helping with the way i'm feeling either!!
    Thanks for the help, Take CARE!
  9. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    I remember reading a study about ten years ago which showed that having nurses rotate shifts causes leads to more med srrors, pts getting more UTIs, and bed sores, and has even been linked to longer hospital stays for pts.

    Another study concluded that rotating workers' shifts at a nuclear power plant was shown to be a contributing factor in several nuclear accidents.

    I don't understand why managers think rotating shifts is a good idea.
  10. by   Jolie
    I feel for you! I once worked in (an awful) NICU where we were required to rotate 12 hour days to nights every 2 weeks. I never got adjusted to either shift, and felt like I didn't know whether I was coming or going. To make matters worse, the unit had no windows, and there were times when I would go for 3-4 days without seeing the sun.
    It turned me into a sleep-deprived, cranky witch, not to mention created a situation where I believe I was more likely to make errors in patient care, driving, etc. (One of my co-workers was seriously injured in a car accident when she fell asleep at the wheel driving home after a 16 hour shift.)

    Our unit was also horribly understaffed, and I knew that my manager couldn't afford to lose me. So I used that to my advantage. I went to her and told her that if I wasn't immediately placed on a straight shift (which I had been promised when I was hired), I would quit without notice. Now, I had the luxury of doing that, as we could have easily lived on hubby's salary while I job hunted, if necessary.

    I would talk to your manager and try to negotiate a straight shift. If that isn't possible, start job hunting. No unit is worth your health.
  11. by   LouisianaNurse2006
    Quote from neonursey
    Does it get easier with time? the Shiftwork??

    Thanks!
    My husband has been working the 12hr day/night shift at a refinery for about 17 years, and although he knows to expect the flip flopping, his body has never gotten used to it. When he comes off nights he is burnt.
    How can you get "used" to something that constantly changes. We are meant to be awake during the day, sleep at night. Shift work is relatively new for humans, after hundreds of thousands of years of life our circadian rhythms are set for that.
    Researchers should look into this topic more and maybe come up with better solutions. It does affect your health, energy level, attention span, and just about everything else mentally and physically.
    So my answer is NO, you can not get used to this type of shiftwork, but it may get easier for you, but not for everyone. It is probably an individual thing.
    That is one part of nursing I am not looking forward to.
    Good Luck,
  12. by   neonursey
    thanks for your help everybody. I am going to speak to my immediate supervisor, hopefully there is something we can do.

    I appreciate all your help!

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