How to survive 16h shifts... - page 2

Hey all of you super human nurses... Any tricks on how to get by those long 16h shifts? I'm a new graduate working on a cardio floor in a big teaching hospital and I've got some nasty 16h shifts... Read More

  1. by   OCNRN63
    Twenty hour shifts are not just crazy, they are flat out dangerous for you and more importantly for your patients. Would you want to be in an airplane with a pilot who was flying a 20 hour shift? Working like that is the same as working impaired.
  2. by   chrisrn24
    I just don't answer the phone when they call. If anyone asks just say "I was busy."
  3. by   mindlor
    First off, if I were a law maker I would write legislation that capped a nurses day at 12 hours. Beyond that, it is just flat out dangerous. Working those kind of hours you will burn yourself out. Take care of yourself....please.....
  4. by   SalineFlush
    That sounds like hell. Nurses at my hospital are never scheduled for 16 hr. shifts, certainly not on the floor. 12 hours is cruel enough---16 hours is torture. Nurses only work 16 hour shifts in extenuating staffing circumstances when there is no one to be found to relieve them, and even then approval for the extra four hours must by policy be obtained from the Service Director.
  5. by   rnpatrick
    You should call the state board of nursing in your state and ask them what they think of this. Or your state nurses association. You and your patients are being put at risk. It is your responsibility to question this practice. Look up risk rates for working such shifts. Get some research in hand and make a copy of your schedule and talk to risk management. If your hospital has a director of patient safety, nursing excelllence or research department get a confidential consultation.
  6. by   DoeRN
    So you are prescheduling yourself for these shifts? That is a good way to burn out

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  7. by   billyboblewis
    We are forced to work 12 hour shifts due to the non profit religious organization cutting down the number of nurses way below need. In additon we were put on salary and if you work less than 40 hours in a week of a 2 week pay period we get docked despite the fact that we worked 48 hours are more in the opposite week. For some bizarre reason this organization which uses the name of a religion in its name feels this is proper and that we should be donating our time to them I have never found out the salaries of the board members or ceo, etc but I dont think it is low.
  8. by   judybsn
    I know it feels like THEY are trying to kill you, but you absolutely have to learn to say NO without guilt. You are the only one who knows how much you can take emotionally and physically and if YOU don't take care of YOU, you will be of no use to anyone!!! Staffing will pressure you to take shifts until you are near dead (and beyond) but you really call the shots on how much overtime you are willing to pick up. Staffing's desperation is really not your problem. Sounds heartless but it is the only way to survive long term. At first it was near impossible for me to say no (the guilt was overwhelming), but eventually it was do or die and I learned to take care of me and it has paid off big time.
    Quote from Laboratorian
    Oh, one more thing.
    I keep hearing about how nurses don't even have time to pee.
    You HAVE to pee. You won't be able to concentrate with a full bladder.
    You must make time to pee.
    I know. We are told to keep hydrated but yet we do not have to pee...LOL....well, my bladder is weak, so if I do not go, I will do it on I must, I must, go the loo.
  10. by   kkschall64
    I work 16 hour shifts at least once a week, but it's by choice. I make sure that I get plenty of sleep the night before. I work in a nursing home so it is a little easier for me to get off the floor. Usually around the 12 hour mark, I go to the chapel in our facility and just close my eyes for 20-30 minutes. I don't go to sleep, just to relax and deep breathe. After that I usually feel a lot more refreshed and ready for the morning rush!
  11. by   MedChica
    - I must begin the shift with Starbucks.
    - Good supportive socks/stocking are a must.
    - Make sure to eat healthy. You'll start to drag and the vending machines are your worst enemy.
    - A good crew of coworkers. Work can be fun.

    I work 7a to 11p. The second day, everyone is dragging. Doesn't matter how much sleep you get or how long you've been doing it.
    I usually have to mentally prepare myself for my shifts. The day before I'll save up all my sleepiness and hit the hay...early.
  12. by   Laboratorian
    Quote from MedChica
    - Good supportive socks/stocking are a must.
    I second this!
    You can go very far with support hoes and comfy shoes + Dr. Sholls insoles.

    Make sure your toenails are cut! Overgrown toenails can add to the discomfort in shoes.
  13. by   NsugaBuga
    Bring an extra pair of comfortable shoes.
    Sleep at least 5 hrs before work.
    Bring coffee.... I like the Starbucks frapp in the glass bottle.
    Some people say Mountain Dew is really good.... if you drink soda.