Quote from cinthern
hi all, i am a new grad in l&d and loving it, except my 6 month orientation on days is coming to an end and i am dreading going to nights. anyone have any tips, especially the best way to work out my schedule which requires me to work 3 days a week, 12.5 hours a shift (7pm-7:30am) and raise a family? is it best to do all 3 days in a row and then have 4 days off, please, i am scared! i have never stayed up an entire night in my life, and i am going to be 40 in a couple of months.
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nights are a fact of life in hospital nursing. if you're almost 40, have kids and still have managed to avoid staying up all night, you're very lucky! i don't even have my own child, but have managed to stay up all night when the step-daughter was sick or hurt! (starting with the night before our wedding!)
you didn't say whether you're doing straight nights or not. if you are rotating, try to do all your required night shifts at the same time, rather than 2 weeks of days, 2 weeks of nights, 2 weeks of days, etc. i work three weeks of nights/ 3 weeks of days. it helps to stay on a night shift schedule as much as possible on your days off, so it helps to work my weeks of nights together.
your sleep is sacred.
treat it that way. don't let anyone convince you that "since you're home all day" you should be available to do anything other than sleep during your sleep time! buy black-out curtains, tape tin foil to your windows, wear a sleep mask -- whatever works. use ear plugs, a fan or a white noise machine. turn off your phone, turn down the volume on the answering machine. there are just too many people who should know better who will call just to chat at 1 pm, no matter how many times you beg them not to. i've been known to return the favor by calling at 1 am, and that does solve the problem -- usually -- but does create hard feelings. if there's a problem at school, have the school call your husband or the child's father or grandparent or someone else you've chosen ahead of time. if the problem is dire, they can come to your house and wake you up. (anyone who wakes you up had best be advised that they only do so if your child has been hit by a bus, your parent has suffered a stroke, your hospital has been demolished by terrorists or your house is on fire.) there are whole threads about this -- reading them will advise, entertain and reassure you.
. i'm not talking about healthy diets or low cholesterol here -- i'm advocating taking a meal to work with you, and taking a meal break to eat your meal. for heaven's sake, don't snack continuously. you'll gain weight, feel sluggish and become a patient. i eat breakfast at 5 pm, when i get up, dinner at 1 am or thereabouts and a light "supper" when i get home from work. whatever works for you. i know people who eat dinner with the family before they go to work, and if that works for you, great! but do plan to take a meal break at work.
welcome to the night shift
. nights are so popular in my unit that there's a waiting list for permanent nights! there are fewer doctors, no management, fewer families and visitors, and fewer interruptions by "road trips", pt, students, etc. it's an excellent time to learn and to grow in your role as a nurse.