Working nights....tips anyone?

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    Hi everyone. I just got a full time nights PCT position in a large hospital's ortho unit. I start in about three weeks. I was wondering if anybody had any tips for me as I have never worked nights.
  2. 17 Comments so far...

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    Make a schedule at home for sleep. If u have kids like I do. I take my oldest to her bus stop, play with my youngest til noon cause my husband is gone to work. Take a nap with her for a few hours til maybe 230p. Pick my oldest up from her stop. And then by 430 or 5 hubs is home and I'm off to work. I only work 7p to 7a on the weekends. Sat and Sunday. I take my pre reqs online so I can do homework and study at work when I can.
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    Sleep!! I work nights at a Childrens hospital and it took a few weeks for my body to transition. Bring healthy food to snack on during the night, as well as gum and flavored water. Make friends with your coworkers, they make the time go by .
    vintagemother likes this.
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    Thank you! Good advice. I hear that night shift crews are very close. I think getting to know your coworkers and forming a bond makes for such a more pleasant work environment.
    I am really hoping that that first 12 hour shift will be ok with the help of caffeine and just plain adrenalin due to the newness of everything.
    Do you think I should try to stay up as late as I can the night before and then try to sleep some in the daytime before I go at 7? I have never been a very good day sleeper, but I haven't really ever had to be. My husband and kids will all be off to school every morning before I even get home so I'm thinking I can just crawl into bed and catch up then.
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    I cannot sing the praises of a sleep mask and/or blackout shades enough. Personally, I go for the sleep mask, a sound machine that plays relaxing sounds (nothing fancy, just a little cheap-o one that I got from WalMart for less than $20), and the restructuring of caffeine intake. My sister, who also works overnight, is an advocate of blackout shades/curtains and a cool room. Basically, find what works for you and makes you comfortable. Stay away from daytime TV, it will keep you up without you even realizing how much time is being sucked away and then you'll be tired at work. I also had to rethink when I drink caffeine for the first few weeks until I got used to the schedule. It's not impossible, but it does take some getting used to. Congratulations on the job! I hope you enjoy it.
    ShaynaSmart likes this.
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    Some people will switch around their sleep schedule and sleep during the day even on nights off, but I don't see how anyone with a family could do that. Personally, I only sleep during the day if I worked the night before, and nights off I sleep at night like normal. I find my three 12s a week pretty manageable. I absolutely hate working three in a row, and admit that I border on a crappy CNA my third night if I do. I am float pool and can tell my employer what days I want to work, so I usually work Wed, Fri, Sat. Sometimes I will move those around for birthdays, holidays, etc, but I try to always keep it to 2, at least one night off, then 1.
    ShaynaSmart likes this.
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    Quote from gracecase
    Do you think I should try to stay up as late as I can the night before and then try to sleep some in the daytime before I go at 7? I have never been a very good day sleeper, but I haven't really ever had to be. My husband and kids will all be off to school every morning before I even get home so I'm thinking I can just crawl into bed and catch up then.
    Crawling into bed afterworkis what I reccomend. It's what I did for the first few months. But then I adjusted and learned to stayed up, run errands, etc. ideally a person could sleep right before going to work, the same way day workers do.

    I am a total morning person. So the only way I could sleep during the day was by going to bed at my sleepiest- which is right after work, or by taking a sleep aid. I still only could sleep 4-5 hours max. I need total silence to sleep during the day.
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    I just started my preceptorship on L&D and its nights. I am wired when I first get home so I walk/ feed the dogs, shower, read. Then about 8:30,9 am I put on my sleep mask and my ipod and sleep usually til about 2. On days where I am not working I just try to stay up til about 1 am and wake up about 9 am. This has worked for me.

    I also bring 2 coffee drinks and when I work I have 1 at 1 am and the other at 4 am. I bring granola bars and cheese sticks from home and snack on those. I also drink a lot of water. Good luck!! This has all worker for me but everyone is different. I don't have kids but I have 2 dogs so I listen up my iPod to block out the doorbell or the dogs barking if they hear something.
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    I've never worked nights as a CNA. However, I used to work swing shift. The guy who was my night relief ALWAYS brought an enormous, literally 5-lb bag of CANDY and he would munch it all night long. Don't do that! It's bad for you!
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    I've worked nights for just over 3 years now. At first, I felt crappy and tired all the time, but now I have adjusted. I found a sleep schedule that works for me (8am to 3pm-ish and sometimes a nap before my shift), and I make sure I get QUALITY sleep! I trick my brain/body into thinking I am sleeping at night by blocking all light from my room, I run my window air conditioner to block out the sound of barking dogs and neighborhood noise, and I occasionally take a sleeping pill if I need to.

    At first I hated nights, but now I love it. I work 11-7, so I get to have afternoons and evenings with my family when I am feeling "fresh" because I have just woken up (it's like my morning). There's usually enough downtime at work to talk and socialize a bit with coworkers, which is nice. I can postpone sleep or wake up early to help out at my kids school, go to an appointment, go shopping, etc. There are some mental challenges to working nights, but also lots of benefits.


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