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Burning Bridges?

Stress 101   (704 Views | 5 Replies)

speedynurse is a RN, EMT-P and specializes in ER.

345 Profile Views; 91 Posts

I have worked every shift in the ED: 7p - 7a, 3p - 3a, 11a - 11p, 9a - 9p, and 7a - 7p. I am generally a very reliable employee and had a fantastic team at my old ED. I stayed in my last job for 6 years - started as a a tech on nights and then moved into the new graduate nurse role, then took on more responsibilities including triage, preceptor, and charge (all on day shift). Fast forward, I changed to a different ED because I felt like my old ED was having a lot of patient safety issues and I wanted to provide better patient care.

I have been at my new job for three months on night shift and am having a difficult time. I get generally 2-3 hours of sleep and then am exhausted all night. I am constantly missing IV lines (which was actually one of my best skills prior to the transfer), forgetting things, and having difficulty remembering processes. My reactions are incredibly slow, I am often asking the same questions three or four times, my short-term memory is gone, and I forget what I am saying in the middle of a conversation. My former coworkers often referred to me as a "really good critical care nurse" and now I just generally feel stupid. I almost feel unsafe for patient care, but am too embarrassed to actually admit that. I also was generally a very level headed person and now get overwhelmed very easily or become very irritable and testy. I do have some health issues that have become worse with the constant sleep debt, so that may be part of it.

Is this massively burning bridges to try to transfer back to my old job on day shifts? I feel downright embarrassed that I cannot seem to adjust to nights, but it is actually impacting my job and even my interactions with my coworkers. However, I did nights before for quite a few years.....but for some reason, it has become so much harder this time. I have always had the mentality that I can do pretty much anything for a short time, but I don't know if I believe that anymore! I don't even know how to tell an employer that I want to transfer, solely because I can't adjust to nights.

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RNNPICU has 13 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in PICU.

1,137 Posts; 12,677 Profile Views

It does sound like this is a conversation that needs to happen. It is okay that you are not able to do nights, not everyone can and it isn't natural for our bodies to do it.

Don't feel embarrased, you should feel like you can function at your job, not being able to do night shift is not a bad thing.

See what they can do for you at your current job before going back to your old job.

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amoLucia specializes in LTC.

1 Follower; 5,614 Posts; 47,201 Profile Views

I'll agree that NOC shifts may be difficult to many.

But I ask you - might something else be going on re your gen'l health status.?

Your second paragraph describes S&S that might be of something medical?

In these times, it might be diff to get in to 'see' your PMP, but you might need to touch base.

Of course, there is also the old time reminders to pay attn to your diet, exercise, sleep patterns, hydration, etc, etc, etc.

A new transition to NOCs is tough in and of itself. And then all the concerns staff have re C19 is def a burden also.

Please take care of yourself. Best wishes.

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4 Followers; 37,674 Posts; 102,922 Profile Views

Before you take any action, try getting more sleep. That might be enough to tilt things in your favor at least until you line up something better. I try to sleep from 2.5 to four hours right after work then I add from three to four hours just before getting ready for work. I can’t imagine trying to get by with only two to three hours. If you can’t arrange your life to get even the low end of hours sleeping each day, then you really do need to make the change as soon as possible.

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amoLucia specializes in LTC.

1 Follower; 5,614 Posts; 47,201 Profile Views

caliotter - that approach was kind of the tack that I used. I needed adequate sleep, but I could split it early & late like you. I best liked to sleep right after I got home. That was when I was MOST fatigued and wiped-out, and I could easily lapse into oblivion. I could flex it though.

speedynurse - you acknowledged that odd-sleep hours were easier for you a time back. Yes, it just might be that your body re-adjusted itself to 'normal people hours' (as I call it). Those diurnal and circadian rhythms and hormonal levels are very real. And I'm guessing that you tried all the normal sleep-enhancing suggestions that have been recommended in multiple places.

But if you still can't adjust, then do what you have to make work and lifestyle work for you. It's NOT any negative failure for you to seek out your old work position. You've got legitimate concerns.

Again, take care of yourself and good luck.

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81 Posts; 2,622 Profile Views

I'm in a similar situation, recently changed ED's (1 month ago) I was working for a top hospital (all the resources) and had to move due to financial reasons. Got this new job through a personal connection with the ED director. She's so great, but I'm having such a hard time with night shift and don't even feel like I want to be bedside any longer due to feeling like I've back peddled in the ED. There's no recent technology or evidence based practice and the nurses don't like change. I've literally been looking for jobs everyday since orientation but haven't had the heart to actually go through with it. She told me I shouldn't be on nights longer than a year due to the high turnover but I don't even feel like I want this job at all! I just don't know what to do. Suck it up for a year I guess?

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