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Caught Sleeping on Night Shift

Nurse Beth   (1,002 Views 12 Comments)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

15 Followers; 89 Articles; 228,415 Visitors; 1,835 Posts

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Dear Nurse Beth,

I was caught sleeping on a HH night shift. Will I lose my license?

Dear Caught Sleeping,

I certainly hope not if this was an isolated event, and I don't think so. The only way there might be a sanction is if the employer reported you to the Board of Nursing in your state.

Best wishes, 

Nurse Beth

Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
 

 

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not.done.yet has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

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You probably won't lose your license. You probably will lose your job.

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Was it accidental or on purpose?  You might lose work but I don't think you will lose your license.  They might be more forgiving if you accidentally nodded off at the desk, they wouldn't be as forgiving if you were caught sleeping in a bed.  Does HH stand for home health?

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5 hours ago, Forest2 said:

Was it accidental or on purpose?  You might lose work but I don't think you will lose your license.  They might be more forgiving if you accidentally nodded off at the desk, they wouldn't be as forgiving if you were caught sleeping in a bed.  Does HH stand for home health?

Most likely accidental. I have seen people nod off more times then I can count. Many people have a hard time staying awake at a time that the body is naturally programmed to be up.

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Reminds me of this one time I forgot to drink my Jolt Cola back in 1996 on NOC shift as a bed side sitter and my patient pulled our her IV at 3:17 in the morning. Judy , the RN , wasn't to happy with me. 😵

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Faster has 45 years experience.

1,145 Visitors; 14 Posts

I used to work in a large hospital in Boston. I was the manager for the front desk on patient care units, overseeing non-clinical staff.

I would often get reports from nurses about my overnight person falling asleep at the desk. One nurse even took a picture of one of my staff sleeping and passed it around to other nurses, making fun of this person.On a few occasions I would come in during the overnight shift to check on things and would frequently find at least one nurse asleep at her desk, using a folded up cotton blanket as a pillow. Obviously a planned “nap.”

i also found out that one of the nurses most vocal about my desk person falling asleep, would at times get into a bed in an empty patient room, under the covers, and have a good sleep!

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You and your hospital leadership should review the evidence on providing rest to reduce errors and harm.  Its abundantly clear that nurses on both shifts need at least a 15 minute rest period to do as they please, ideally close eyes and not be disturbed.  

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12 hours ago, Faster said:

I used to work in a large hospital in Boston. I was the manager for the front desk on patient care units, overseeing non-clinical staff.

I would often get reports from nurses about my overnight person falling asleep at the desk. One nurse even took a picture of one of my staff sleeping and passed it around to other nurses, making fun of this person.On a few occasions I would come in during the overnight shift to check on things and would frequently find at least one nurse asleep at her desk, using a folded up cotton blanket as a pillow. Obviously a planned “nap.”

i also found out that one of the nurses most vocal about my desk person falling asleep, would at times get into a bed in an empty patient room, under the covers, and have a good sleep!

Did you fire her?

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Faster has 45 years experience.

1,145 Visitors; 14 Posts

I didn’t have authority to fire nurses. I managed the non-clinical clerical staff.

My point was that I was struck by the double standard of the nurses.

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kbrn2002 has 25 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Geriatrics.

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When I worked nights for several years it seems we always had one or two staff that napped on their break.  Some people were really offended by this for some reason. I never saw a problem with it, if a power nap on a break helps you get through the shift go ahead and do it.  But that being said it sounds like this is a little different situation. If you were "caught" sleeping at a time you were expected to be working and can't legitimately claim you were on a break you can probably expect to lose your job. I wouldn't be too concerned about losing your license however. It would take a special set of circumstances ending with a negative outcome to lose a license over napping on the job.

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On 7/7/2019 at 3:55 AM, Faster said:

I didn’t have authority to fire nurses. I managed the non-clinical clerical staff.

My point was that I was struck by the double standard of the nurses.

Did you report it to the nurse's boss?

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On 7/6/2019 at 10:44 AM, Faster said:

I used to work in a large hospital in Boston. I was the manager for the front desk on patient care units, overseeing non-clinical staff.

I would often get reports from nurses about my overnight person falling asleep at the desk. One nurse even took a picture of one of my staff sleeping and passed it around to other nurses, making fun of this person.On a few occasions I would come in during the overnight shift to check on things and would frequently find at least one nurse asleep at her desk, using a folded up cotton blanket as a pillow. Obviously a planned “nap.”

i also found out that one of the nurses most vocal about my desk person falling asleep, would at times get into a bed in an empty patient room, under the covers, and have a good sleep!

A picture is worth a thousand words.  I say what is fair is fair.  Love to see a photo of a nurse asleep in bed when she is supposed to be working.  LOL.  I don't condone anyone sleeping on work time.  Nurse or no nurse.

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