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50% days 50% nights- making it work.

Nurses   (362 Views | 8 Replies)

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I just got offered my DREAM job in a cardiac ICU. I am over the moon about it- it’s 50/50 days and nights- I am coming from a pretty great schedule of straight days and to be honest, I really struggle working nights. Does anyone have experience doing a 50/50 schedule? It’s self-scheduling so I have a little say over what shifts I work, but do you think it’s better to do nights one week and days the next, or one night one week and two night the opposite week? Or a month of graves and a month of days? Anyone with experience with this type of schedule- what did you choose to do, and what tips can you give me to help me? 

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JadedCPN has 13 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU.

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19 hours ago, jessicanurse247 said:

I just got offered my DREAM job in a cardiac ICU. I am over the moon about it- it’s 50/50 days and nights- I am coming from a pretty great schedule of straight days and to be honest, I really struggle working nights. Does anyone have experience doing a 50/50 schedule? It’s self-scheduling so I have a little say over what shifts I work, but do you think it’s better to do nights one week and days the next, or one night one week and two night the opposite week? Or a month of graves and a month of days? Anyone with experience with this type of schedule- what did you choose to do, and what tips can you give me to help me? 

I hate to say it but rotating shifts like this is absolutely horrible on your body, especially if you are a day shift person. It is miserable and your body will likely hate you. The best bet you can do, if you truly have self scheduling (many places say they self schedule but they make a lot of changes to meet the unit needs) is to do big blocks at a time - 6 weeks of days, 6 weeks of nights. This way during that period you can at least be "normal" on whatever shift you are on.

My recommendation would be to continue looking for other opportunities. 

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LibraSunCNM has 10 years experience as a MSN and specializes in OB.

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1 hour ago, JadedCPN said:

I hate to say it but rotating shifts like this is absolutely horrible on your body, especially if you are a day shift person. It is miserable and your body will likely hate you. The best bet you can do, if you truly have self scheduling (many places say they self schedule but they make a lot of changes to meet the unit needs) is to do big blocks at a time - 6 weeks of days, 6 weeks of nights. This way during that period you can at least be "normal" on whatever shift you are on.

My recommendation would be to continue looking for other opportunities. 

Agreed.  I have no idea why some hospitals do rotating shifts.  I could never, ever do it.

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JadedCPN has 13 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU.

1 Follower; 830 Posts; 7,919 Profile Views

23 minutes ago, LibraSunCNM said:

Agreed.  I have no idea why some hospitals do rotating shifts.  I could never, ever do it.

I rotated 3pm-11pm and 11pm-7am for my very first job as a new grad who didn't know any better. It was miserable no matter how I split it up. I actually thought it was the night shift aspect that was killing me, not the rotating, but then I switched to straight nights and was a brand new person. I went into that job thinking I hated night shift when in reality it was the rotating I hated; I stuck with straight nights for over 10 years. 

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Shift work is bad enough, but what they are proposing is simply inhumane imo.

My aunt literally developed psychosis. At first she was told she was bi-polar. Her behavior was extremely frightening for the whole family. After a long ordeal with medication/relapses/trauma to her children, it was finally determined that her rotating shifts were the cause. After she quit doing this to herself, she finally found her equilibrium and she reverted back to normal, healthy human behavior. 

This doesn't happen to everyone who rotates shifts, of course, but this illustrates to me that doing something so unnatural to people is NOT OKAY.

This requirement pretty much negates the whole concept of "dream job" to me. YMMV.

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Im surprised at how few people do 50/50 shifts! Its pretty common in my area. In fact, the only jobs I have been able to find that don't do 50/50 are in long term care and skilled nursing facilities, or people who have worked at their job for 10+ years. Im curious for people who reccommend straight nights (that is an option for me), what do you do on your days/nights off? I've got little kids at home and a working husband so its not really feasable for me to stay up really late and sleep in, so I would be switching back to a "normal" schedule on my days off anyways - I figured working 50/50 at least means I'm only working 6 grave shifts a month instead of 12... but maybe nights would be better? how do you guys make that work with families at home?

 

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3 Followers; 5,588 Posts; 27,304 Profile Views

Honestly, I couldn't make it work. I went to days after six months and in doing so, regained my sanity and vitality. 

The research is very clear about rotating shifts and effects on the mind/body. I'm not that surprised to hear that the powers that be ignore this, but still, shake my head.

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Didn't comment upon first reading this 'cause....someone's dream.

But rotating + dream job is a straight up contradiction in terms for many. I dislike that they are probably easily able to fill these ridiculous rotating-everything postings.

But...there's nothing saying you can't give it your best shot especially if it is likely to take your career in the direction you want to go and if you have a good understanding of and tolerance for the type of culture from which stuff like this typically arises.

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myoglobin has 12 years experience as a ASN, BSN, MSN and specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro.

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There have actually been studies that indicate that working night shift actually shortens your life span https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/one-more-reason-sing-night-shift-blues-180953810/ .  I suspect that the effect is even more pronounced when someone is forced to "rotate" shifts.  Patterns of sleep (and exercise and eating, and sex, and socialization) are essential for optimal health and these are compromised when our sleep pattern is messed with.  I suspect that hospitals do this more in environments that are high cost of living areas where the pay (especially for night shift) isn't sufficient to provide sufficient staffing. Thus they basically say "if you want a job you have to rotate" (never mind that many people like myself would prefer to work every night, and every weekend so long as it is a regular shift).  If I were to "restructure" the scenario to something like "we will give you a job but you will be required to smoke tobacco products or breath air with asbestos in order to work here" what would your answer be? Perhaps if you lived in West Virginia in 1950 you would say "ok" that's the price of feeding my family.  However, as an RN there are vast numbers of places (the majority of the country I dare say) where this isn't the case. You can probably move somewhere and get paid more (with lower cost of living) and treated better all in a job that won't be contributing to your early death (at least as much).  You are precious and you should be afforded the opportunity to live life to the fullest potential possible.  Hospitals that will burn the health of nurses and safety of patients on the alter of profit should be exposed as the pariahs to humanity that they are.

Edited by myoglobin

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