Third Shift Blues

  1. I was supposed to start working third shift last night (so to prepare I stayed up all night the night before and slept all day yesterday) and when I got to work, I was told my preceptor had switched days and would not be in that night. I was then told to go home and come back tonight. :angryfire
    This happens a lot, so I was mad, but used to it. What I am really upset and worried about is that I have become very emotional and depressed in the last few days as I prepare for third shift. I am not sure how to remedy this, and was wondering if others starting third shift are experiencing this. I am not happy and am thinking that night shift is not for me...even though I have not officially worked overnight yet. Any thoughts??
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    About gracie05

    Joined: Nov '05; Posts: 46; Likes: 17

    23 Comments

  3. by   JenRN06
    Gracie, I am a new grad hired for nights on a med-surg floor. When I was hired for nights, I thought it would be a good fit since I'm a new grad and the slower pace would allow me to adjust better. I did my orientation during the days and it was hectic, but I loved the schedule, my co-workers, and the constant activity. I started working nights last week, and the days before my first night shift when I was adjusting my sleep schedule for nights, I was so depressed. I cried all the time. On my first night shift, I was so bored because there weren't patients going off the unit for tests, PT wasn't on the floor getting patients up, doctors weren't coming and going, etc. It was so quiet. I missed my co-workers from days and I hated the weird sleeping patterns. Some people I talked to said I should give the night shift more of a chance and let myself get used to it, but I just knew it wasn't right for me. So, I went to my manager and asked if there was a waiting list for days after only pulling two night shifts. Thankfully no one was on the list and my manager said she'd be able to put me on days in a couple of months. As soon as she told me that, I felt so much better. I knew the next couple of months would suck, but I had something to look forward to. My advice to you is, give it a chance for a couple of shifts, and if you still feel like it's not a good fit for you, talk to your manager. Being a new grad is hard enough without having to be depressed over which shift you're working!
  4. by   youngatheart
    Gracie, I will be going to night shift 7p-7a in 2 weeks, I am really a day person and have felt overwhelmed with the busyiness of the day shift, kind of looking forward to night shift, but really worried that I can not get used to the hours. I am trying to think positive but I can relate to how you are feeling. Give it a chance and maybe it will work out. That's the only thing that keeps me going
  5. by   JentheRN05
    Found out myself that nights was not for me, the hard way. 6 months in I was so sick I couldn't function - especially after an on the job injury. My story is a mess and is located somewhere on these boards, but if you are depressed and crying all the time, try for days. Trust me you'll be healthier for it.
  6. by   AuntieRN
    I have worked nights (7p-7a) for almost a year now as a tech. I will also be working nights once I pass my boards. When I worked nights a few years back (11p-7a) I was sick all the time. This time it does not seem to bother me too much. Not sure if its because I was only working 2 nights (now that I am done with school I am working3). I just did a 3 night stretch and it did about do me in...but I am going to stick it out and see what happens. I wish we had a 3p-3a shift. I think it would reak less havoc on my body. Good luck with whatever shift you end up on.
  7. by   crb613
    I do not like the night shift either. I loved days because it was busy & I learned so much. I am sure there are a lot of things to learn on nights but....I cannot sleep during the day, & I feel awful! I have worked nights before & I was always sick.....Tonight would have been my 7th night shift....and I am sick as a dog. I always get all run down (lack of sleep & eating right) and catch every thing that comes along! I wish I could adjust since it is so much easier, and the pay is better.....I am going to try to tuff it out for a while....and hope it gets better.
  8. by   LoriAlabamaRN
    I'm night shift too, let me explain what I learned.

    At night your pineal gland produces melatonin, during the day it produces serotonin. When you switch around and work nights, that can get messed up meaning you not only do not sleep well during the day, but your serotonin levels can drop leaving you depressed. I take melatonin every day before I go to bed, as I have for years since I started working nights. There is no "hangover" since it is what your body normally produces to get you to sleep and it helps reverse the serotonin/melatonin cycle. I take 3mg about thirty minutes before bed. You can get it at any drugstore or even grocery stores, just look in the vitamin section. A wonderful doctor I worked with all those years ago told me about this and explained the rationale. I have not had any problems since.
  9. by   crb613
    Quote from LoriAlabamaRN
    I'm night shift too, let me explain what I learned.

    At night your pineal gland produces melatonin, during the day it produces serotonin. When you switch around and work nights, that can get messed up meaning you not only do not sleep well during the day, but your serotonin levels can drop leaving you depressed. I take melatonin every day before I go to bed, as I have for years since I started working nights. There is no "hangover" since it is what your body normally produces to get you to sleep and it helps reverse the serotonin/melatonin cycle. I take 3mg about thirty minutes before bed. You can get it at any drugstore or even grocery stores, just look in the vitamin section. A wonderful doctor I worked with all those years ago told me about this and explained the rationale. I have not had any problems since.
    Thanks for the tip! I will give it a try!
  10. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    Quote from crb613
    Thanks for the tip! I will give it a try!
    It works for me. I've been using it for years and I get a restful sleep that lasts about 7 hours with no hangover.
  11. by   Morning-glory
    Working nights can be hard. I've done it for 10 years and I'll go back to days every once and a while to see if I can do it, but I always come back to nights. A few hints for those who are starting out.

    I sleep the night before. Then have a slow day and go to bed at 1-2 pm and sleep for 3 hours. Get up, eat, take a shower. Go to work. I only work 2 twelve hour shifts in a row as I don't sleep well during the day, but I so like working nights that I will be a bit wierd on the second night and I have learned that staying busy keeps me awake. I also don't sleep on my break as it takes me too long to wake up if I get woken up for an emergency.

    Nights are fun. You just have to get into the groove.
  12. by   gracie05
    Thanks to everyone for their tips and encouragement...it is nice to hear. I worked last night and was surprised that I really did not get tired until the drive home this morning. I slept only for about 5 hours, but am still exhausted. I am going to try the melatonin thing and see if it helps. I don't know if I will last on nights, but I am there for the forseeable future or until I start looking elsewhere. I cannot go anywhere else in this hospital until I have been on my unit for 6 months (which will be December), so I think that I will try and stick it out until then...hopefully I won't be crying still!!
  13. by   hptogram
    I know its a little late, but try the melatonin. I had a period of adjustment to staying up all night too. I thought 11pm to 7am would be perfect since I've always been a night owl. But it did take getting used to. Especially working another job 9am to 2pm. It took about 6 weeks for my body to get used to that. I'm sure you'll adjust too. Give it some time.
  14. by   nursecrk
    Hi all. I am also a new grad and working straight nights by choice. I was just wondering where all of you work where nights are less busy than days?! On our unit it seems that the problems peak around 2a.m. We also get WAY more patients and no aide, unlike days who gets 4-5 patients and 2 aides. I am thankful that it is busy though, or I don't know if I would be able to stay awake!


    Can't wait to try the melatonin tip. Thanks for that one!

    -Corri

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