Falling Asleep

  1. So I need some advice. I started a new job recently. I was new to working 12 hour shifts and it was only my second time with 3 days in a row. I am definitely not making excuses for myself at all, but I fell asleep twice that day. Once during a meeting in front of every charge nurse in the hospital and the Nursing supervisor and another during a patient group while shadowing the social worker running it. The strange thing is in neither situation did I know I even did it. The social worker confronted me when I proceeded to tell her I loved how she ran group (like I said honestly thought I was with it) and she told me I was asleep. I visibly almost began crying and stated I felt unprofessional, disrespectful, and I didn't feel sorry even began to cover it. Then I proceeded to tell her I was getting a heart monitor the next week as well as a sleep study soon because I hadn't felt right lately and had been sleeping profusely on days off. I then was off for a seven day stretch to come back to my boss wanting to speak to me. I hadn't had a chance to seek her out first as she had been busy the day it happened and the seven days left plenty of time for it to get to her by my coworkers. Come to find out, one of the charge nurses who didn't even know my name also called my boss to report me. She never addressed me personally or anything. I explained to my boss what I explained to the social worker. Not giving excuses just the facts of the situation. I guess I was really hurt and felt unsupported that I was reported by one who didn't even talk to me about it herself to at least see if there was some explanation and by another who didn't tell me she was reporting it and I also did explain myself the best I could. I got a disciplinary warning in my file that sounded pretty awful, but my boss was genuinely supportive. I guess I am just seeking advice on where to go from here. It is possible I am actually anemic or have a cardiac concern so I'm not sure whether to get a doctors letter to try and support that I truly was sick or to just leave it and solve the issue so it doesn't happen again. My frustration and sadness over this situation is really not even describable. I was mortified and angry with myself. I love my job and I would never want to jeopardize it.
  2. Visit NurseRatchet777 profile page

    About NurseRatchet777

    Joined: Jun '18; Posts: 8; Likes: 4

    21 Comments

  3. by   Sour Lemon
    It would have been better for you and less concerning for your boss if you'd just apologized and promised it wouldn't happen again. Suggesting that you might have a medical condition that makes it impossible to stay awake at work did not do you any favors. That's a potentially unsafe situation and a huge liability concern for any employer.
  4. by   caliotter3
    Sour Lemon said it all. When placed in compromising situations, many of us put our feet in our mouths by giving too much information. At any rate, you must correct the situation and always consider a target to be firmly on your job's back at this facility. You will always be remembered as the nurse who "fell asleep".
  5. by   VivaLasViejas
    And for goodness' sake, go see your doctor if you have any ongoing medical concerns.
  6. by   Horseshoe
    Quote from NurseRatchet777
    I then was off for a seven day stretch to come back to my boss wanting to speak to me. I hadn't had a chance to seek her out first as she had been busy the day it happened and the seven days left plenty of time for it to get to her by my coworkers. Come to find out, one of the charge nurses who didn't even know my name also called my boss to report me. She never addressed me personally or anything.

    It seems pretty reasonable to suspect that the charge nurse didn't speak to you herself because you were gone for seven consecutive days after the fact. If she had tried to find you, she would have been unsuccessful, and she likely wanted to address her concerns in a timely fashion rather than taking the chance that it would slip her mind.

    It seems as though by focusing on the charge nurse's actions-"she should have spoken to me first"- you are actually just trying to find a way to deflect attention from your own. Find out if you have a medical problem. Then seek advice on how it can be managed. All night shift nurses have to figure out ways to cope with working a shift that runs counter to how our bodies normally function. Address the actual problem, which is you falling asleep on the clock, and NOT on how your actions were brought to the attention of your manager-that's really not the important issue here.
  7. by   crazin01
    Find out if you have a medical problem. Then seek advice on how it can be managed. All night shift nurses have to figure out ways to cope with working a shift that runs counter to how our bodies normally function. Address the actual problem, which is you falling asleep on the clock...[/QUOTE]

    I'm guilty of 'resting my eyes' as well. Sounds bad, but giving report at 0700, I literally could not keep my eyes open. HOWEVER I gave full report to day shift with my eyes closed somedays
    I would be more concerned about you not remembering these occurrences. I've always thought but if someone is dozing off, their head falls to chest, they catch themselves and think: "Oh crap!!!" immediately, they did remember incident.

    definitely need to figure out what's going on medically. In the meantime:

    Stand up for meeting/class (I do & have seen others)
    take notes of meeting. high lite your notes *even just doodling
    wash face with ICE cold water

    I would also NOT share medical issues/meds. etc with any staff member. things get around SO easily it seems.
  8. by   OrganizedChaos
    You say you're new to working 12 hour shifts? I think that is your problem right there! What is your routine to go to bed?
    What time do you go to bed?
    What do you eat during your shift?
    How do you sleep?
    Do you use anything to sleep?
    How much sleep do you get?
    How much sleep does it take to make you feel rested?
    Has sleep always been an issue for you?
  9. by   monkey205
    Have your MD check you for sleep apnea as well. Good luck and hope you get some much needed rest.
  10. by   RNperdiem
    Do you drive home from work? Falling asleep on the bus is bad enough, but falling asleep while driving is dangerous. Maybe night shift is not for you.
  11. by   Coffee Nurse
    Quote from RNperdiem
    Do you drive home from work? Falling asleep on the bus is bad enough, but falling asleep while driving is dangerous. Maybe night shift is not for you.
    It's not even night shift. OP said she was on the second of three days.
  12. by   bugya90
    The charge nurse reported you because as she saw it you were sleeping while on the clock. That is a fireable offends at most facilities regardless of medical conditions. Be thankful that your supervisor was understanding enough to just give you a warning and not terminate you.

    I don't work 3 in a row because I'm physically exhausted by that 3rd day. I've done 3 in a row a few times and could imagine myself falling asleep while charting very easily. We do self schedule at my work so I just don't schedule myself for 3 in a row and my boss knows if she has to change my schedule any to try not put me at 3 in a row. (Honestly I hate doing even 2 in a row but I do it to get more consecutive days off).
  13. by   Mavrick
    Quote from NurseRatchet777
    So I need some advice. I started a new job recently. I was new to working 12 hour shifts and it was only my second time with 3 days in a row. I am definitely not making excuses for myself at all, but I fell asleep twice that day. Once during a meeting in front of every charge nurse in the hospital and the Nursing supervisor and another during a patient group while shadowing the social worker running it. The strange thing is in neither situation did I know I even did it. The social worker confronted me when I proceeded to tell her I loved how she ran group (like I said honestly thought I was with it) and she told me I was asleep. I visibly almost began crying and stated I felt unprofessional, disrespectful, and I didn't feel sorry even began to cover it. Then I proceeded to tell her I was getting a heart monitor the next week as well as a sleep study soon because I hadn't felt right lately and had been sleeping profusely on days off. I then was off for a seven day stretch to come back to my boss wanting to speak to me. I hadn't had a chance to seek her out first as she had been busy the day it happened and the seven days left plenty of time for it to get to her by my coworkers. Come to find out, one of the charge nurses who didn't even know my name also called my boss to report me. She never addressed me personally or anything. I explained to my boss what I explained to the social worker. Not giving excuses just the facts of the situation. I guess I was really hurt and felt unsupported that I was reported by one who didn't even talk to me about it herself to at least see if there was some explanation and by another who didn't tell me she was reporting it and I also did explain myself the best I could. I got a disciplinary warning in my file that sounded pretty awful, but my boss was genuinely supportive. I guess I am just seeking advice on where to go from here. It is possible I am actually anemic or have a cardiac concern so I'm not sure whether to get a doctors letter to try and support that I truly was sick or to just leave it and solve the issue so it doesn't happen again. My frustration and sadness over this situation is really not even describable. I was mortified and angry with myself. I love my job and I would never want to jeopardize it.
    DO NOT offer personal medical information as an excuse for failure to perform your job responsibilities. You could easily have been sent home right then and there and needed a medical waiver to return to work.

    Like PP suggested if you continue to have difficulties staying completely awake at work you may have to stand to accept or receive report.

    As a new employee you don't have the benefit of a wealth of good will toward you. You're more of a liability now. Work extra hard to stay off their radar.

    Thank them for their concern but you are managing this issue so it doesn't happen again.
  14. by   NurseRatchet777
    Thank you all for the advice. And yes I'm days. I used to be mostly 3P-11P and then I was 8A-5P for a short while. Now I am 7a-7p. I'm definitely trying to figure out what's going on and am more than grateful my boss took pity on me for sure. I'm a night owl generally.

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