full nights vs. rotating - page 2

I received my BSN May 2002 and my nursing career commenced this summer on a small community hospital peds unit ... I am on night shift and loathe it! I am constatly tired, emotional, etc... my body... Read More

  1. by   MomNRN
    Blue girl - I feel for you. I too started working nights as a new grad. I wasn't a young grad, I am a 2nd career RN with husband and family. I tried it for 6 months and hated every minute of it. Family did too! It was so disillusioning at first. I thought I would love it! I had been at this hospital for over 6 years and hated quitting. When I did it and found a "day" job, my family and I were so much happier! It does make a difference. It turns out the new job is more fulfilling and one I enjoy going to each day. Good luck with your decision.
  2. by   JohnnyGage
    Working nights ain't easy -- especially if you're body simply can't handle it. I don't think rotating is a good idea unless you can do, say, one month of nights followed by a month of days but most hospitals won't let you do that. If your unit has 8-hour shifts, you might negotiate to rotate day-evening. I have an ex-GF that finally got so beat-up on nights she had to see a sleep specialist at the hospital's sleep center. The doctor there actually wrote a prescription for no night work and the manager had to accept it.
  3. by   mattsmom81
    Personally I liked the atmosphere better on nights but no way could I do 5 8 hour nights. Some love the 8's and can't do 12's. A change might work better for you. I could handle 3 12's...but 2 12's was perfect once I didn't need to work fulltime hours.

    Swing shift days and nights was the WORST for me...the switching back and forth really got to me and the facility I was at made me do this as a new grad too...it sucked.

    We're all made a little different so you may need to try different things to see how it goes. If you don't need to work fulltime consider a reduction in hours and you may feel better. As PRN float pool you may need to be somewhat flexible, but it may work better for you if you can work less hours. After 6 months most facilities will approve a change in status from FT to PRN, so you're getting close.

    On 12 hr nights, I split up my night shifts, (didn't do 'stretches')...just napped for a few hours when I got home (9-noon) and slept normally my nights off. I was able to handle nights many years in this way PRN status.

    Good luck...I know it is not easy.
    Last edit by mattsmom81 on Dec 30, '02
  4. by   bluegirl
    thanks for all the replies and info ... anyone else please keep it coming!
    i am in the process of applying for a job at a large children's hosptial now.... peds is all i want to do and i figure in a 200 bed peds insitution i will have a much better chacne of seeing daylight sometime in the future rather then in a small community hospital with one unit of peds beds and RN's who have been here decades and aren't going anywhere...
    i might even enjoy nights there as i will be doing stuff rather than sitting around as i do now.
    as for sleeping during the day - i love the outdoors too much to sleep my days off away so have been flipping back and forth (not sleeping the day after my last day on) then taking melatonin, benadryl whatever to sleep early that night so i can enjoy the next day . i hate the sleeping pills and caffiene i'm abusing my body with (as before nightshfit i was a healthnut).
    anyways, one of the position's i'm applying for at the chidlren's hospital has the option of rotating or full nights. if i get an interview (wish me luck) i will discuss with the manager how often the rotations will be and if it's a full month on days/then nights or something like that i might ask if i could try it on a trail basis b/c i've been doing nights for a few months now and am constatly still jet-lagged/irritable/etc...
    i'm too stubborn to sleep all my days away
    thanks for all your input...please keep it coming!
  5. by   bluegirl
    in an interview is it o.k. to make known you do not enjoy working nights - but are willing to if necessary to obtain the job?
  6. by   JohnnyGage
    Originally posted by bluegirl
    in an interview is it o.k. to make known you do not enjoy working nights - but are willing to if necessary to obtain the job?
    Of course, but I'm willing to bet that it's already assumed. The number of people who actually want to work nights are few.
  7. by   brianpribis
    Man, I worked nights once. I worked for six weeks and thought I was going to die! I could only sleep four hours and nothing I did would change that. I hated it. I finally had to go back to days or evenings. I don't mind 3-11 really. I think I could rotate though. I mean, someone has to take care of those people through the night. Yet I would be willing to go the extra mile and work some nights if others would do it too. In other words, I would have no problem if a hospital said their policy was that EVERYONE rotated shifts. But if that isn't a hospital's policy I wouldn't take the job without them knowing that I WILL NOT work nights except at my discretion. PERIOD. If the manager comes up and says, "Brian, we are short tonight, can you stay and do a double?" Hey, I'm your man! But that is it.

  8. by   brianpribis
    [in an interview is it o.k. to make known you do not enjoy working nights - but are willing to if necessary to obtain the job?]

    I don't think we should be jerks or anything but I also don't think we should be pushovers either. If you can't work nights don't. As soon as you say, "Well, I don't really like it but..." You might as well have said, "Sure, I love nights, put me on all nights for the rest of my life!" I know, the hospital should ''respect" your desires, but lets not forget, they have a job to do and money to make and if that means they have to hurt someones feelings in the process you can be darn sure they will do it. They NEED you. Remember that. If they won't take you that is their loss. But don't you dare say you will do something you know in the long wrong is only going to hurt you and even the hospital (when you fry like a crispy piece of bacon).

    If they say it is their policy that all new comers work nights then get them to commit to how long IN writing and hold them to it. It isn't unreasonable. If they were taking on a contract nurse they would have to do the same thing.

    My policy in jobs like that is NOT to say, "I won't work nights", but to say, "I will work every shift but nights." Let them know you are not inflexible. But also let them see you have rules for employment just as they do.

  9. by   bluegirl
    do you think as a new grad of only 6mos who really wants a job at a particular hospital .... i can say i will work any shift but nights?
  10. by   mattsmom81
    Well, Bluegirl, you can try...but in many cases those day shifters have got their claws into that day job, and have no intention of leaving. hehe. But sometimes you will fall into a situation. No harm in asking.

    Personally if I had to work fulltime nights 8 hour shifts I'd have some trouble, but for me it is still better than 3-11 shift fulltime. If you are single 3-11 can be a nice shift, but it is hell on family life and it just about broke my marriage up doing straight 3-ll's. 11-7 you can sleep mornings and still have family life in the eves.

    I prefer 12's split up so I can 'nap' awhile when I get home, then get up, have the rest of my day and sleep normally on my nights off. Some like to do stretches of 12's like 7 on and 7 off...and really party/vacation on that whole week off. It keeps 'em going planning that next week off.

    Some need to use sleeping pills with no hangover effect to get the rest they need. Most docs will help with that if you need it to get the rest you need and avoid getting run down...chronic 'run down' leads to illness.

    But we are all different and it took me more than a few months to figure out how to handle nights. I'm one who actually got to prefer nights as it is less frustrating to me with the suits out of the way.

    Good luck to all...we do what we have to if we need a job, right? We can ask our managers what's available and make the best choices we can. :roll
    Last edit by mattsmom81 on Jan 18, '03