New To Night Shift

  1. Hi everyone!

    I just recently switched from working 40 hour straight PM shifts for the past six months. I am now working WE program, Sat/Sun 7:00-7:30am and am suffering terribly. One of the problems is that I am unable to take a nap before working Sat. By the time 4am rolls around I literally feel sick to my stomach. I get home around 8am go straight to sleep and wake up generally around 3pm only to be back at work Sun at 7pm. I realize that it takes time to adjust but my question is since I am only doing two nights/week and picking up one PM shift middle of the week will I ever really adjust to the new schedule or will it feel like this forever?

    I am an "older" first time nurse, never was able to say up past 10pm for the past 25 years and even PM's was stretching it at first. I switched to NOC weekend program for two reasons, one so that I would actually get to see and spend some time with my husband and secondly, 40 hours working sometimes 4-5 days in a row was beating me down. In addition I did have to work every other weekend for the most part. There seemed to be absolutely no time to get anything done with that schedule. I'm just concerned with feeling so sick towards the end of my 12 hr. shift.

    I guess I just wanted some feedback as to if it gets better even though it is not daily NOC's. If I knew it would improve, I think I wouldn't feel so stressed and anxious about it right now. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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    About PennyNickelDime_RN

    Joined: Jun '03; Posts: 277; Likes: 45
    RN - Emergency Department
    Specialty: Oncology, Emergency Department


  3. by   Schmoo1022
    I have been doing two 12 hour shifts (7pm-7am) and one 8 hour (11-7am) for almost a year now. I have never adjusted. I love that it is slow paced, and I feel I can spend more time with the residents that need it, but otherwise it is killing me. I have gained weight, have been sick so often and I am totally scatter-brained. I am in the process off looking for a different shift, like a day shift weekend baylor
  4. by   PennyNickelDime_RN
    Quote from Schmoo1022
    I have been doing two 12 hour shifts (7pm-7am) and one 8 hour (11-7am) for almost a year now. I have never adjusted. I love that it is slow paced, and I feel I can spend more time with the residents that need it, but otherwise it is killing me. I have gained weight, have been sick so often and I am totally scatter-brained. I am in the process off looking for a different shift, like a day shift weekend baylor
    Thanks! Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but appreciate you being honest and replying. I am going to see if there is any way I could get on a list for day shift weekends. I highly doubt there will be any openings any time soon though. In the meantime, I guess I will just try to do my best to struggle through. Good luck to you!
  5. by   pretty_nurse33
    i been working straight nights for the past years.3 consecutive nights 12hrs shift. so far i dont have complaints. To be able not to mess up with your sleeping time during you days off, try not to take a nap during days. make yourself busy so when night time comes, you'll back on your regular sleeping pattern. and if your working and felt very tired and sleepy, take a walk and stretch your body, drink a lot of water,eat ice or go to internet. just try something, anything that will keep you awake til your shift is over.
  6. by   NewEnglandRN
    I worked 2 7pm-7:30 am nights and 1 11pm-7:30 am in a was really difficult! I was not able to sleep before going in on my first night and I would have to leave my house at 6pm. I wouldn't get home until 8:45am the next morning and I could never fall asleep before 11am. Then, I would have to wake up at 5pm to get ready for another night. By the third night, I was completely exhausted.

    My family hated it, too. I did that schedule for a year and never truly adjusted. Yes, it was nice to have time off during the week, but I came to dread it!

    I hope it will work out for you. I know other who have a similar schedule and love it.
  7. by   Mollypita
    I work Fri/Sat/Sun nights also. On Fridays, I get up at around 3 am, then after my daughter goes to school, I take a nap. Usually I sleep 10 am to 3 pm or so. That gets me on the night schedule enough to work and not be miserable, though I certainly get tired sometimes. Some people thinks it's strange, but it works for me. 12 to 13 hour shifts are too long to be exhausted and miserable!!!
  8. by   Schmoo1022
    Don't be to discouraged. I know many people that have adjusted and would never work any other shifts. I think it is hard for me because I have two toddlers at home. Two toddlers=no sleep LOL.
  9. by   kcochrane
    My assumption is that you return to the day life during the week? Unfortunately I don't think you will really adjust to the 2 night shifts on the weekend. It took me about 2-4 months to really adjust to nights, but I work them full time 5 days a week/8 hour shifts. I pretty much keep the same hours even on my days off, unless I have school.

    Is there any reason you can't stay up later on your days off? At least until 1 or 2? It would really help your body get some sort of consistancy. BTW, I do know some people that can do this type of schedule, but they are young, not 46 like me. I just can't do that.

    Wish you the best on adjusting.
  10. by   PennyNickelDime_RN
    LOL! I had to laugh at your post kcochrane because I am 54! and I am certain I am too old for this
  11. by   want2beanurse2
    Hello! When I saw your post I just had to respond. I have been working the night shift for two and a half years now and can honestly say I still havent adjusted! The first year and a half I was full time, eight hours 11p-7:30a. Since going Part time my boss has noticed " a change in me for the better" I told him it's probaly because I'm not as tired. Now I work Part time only 2-3 eight hour shifts a week and it hasnt gotten any better, an average day after working would be getting off work taking the kids to school and being back home by 8:30a and sleeping until 3:00 when it's time to pick them back up. Arrive back home help with homework, cook dinner and by 7:00p I am so drained I have to lay back down again before I return back to work that night.....Now say I have 3 or 4 days off in a row, I would have to take benadryl just to help me sleep through the night and try to get on the same schedule as my family for those few days, otherwise I could have a whole week off and still be up all night as if I was at the job. I have gained weight, always, always tired...seems like I can never get any sleep. Now that the summer is here it will be worse because it doesnt get dark outside until about 8:30p. I begged for 12 hour shifts but fortunately it wasnt granted because when I'm almost done with my 8 hours there is no way in the world I could imagine working 4 more? I'm only 32, I suppose if you dont have children it may not be bad working nights? My boss is 62 and has been working FT for over 30 years and he loves it. I know this wasnt very encouraging but I hope everything works out in your favor! :heartbeat
  12. by   want2beanurse2
    I'm sorry I forgot to respond to "your feeling sick" Between the hours of 3:00a-5:00a while working I too begin to feel sick. I am pretty healthy, no diabetes or anything but I often feel light headed (not dizzy), slightly nauseated and extremely hungry as if I havent eaten the entire day when in fact I may have just eaten in the cafeteria around 1:30a. I'm not a nurse yet but I suggest unless you have a known medical condition I find that checking my blood pressure and or blood sugar while on the job and making sure I have a snack to munch on gives me a little piece of mind.........Since my doctor hasnt found anything wrong with me I'm starting to think the job itself is making me sick!..........Again, I wish you the best!
  13. by   KY RN
    I worked 6:00 A.M. to 6:30 P.M. Friday and Saturday. Then I worked 6:00 P.M. to 6:30 A.M. Sunday and Monday nights for 12 years. It was horrible and I was tired all the time. I gained weight and was cranky a lot.

    I put aluminum foil on my windows, had black curtains, turned off the phone and cell phone. I also had a fan, put a note on the door not to knock and put tape over the door bell. On Sundays, I would take a nap from 2-4 P.M. and threatened my kids within an inch of their life, it they woke me up. On Mondays, I arranged for someone to pick up my kids from school because they got out at 2:30 P.M. and pick up fast food for them. I would wake up about 4:00 P.M. to shower, do homework, and spend a little time with the kids. It seemed like people did not have respect for my time, with me working on the weekends. My family would show up at 2:00 P.M. on Sunday to visit or expect to come to their parties at this time. I politely declined. My family is crazy so they kept showing up. I had to UN-politely let them know this was my nap time and they needed to respect it. They never did get the hint, even after 12 years.

    Maybe some of these ideas can help you also.
  14. by   86toronado
    I have to say I love working night shift. I've always been a late riser to begin with, so I guess it's not that surprising. Just some tips, though, because I did have a tough time with it at first, but that was because I was trying to go to school during the day, and not sleep.
    1-Go right to sleep when you get home. If you absolutely have to do something, like grocery shopping, or whatever, make it snappy, or you'll never fall asleep when you get home.
    2-Darken your room, with blinds, or aluminum foil on the windows, or whatever works. A fan or a noise machine is key also.
    3-Don't eat a big meal on your shift, try several small snacks, every 2 hours or so.
    4-On your days off, and especially the day before you go back, stay up late, and sleep in until 10 or 11am at least. (obviously if you have kids, you can't but at least try!)

    As I said, I've been on night shift for 2 years, and couldn't imagine doing anything else!