Night Shift For Newbies - page 6

Most of us don't get much choice over whether or not we work nights, although we might get a choice about when. We also get a choice about how we handle our night rotations. There are pluses and... Read More

  1. by   amygarside
    I have a love and hate relationship with night shift. I like it because there's less people and noise. The thing I dont like about it is how it ruins my diet. When I work night shift, I tend to drink too much coffee and eat lots of sweets. I know it's all about choosing the right food but I can't help it.
  2. by   jporte16
    I really enjoyed this article a lot!!! I graduated from nursing school as an LPN in 2010 and had a hard time finding a job. When I did find a job, it was in a hospital (one of the top 100 in the country,) and I feel completely blessed. I work the night shift 7p to 7a and I will continue to most likely until I have kids, or forever if my future wife decides to stay home and raise the children. I completely agree with the fact that nighttime nursing is like one huge family, I could not imagine working during the day with doctors breathing down your neck, and all of the families in and out asking 100 questions. I have been at this hospital for almost 8 months and have really grown to love nursing more than I already did. I know I picked the right career, and would never go back on choosing to do nights as my first nursing job.
  3. by   rachelrcarlson
    I am currently a pre-nursing student and will apply to RN school in November. I am really leaning toward the night shift in the ER, three 12 hr shifts. Sleep is something very important to me and I want to make sure I get the right amount of sleep. With that being said what do you do on your days off? For instance, you work from 7pm to 7am Wednesday-Friday; you sleep from 8am-4pm on the days you work. What do you do on the days you don't work? Do you continue your sleep pattern on 8am-4pm or try to readjust your internal clock to sleep normal hours say 10pm-6am?

    My kids are currently in 2nd and 7th grade, how would working the night shift affect them? Will they not see their mom on days I have to work? Is it possible to work the night shift and have a family?

    Someone who can't wait to be a nurse!!!
  4. by   kramos007
    I work 4:30p-5am so by the time I get home, shower, eat, and go to bed, the sun is starting to rise so its easier for me to go to sleep. I have definitely thought about buying blackout curtains. I eat breakfast when I get up around 2pm and have dinner around midnight. I have never really had much of an appetite, so thats what works for me. I do munch on candy at work and drink energy drinks to stay up. Thankfully there's a gym at the hospital, so I can work out, shower, and start my shift. They are open 24 hrs so if I need to, I can go after I get off. I'm still new to night shift so I will definitely take your advice.
  5. by   lemur00
    I did 8 hr nights for 5 years. On days off I usually went to bed at 4 or 5 am because that is my natural sleep time-on night shift I just had to stay up a few hours later and would usually stay up to do anything that needed to be done during the day. When I started school, I shifted to sleeping between 4 pm and 9 pm. I always ate breakfast and supper in reverse order and then had something at work. Now I am doing mostly 12 hr days and getting 1-2 hrs of sleep a night. Brutal. Have been falling asleep charting. Not going to lie--one of the reasons I went into health care was so I wouldn't have to work days, but they want new grads to work them and get experience. Makes sense, but Ugh.

    For someone with kids in school, you can come home and have breakfast with them and get them ready to go to school. Then sleep. That's easier to do if you work 8s though.
  6. by   exit96
    Love/hate for sure. I have been doing the night shift thing in health care for about 5 yrs. I never want to leave night shift! That being said, it takes a toll on me. I have 24 hrs left to put in for a dayshift spot, that would definitely be mine, and cannot bring myself to do it. I love the daytime hours, have always loved getting up before the sunrise etc. I am in no way interested in all the "hoo haa" of day shift ie; doctors, family, other dept's having their hands in my stuff, and so on. I started my RN vocation with the night crew I have presently and am so indebted to them for mentoring me, and the team aspect, bar a couple, is something I don't even want to try to do without. This thread is GOOD! I need to heed the advice given here better than I do. Oh, and the "time to myself" aspect is irreplaceable. If I went to day shift i would never get alone time.
  7. by   PedRN86
    Great tips! I really enjoy night shift. I love sitting around the round table on the ward on a quieter night and getting to chat with the other nurses. Night shift is just part of being a nurse... somebody has to care for those patients
  8. by   born2circulateRN
    Great article! I'm a new grad and I've been on night shift for the past 2 nights for the first time. And I must isn't too bad adjusting sleep-wise. I think I am going to like it. It is definitely LESS chaotic which is a plus due to the higher patient load. It is way more relaxed; however, things can still get busy, patients are still needy and the unexpected still happens.

    The first night before my first night shift, I slept a full 7 hours (I just couldn't make my body stay awake through the night)- during the day, I had about 6 hours of sleep - I wear a chilled eye mask :-). I wake up at 1600 to eat and get dressed. I then leave to work for 1845. I was a little restless towards the end but not too much. My commute home is 45 minutes which sucks, but I was definitely awake. Got home, ate breakfast, went to sleep at about 0900, slept until 1500ish, ate then work for 1845. This night was better. I didn't get sleepy- maybe because I ate actually. Got off of work and wasn't sleepy at all during my commute. Got home, shower, ate breakfast. I went to sleep about 1000, woke up about 1330 and drank some coffee. Plan to sleep regularly through the night. And even though the pace is slower - time still flies. I am not sure how consistent this schedule is going to be since I've only worked 2 night shifts, so I am just praying for the best.
  9. by   Clementia
    I've worked 12-hour nights for six years. I like the (relative) peace and quiet -- no doctors, no discharges, very few family members, admissions only occasionally, and no managers. Also, I work a 24-bed unit that's well staffed, so I have a lot of downtime.

    What everybody on here has said about sleep is very true. I learned the hard way that you can only manage so long on 3-4 hours sleep per 24-hour period; so now I pull all the shades and make sure I get in my 6-7 hours.

    I generally pack real food for lunch and make sure I drink lots of water during the shift.

    Also? Never drink hot cocoa on nights. It puts you to sleep.
  10. by   Nrsejen32
    I have worked day shift my whole 12 year career. I took a job working nights 7p-7a and I'm glad I did! However, I'm all mixed up now. I sleep all day when my boyfriend is working and up all night while he's sleeping. I'll eventually adjust and have a life again... Right?
  11. by   n6medjim
    Worked night shift the second half of my nursing career. (Full disclosure here: got licensed & began work at 63, retired at 67.) Hated every minute of it. Felt like I was a vampire: get home and in bed before the rays of the sun struck me ;-)
    My major goal every shift was to end them with as many heart beats as I started the shift with.
  12. by   cnw31
    Thank you for the tips! I'm in nursing school and I have night shift clinicals this semester. With the exception of a couple of lecture days I can pretty much stick to the night shift schedule, but it's still been a rough adjustment. Your article is a good reminder to take good care of myself and take full advantage of that 24hr gym membership!
  13. by   FreeShrugs
    Thank you everyone for all the informative experiences; I'm definitely a daytime/morning person but I assume as a new grad, I will most likely have to take a night-shift position. I've had a couple friends who have always worked day shift, but I'm sure those positions are a dime a dozen. Thanks again!