night shift support

  1. We all know we do with less staff on night shift ... I'm wondering how y'all cope with life on a different schedule from the rest of the world? I'm finding that I just can't seem to make enough time to connect with my "regular" friends who work days, so I don't have that sounding board/stress relief/reality check. My husband and kids get the short end of the stick - and the short fuse at times. I love working nights, and need to for the time being to manage family schedules - but would love to hear your ideas for maintaining your sanity & friendships.

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    About susi_q

    Joined: Jul '99; Posts: 126; Likes: 24
    rn - bsn


  3. by   traumaRUs
    I'm the ER Night Charge in a level one trauma center. Have worked nights for 14 years (Yikes). Started for family reasons, now I'm just waiting for the ight job to come along to change. The keys to success on nights: IMHO of course:

    1. Guard your sleep - turn off the phone, let everyone know that unless the house is burning down or blood spurting, there is NO reason to wake mom up.

    2. Keep the same schedule. I work Tue/Wed/Thur nights 12 hours, then I also work 4-8 hours on days in eduction on Monday. I always come right home from work, shower, read for 10 minutes and go to sleep. I get up at 3:30-4 pm do my homework (I'm doing a BSN/MSN) and go to work. On Friday I only sleep until 1 pm so that I can sleep at night, but I don't plan anything heavy for Friday night.

    3. I don't take meds to sleep. Once in a while I'll take 25mg of benadryl. I find if we have a lot of codes or something especially traumatic, I'm too wired to sleep, but that happens less than once a month.

    4. I am on several committees. I ensure that my meetings are late in the day or on Mondays when my sleep isn't disrupted.

    5. My husband and sons (when they lived at home) knew Mom slept during the day and respected it. I didn't call them at midnight just to chat and neither do they call me at noon.

    So...that's how I do it.
  4. by   Teshiee
    You definately have it down to a science. You have given me some ideas. I have been working nights for 9 years, although I love it when I am off I find myself up all night and sleeping all day.

    Some real good pointers!
  5. by   Tweety
    Everyone does no many different things.

    I connect with friends in the evening and try to do all my sleeping during the day in one sleep. So that way I don't feel so disconnected from people. I've always been somewhat a loner anway, so I go the gym and do shopping at 2amish. But evening time after sleeping all day works good for my social life.

    (I know a lot of 8 hour people are up various times during the day and sleep in the evening prior to work and that can be isolating for me.)
  6. by   altomga
    I have to agre with the above posts! You have to have your schedule down to a science. I've been working nights for 5yrs now...I have always been a night owl though, so that helps me. I have 3 children 13, 10, 3!!! So when I come home I stay up a little longer to play with my 3yo, but that is me. I work 40min away, so I have down time before I come home.
    I keep in touch with my day friends by usually calling them on the cell phone while I am driving to work. I have off every other wkend so I try to set up times with my friends then.
    When you sleep during the day and someone calls you at 1 in the afternoon do what I did..ask them if they want you to call them at 1am which is your afternoon just to talk while they are sleeping!!!
    The one person that kept doing this to me stopped after that. (And I would have done it to just to show her how it felt!)
    Keep your room DARK to try to trick your body into thinking it is nighttime....I have slept sooooooooo much better since I did that 4yrs ago! If you need to run a short errand try to do it on the way to work if you can, that way on your day off you won't leave the "family".
    I usually still stay up late on my days off even though I get up in the a.m., but my body is so used to staying up! Spend quality time with the family and friends when you can, it makes up for a lot of the lack of quality time you time!