Shift Work is Taking a Toll

  1. I work much less than I used to when I first started nursing, and still, I find that aside from the week I'm off, I'm always tired. I eat well and exercise, but nothing really helps. I find it takes me 4 days to fully recover from my shifts, but I'm already back at work. I work permanent nights (which I like) and I have 35 shifts in 3 months. I've only been nursing two years, and I'm thinking in another two years, I'll need a desk job. The fatigue isn't worth it.
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    About joanna73

    Joined: Jul '10; Posts: 5,489; Likes: 11,527
    from US
    Specialty: geriatrics


  3. by   not.done.yet
    If you enjoy bedside nursing, why not try days? Changing to days made a huge difference for me.
  4. by   joanna73
    Working nights isn't the issue for me. I like nights. The only way I'd be willing to work days is 8 hour shifts, not 12's. I have never slept well at night, and when I used to work days (before nursing), I rarely had enough sleep. Eventually, I'll cut back my hours even more. Either that, or work contract, enabling me to take long stretches of time off if I choose.
  5. by   xoemmylouox
    Nursing is emotionally as well as physically demanding work. I too often feel exhausted .
  6. by   MJB2010
    My husband often asks me if I have narcolepsy. Since working nights, I doze off at random times on my days off. Nursing is both mentally and physically exhausting.
  7. by   MJB2010
    Xoemommy we must have been posting at the same time. Great minds think alike!
  8. by   joanna73
    I have a 3 month set rotation. I think what's hurting me are the weeks when I work 5 shifts in 7 days, have 2 off, then go back for 5 more. I never feel rested. I think after 6 more months, I need to find something that offers a better rotation. I'm already looking.
  9. by   SHGR
    Joanna, I don't do mornings well either. I found 2nd shift (for us, 3pm-midnight) to be the best option. I slept better than on any other shift- got to sleep by 2 or so, and slept very well because I didn't worry about missing my alarm. Also, in winter, you get more daylight. It was much less physically taxing as well. We got a lot of postops back, but we had more CNA help for cares. You do miss a lot of "real life," but for me it worked really well.
  10. by   VivaLasViejas
    That's brutal, joanna. I wouldn't wait the six months, if you can help job is worth exhausting yourself and burning out.
  11. by   Fiona59
    Joanna, I know what you mean. My rotation looks great on paper but when the permanent night person wants time off, I'm the first one they ask to change shifts to give her time off. None of our casuals work nights. I need two full days off after my set of nights to feel human. Working more than three nights is brutal.

    I just don't understand the 12 hour shift love. From what I see in my hospital, the young ones love them while they are child free. Bring on families and they all want to come back to 8s after mat leave.

    Even new grads are saying they want 8s. 12s really only benefit management, saves them a bundle in benefits by hiring fewer staff.

    Face it, they really don't care about working us into the ground until we get sick and then they have to scramble to replace us.
  12. by   LCinTraining
    I love working twelves and I have children. I tend to lose an entire day sleeping on my four days off, but then I have a full two with the family before taking a very calm day before heading back to work. I'm still with them, and I'm very exhausted by the end of my three days on, but it's working well for me.
  13. by   bubblejet50
    i currently work 10 hour nights and i find if i try to flip my sleeping on my days off i'm exhausted all the time. like i took a vacation last week and now this week i'm tired every minute of everyday switching back to up all night. i like nights and i prefer 12 hours to 8 hours but after working so many in a row it's hard. it's like i have no life on days that i work. when i used to work 12's i literally would have no life and have been crazy enough to do 12 in a row once. learned my lesson! if it's a huge problem i would see if you can get on a 3-3 or 11-11 shift or maybe find an 8 hour shift somewhere.
  14. by   joanna73
    That's one thing I won't do...flip my sleep schedule. Some people don't get it, but unless I have to be somewhere, I stay on nights, even on nights off. Otherwise, you are exhausted. I need to eventually work a .75, which will happen in the next 2-3 years. I'm also nearing 40. Too tired for this nonsense in general. @Canes: hi. I've replied to your message twice but my phone keeps bouncing me out before it sends.