Need input from NIGHT SHIFT nurses

  1. I recently completed my MSN - and my capstone research project was about how night shift nurses learn to adapt to circadian disruption. I am doing a follow-up project, and need you input on the following questions.

    1)What characterizes a 'night shift friendly' employer?
    2)What characterizes a 'night shift UNfriendly' employer?
    3) What would you do to make night shift better if you could?
    4) What specific things does your employer do that is either night shift friendly or night shift UNfriendly?
  2. Visit marycarney profile page

    About marycarney

    Joined: Jun '11; Posts: 644; Likes: 1,324
    PICU RN; from US
    Specialty: 30+ year(s) of experience in PICU / Research


  3. by   NewRnRn
    Something my employer does that is very unfriendly is schedule mandatory meetings at 12 noon. That's midnight to us night shifters. If we worked the night before and have to work again that night, it totally screws us up.I would like to see a mandatory midnight meeting. :-)
  4. by   mama_d
    A thousand times "Yes!" to the above!

    Also, nights (at my current place under current management) is expected to run short staffed if days was over to "make up for it" in the budget. Days does not have the same expectation b/c we are NEVER allowed to run over...we're lucky if we meet the grid for "normal".

    I have seen our director twice in over two years. She regularly sees day staff on the floor just to "see how things are going". A side effect of this is that everything she hears about nights from days is true (to her) b/c she never sees or talks to us (unless you make an appointment to see her during the day; such time available is very limited however due to everything else she is responsible for).

    The cafeteria hours just suck for nights, on the days it's even open for us.
  5. by   nurseintx0511
    Completely agree with the meeting thing! I will have meetings at 1300, 1500, or 1600. Definitely not staying for any of those if I have to be back that night.

    As far as friendly things... Letting us self schedule. At least then we don't end up with one night on one night off unless we sign up for it.
  6. by   CarryThatWeight
    I am a night shift employee and my employer has scheduled me to go to all these classes. The hours? 8 am to 5 pm. Sure, they don't expect you to work the night before a class, but you still have to work two 12 hour nights in the same week as the day class. It is not that easy to flip flop back and forth. This is definitely a night shift UNfriendly practice. There are enough night shifters that they should at least be able to offer classes from noon to 9 or something, IMO.
  7. by   JZ_RN
    I don't want 1430 meetings, ever. I just plain won't go. Do it right before or right after my shift or I'm not coming. I don't expect them to come to work in the middle of sleep hours. No food or even vending machines available for night shift sucks. Night shift should not have less staff than days, we have the same patients and they have many needs at night, too! MDs should be friendlier about night shift, I know they wanna sleep but patients need them. Don't ask me to work days then the next day nights, then a day after nights again, it's unhealthy. Don't give me a day off in between days, give me my multiple days off in a row, no one can get anything done that first day off, all we do is sleep! If you bring in something/do something special for days, come do it for nights too!
  8. by   KelRN215
    Night shift UNfriendly things: staff meetings scheduled at 7am that require night shift nurses to stay an hour past the end of their shift and not get paid for it, nowhere to get food in house after 8pm other than ridiculously expensive and redundant Au Bon Pain, scheduling night shift staff for every other day or rotating staff for fake days off (Sun night, Tuesday day; Wednesday day, Thursday night), crappy differentials for rotating staff.
  9. by   That Guy
    Unfruendly: like others have said all meeting take place in the middle of the day. All classes in the middle of the day. Day shift calling to come work day shift when I just worked a night. There is this stigma that if you work nights, you are always awake so why not come work days too ( yeah right **** you guys ). Never once saw management or is that a plus? The problem there is that they dont know you, dont know what is going on and dont take the time to figure out what is not working. Short staffing on purpose because "nothing happens on nights"

    Friendly: Self scheduling. Oh man 8 days off every 2 weeks I love it. 12 hour shifts. No management breathing down your neck. Much less ancillary staff. Much less family Closer tighter knit work group.

    This was at my old job. I love where I am at now, minus the classes thing still being an issue. I think a happy medium would be late afternoon classes/meeting. Like tomorrow I have an 0800 class then I go to work the next night at 1800. I get to flip flop my schedule all around.
  10. by   JZ_RN
    Scheduling invasive treatments (wound care, etc) at night to give "day shift a break from how busy and overworked they are" that means I have to wake people up at 1 am after med pass and dealing with issues, it's not fair to the patient and it's not fair to me. Makes me seem rude and like I can't time manage or I don't know what I'm doing. I don't have time after med pass in the morning (Which I have to start at 5 am and wake people up to finish on time, if I do give all the meds and do it properly and want to leave before 3 hours after my shift which I don't get paid for overtime.) and I'm not gonna wake people up at 2-3 AM after I finish charting.
  11. by   JBudd
    I don't mind the meetings right after the shift, but for God's sake why do they last until 10 or 1030? Do you ask day nurse's to stay for meetings until 10 o'clock at night? and turn around to be back at 7? Say what you need to say and then shut up! None of the complaining/screaming at us was really necessary, and certainly not constructive.

    We were promised day and evening meetings, but the evening ones never appeared. Once more, false promises for temporary appeasment.

    Unfriendly: very limited time to get "hot food" at night; same fried junk night after night. Rotating shifts. Loss of our night shift bonus for working straight nights. Loss of our secretaries (honestly, one clerk for 36 beds? in 3 different ER Zones)

    Phone calls 2 hours after you get to sleep, which disrupts the deep sleep and ruining getting fully rested for the next shift (yeah, I know, turn off the phone; not always an option).

    No transport after 1030PM; after all, your techs can do it. Except you got rid of most of my techs. Well, nurses aren't really busy on nights, so they can push the pts to radiology, CT and the floors.
  12. by   bagladyrn
    All of the above are major issues for long term night people.
    One thing I have seen that is not major in and of itself, but indicates the lack of administrative respect for night shift are "special events" for such things as Nurse's Day, etc. that are presented to day shift only - luncheons, presentations, even deli trays on the units. By the time night shift comes in they are lucky to see a few dried up leftovers or crumbled pieces of cake shoved in the fridge or littering the report room table.
    No, the food or event itself may not be much, but it really shows a lack of appreciation.
  13. by   TiffyRN
    Quote from marycarney

    1)What characterizes a 'night shift friendly' employer?
    2)What characterizes a 'night shift UNfriendly' employer?
    3) What would you do to make night shift better if you could?
    4) What specific things does your employer do that is either night shift friendly or night shift UNfriendly?
    A night shift friendly employer considers the flipped schedule. Would you call your day shift at 2AM? Then don't call me at 2pm! Would you schedule a committee meeting at 3AM? Then don't schedule committee meetings at 3am (if you want night shift workers there). If it can be dealt with over e-mail, then e-mail me. Can I do an on-line course, then let me do an online course.

    I echo what other people have said about food. In the past our food selections at night are so pathetic that I have given up years ago and have brought my "lunch". I was amazed when I came in for a class and was there for lunch time. SO MUCH GREAT FOOD!!! I had no idea our cafeteria was capable of such yummy and healthy offerings.

    I disagree with the previous posters that say they would like to see management on nights more. I am on night shift for multiple reasons, one of which is that I enjoy being "unmolested" by the likes of management, PT/OT/ST, case management, whatever. I know it cuts both ways, but I think it hurts less when they stay on the day shift.

    A previous nurse manager used to hold her unit meetings on several schedules including 7am (we could stay over or day nurses could try to attend if their assignment was fine), 5pm (nights could come in early or days could come on their day off or try to get away from a lighter assignment), 7pm (nights could attend on a day off or try to get away from a lighter assignment or days could stay over), 10:30pm (nights could try to get away from their assignment and either shift could attend on their day off). She had the highest attendance rates of any manager I've ever seen.

    One thing our unit usually does that is very friendly to nights is that when family or whomever sends treats to the unit, the management usually splits it up and saves half of it for night shift. I've worked too many places where a well-meaning family will send treats, usually during the day, they get put on the table in the break room and when nights comes in, they have considerately left the empty tray with crumbs for us to clean up.

    I think this is one of the most night-shift friendly units I have ever worked in. I think one reason is that almost 100% of the nurses start on night shift and wait 1-2 years on a waiting list to get to day shift. This means most of the day shift can remember how tough it was for them when they were on night shift.

    I myself remember my very few months on day shift and it gives me great patience to endure inequities as I would hate hate hate to ever be cursed to work day shift!
  14. by   hhurley
    I totally agree about the meetings part, once in a blue moon we will have a 6am meeting but anything else (giveaways, parties ect) are scheduled at 2pm for 1st and 2nd shift to get not us. We have "call weekends" on call for 48 straight hours and if we are getting off work at 6am on friday mornings and the having to work 16h on saturday and sunday (6am to 10p) the back to our regular nights it's crazy.