I think I have the night shift blues...


I think I have what I might call the night shift blues. I stopped by a BBQ to see my friends right before coming in for the night shift. I was in my scrubs because I wasn't going to have time to change, so the 1st friend I saw asked if I had to go into work. I didn't even know I wasn't coping well with this new schedule until that question caused me to burst into tears! I was mad at myself, I had less than an hour and I wanted to spend it happy with my husband and friends. Instead, I had a hard time regaining control of the tears. I'm normally such a happy cheerful person that easily adapts to things. I'm definitely not feeling like myself since I started nights a month ago. I'm a new nurse, I was on days the 1st 6 months due to being a new grad, then switched to nights. The night shift isnt permanent, but not sure when a day shift will open. I don't even mind the night shift, so I'm not even sure what I'm so upset about! Did anyone else experience anything like this?

NightNerd, MSN, RN

1,129 Posts

Specializes in CMSRN, hospice. Has 9 years experience.

Aw! Night shift is wonderful, but it definitely can change your life in negative ways as well as positive ones. It can certainly have a very weird effect on your social life, which is hard to anticipate sometimes. I know I didn't expect it to be this hard to keep up with friends and family; it's like even on your off days, you're fighting sleep just to be with people.

Being a nurse, whether day or night shift, means that sometimes we are going to be working through fun stuff, and that sucks. Night shift can exacerbate this problem, both in scheduling difficulties and just the way our affects our minds and bodies. But, as you said, you will hopefully end up on day shift when something opens up, and in the meantime there are plenty of good things about working nights. Less traffic on your unit, shift differentials, and the camaraderie that comes from staying up with coworkers at 3 am. Just take time on your days off to do the things you love and see the people you care about. It is totally possible to have a real life on night shift; just takes some planning.

I hope you were able to enjoy the barbecue at least a little! It sounds like the blues took you by surprise, but now that you know how is affecting you, you can take steps to counteract it. You got this!

Davey Do

1 Article; 10,290 Posts

Specializes in Psych (25 years), Medical (15 years). Has 44 years experience.

My first nursing job as an LPN was a straight MN shift in a nursing home. I hated the shift. It was the only time in my life that I had terrible nightmares... Well, "daymares".

When I was younger, I could switch my circadian cycle relatively easily. Not so when I got into my 50's.

It's like NightNerd said- the night shift can change your life in negative ways and just take the time on your days off to do the things you love and see the people you care about.

I've been working the MN shift for over 13 years now and love it! I believe it's primarily due to the facts that I stay on the MN schedule when I'm off and my wife, who is a medical nurse, also works the MN shift.

Good luck to you in your endeavors, Swissmiss- it will get better!

Zelda, RN

70 Posts

Specializes in Pediatrics.

I am not a night shift fan. I miss my husband terribly and feel like I never see him. I'm waiting patiently(ish) for a day position to open. Now, if only they would quit hiring people into the day spots...

Has 33 years experience.

Messing with your circadian rhythm can cause all kinds of problems. You are only one month in and already experiencing consequences.

Some people can work nights, and I bow to them. I made it for 9 months, slept the entire time I was off and felt like warmed up dog doo-doo.

Times were different, but I went to my manager and explained if I did not get on day shift, I would have to move on.

My sanity and health was worth more than any job.