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Ideas for Coping with Crappy Shifts!


I had a CRAPPY night. It just started out on the wrong note and I never really did get my feet under me. Here's what I did to try to make it better, and I would like to hear what other people have done.

1) The charge nurse just happened to ask, "who want's a low census at 0300" and I said, "ooh me! me!" another nurse wanted it too and first we were going to arm wrestle but then decided flipping a coin was more civilized and I won!

2) Ran into a friend in the parking garage who also coincidentally got low census so we went to a diner and ate horrible french fries at 0330 in the morning.

3) Bought a box of hair dye on the way home so now I am a foxy brunette--not the same blonde nurse who got her ass kicked at work the other night.

4) Let my 2 year old help make her favorite breakfast, scrambled eggs--she likes to crack them--and have a leisurely morning instead of her dad rushing her off to daycare before I even get to see her and me crashing while she's gone. We read all our library books and put nail polish on our toes. I have the next 2 days off so I decided not to bother to sleep today.

5) Ditched the kid at daycare (hey. we had a fun morning and she likes it! Really!) and played Rayman on Wii and now I'm rotting my brain with an entire tivo'd season of reruns of Americas Next Top Model.

6) Stole all the chocolate out of Roxanne's trick-or-treat candy--she's 2 and likes the horrible gummy candies and suckers more than chocolate anyway and will never miss them.

And when I go back to work on Friday I will be refreshed (hopefully) and ready to take on whatever the patient lottery throws at me. At least I will be if I get some sleep and eat something healthier than fries and chocolate!

What are some of your strategies for dealing with rough days/nights? LCDs are a rarity on my floor and I'm not really that good of an arm wrestler and I can't dye my hair and eat candy every time!


Mommy TeleRN, RN

Specializes in Float. Has 3 years experience.

I like your ideas :) I had a TERRIBLE shift a few weeks ago and came home and just cried and felt like "what did I get myself into?" Thankfully I was going on a minivacation after that shift and had some quality family time. Came back and have had pretty good (but busy!) shifts since then. Sometimes you just need a few days off...give the crazy patients/families time to be discharged and start back with a new batch! lol

Virgo_RN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiac Telemetry, ED.

Low census. That's my survival strategy. Unfortunately, it doesn't always happen when I'd like it to, plus I can't afford it too often.

When I have a crappy shift, I usually head straight to the fridge, crack a nice cold beer, and fall asleep to a bad movie on TV. After I cry, of course!:sniff:

Or, I might try to study for class the next day in case there's a pop quiz.

Once I'm out of school, I'd like to get back into the habit of working out regularly. I think that would help.

Indy, LPN, LVN

Specializes in ICU, telemetry, LTAC. Has 5 years experience.

Start singing at 0500. People have to either help or leave ya alone at that point because you've just advertised your insanity.

Play sims on the computer instead of sleeping... but this is only if you have days off in a row afterwards. If it was a really bad night you can just put it on free will, high speed, and laugh as they set the house on fire repeatedly. (Ok I'm a nerd.)

Reread the "funny patient stories" thread in its entirety on allnurses.

Oh. Hot bath, massage if you can get it, hot chocolate, and a trashy book or magazine.

Nurse Lulu

Specializes in critical care.

I call my mother in law, we go out to 11 am meal at a real nice place (oysters maybe) and order drinks.....watch people stare and laugh (I work midnights so this is really like dinner, right?)

Tweety, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 28 years experience.

Self-nuturing just like you've done. :)

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