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Need advice from night shift veterans!

Nurses   (1,487 Views 8 Comments)
by Irock Irock (Member) Member

2,183 Profile Views; 47 Posts

I am SO excited! I just got a nursing residency position in the telemetry department at a big teaching hospital in my area. I graduated in Sept, and have been looking for a FT RN position like crazy ever since. This hospital just started a nursing residency program, they only took 35 new nurses, and I'm one of them!

I am going to work 3 12s at night, 7p-7a, which I've never done before. I wanted to get as much advice as possible about how to make night shift as easy as I can for myself. I have 3 small kids, the two oldest will be at school all day, the youngest will be in preschool until noon every day. I also have a PRN position in a LTC facility, which I am going to try to keep working at once in a while.

Any advice would be appreciated!

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JenRN30 has 10 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Endoscopy/MICU/SICU.

289 Posts; 6,846 Profile Views

Hey Irock,

Congrats on your new job. Not a veteran night shifter, but I've been doing it for almost a year now and have adjusted pretty well. So, are you going to be expected to pick up your youngest child from school by noon on the days you work? If so, this could make it really challenging. If you don't get home from work until 7:30 or 8am, then wind down for an hour and get to sleep, you'll only be getting around 3 hours of sleep. If you're working that night, it could make for a very long night, and you'll burn out quickly. Hopefully you can get this worked out.

As for adjusting to night shift, I never did anything special. It took about a month or so, and then I just got used to it. I do have trouble going to sleep at a reasonable hour on my days off, so I take a sleep aid and it helps a lot.

Just try and make sure you're getting enough sleep, and you'll do fine. Good luck with your new position.

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Pappilli0n has 21 years experience and specializes in Cardiac, Thoracic, Vsg, ENT, GU.

70 Posts; 1,559 Profile Views

Trade off babysitting with another preschool Mom. Ask that she keep your little

one on the days you need your sleep and you can watch hers the days you

don't need to sleep!

Night shift can be great if you have a good preceptor who will share her work

plan for the shift. Nights normally have other "shift" responsibilities in addition to their patients, i.e. med sheets checked against doctor's orders for the next day, etc.

I say, "GOOD LUCK" and be ready to be flexible for a while and then make your

desired schedule known to your head nurse.

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170 Posts; 3,984 Profile Views

i've worked night shift since june & while both my kids are in school, i can tell you what works for us and hopefully when enough of us chime in you can find something that works for you! i have never been a morning person so i completely changed my schedule. on my days off i go to bed at 0300 & i get up at 1200. when i am heading to work, i keep that schedule, get up at 1200, go to work that evening (i work 3 12s, usually in a row from 1900-0700.) i get home usually by 0830 at the latest unless it's been a crazy night and i have tons of charting left. i chat with DH for a few min before he leaves for work, shower, eat while i watch a sitcom then crash by 09-0930. i sleep until 1600 or 1630 if i'm on my period and unusually tired. i pick up my kids from the sitters then i eat while they have snack and we chat about their day. (i am lucky our sitters are dear friends who lift 2 secs away) at 1745 DH gets home from work and he & kiddos wave goodbye to me while i leave. after i leave they do homework, baths, bed. i'm not missing out on much. after my last day for the week i go home, shower, eat, sleep til 12 or 13 usually about 5 hrs then i go to bed at 0300 and get up at 1200.

it's not for everyone but it works for us, i do housework after my family is in bed (they can sleep thru a rock concert) and i run errands sometimes cause my grocery store is open until 0100. i eat another meal since i eat lunch right after i get up. sometimes i cook yummy things like muffins for my family to find when they get up and get ready for school and work. sometimes i make a giant pot of soup which i have some then the rest in the fridge to heat up later.

if i'm off for 5 days or so i sometimes flip from 0100-1000. when we are on vacation or camping my schedule gets messed up pretty bad but we get back into the groove once we get home. i actually see my children more than i did on day shift. and DH tells me that even on my days off on day shift i always slept in so it's no different. he likes his daddy time in the am..

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112 Posts; 2,240 Profile Views

I'm a new grad also and after 8 weeks orientation on days, I went to nights about 10 weeks ago. It helps that my husband is a stay at home dad right now so I can sleep whenever I need to. I'll tell you how this week has gone so you can sort of see how I do it. My schedule this week is M/T/F. On Mon, I took a nap from about noon to 4 after having slept Sunday night getting up about 6am Mon morning. I get up about 4, shower, spend time with the fam, have dinner all together, about 6 I get my "lunch" ready, get my scrubs on and head out about 6:15 pm. I get home by 8:30 am usually. Tues am I have no caffeine after about 4 am, eat a quick breakfast on the way home and hit the bed by 9:30 at the latest. I sleep til 4ish, and then the same as Mon evening. Wed morning came home, laid down about 10, dosed off around 11 and slept til 1:30. Got up for the rest of the day then went to bed about 10 ish, up about 6:30 Thurs am. Slept normally last night, was awake at 5:30 this morning. I'll lay down about 11, fall asleep around noon and sleep til 4 ish, get up, get ready, eat with the fam and head to work about 6:15. It's crazy not having a consistent sleep schedule, but it works for us. My kids are early risers and I want to be with them when I can so I get up early and take naps on work days. For the naps before I go into work, I usually take a Tylenol PM about an hour before I want to lay down. Just one only lasts about 4 hours for me, so I get a decent nap but don't wake up groggy. Congrats on your new job and you'll find what works for you. (I apologize if this is choppy and all over the place, I'm not a morning person! :D)

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ocean waves has 35 years experience.

143 Posts; 2,866 Profile Views

Hello. Congratulations on your new nursing residency position! I worked on night shift for twelve years, and I agree with the comments of the other writers that night shift work requires careful planning to assure that you get adequate sleep. Here are a few more tips:(1)light--darken the room you sleep in to simulate night time with dark curtains or dark sheets or aluminum foil; (2)noise--"mute" your phone or turn off the volume during your sleep time;(3)kindly set barriers---explain to family and friends that you just cannot give in to requests to do activities when you need to sleep during day time hours; (4) "fuzzy mental times"--be aware that many night shift workers experience a temporary sluggish mental period around 3 or 4 A.M. because we are going "against" our normal tendency to sleep at night. Best wishes!

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MassED has 15 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ER.

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i've worked night shift since june & while both my kids are in school, i can tell you what works for us and hopefully when enough of us chime in you can find something that works for you! i have never been a morning person so i completely changed my schedule. on my days off i go to bed at 0300 & i get up at 1200. when i am heading to work, i keep that schedule, get up at 1200, go to work that evening (i work 3 12s, usually in a row from 1900-0700.) i get home usually by 0830 at the latest unless it's been a crazy night and i have tons of charting left. i chat with DH for a few min before he leaves for work, shower, eat while i watch a sitcom then crash by 09-0930. i sleep until 1600 or 1630 if i'm on my period and unusually tired. i pick up my kids from the sitters then i eat while they have snack and we chat about their day. (i am lucky our sitters are dear friends who lift 2 secs away) at 1745 DH gets home from work and he & kiddos wave goodbye to me while i leave. after i leave they do homework, baths, bed. i'm not missing out on much. after my last day for the week i go home, shower, eat, sleep til 12 or 13 usually about 5 hrs then i go to bed at 0300 and get up at 1200.

it's not for everyone but it works for us, i do housework after my family is in bed (they can sleep thru a rock concert) and i run errands sometimes cause my grocery store is open until 0100. i eat another meal since i eat lunch right after i get up. sometimes i cook yummy things like muffins for my family to find when they get up and get ready for school and work. sometimes i make a giant pot of soup which i have some then the rest in the fridge to heat up later.

if i'm off for 5 days or so i sometimes flip from 0100-1000. when we are on vacation or camping my schedule gets messed up pretty bad but we get back into the groove once we get home. i actually see my children more than i did on day shift. and DH tells me that even on my days off on day shift i always slept in so it's no different. he likes his daddy time in the am..

sounds pretty much like how I do it too with kids and a helpful, supportive, keeping-the-house-and-kids-together husband. I couldn't do it without him. Nights work well. See my kids and hubs way more than I ever did on mids. I'm tired in a new way, which is weird and unnatural, but whatever. When they grow up and move out, I can switch back to a more normal shift, since all that's open are nights FT anyway, you gotta take what pays the mortgage sometimes!

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170 Posts; 3,984 Profile Views

yeah, i really enjoy nights. i get more time to spend with my patients and there are fewer people messin' with 'em so when i leave they can often sleep for a few hours... the extra shift diff sure helps when you're trying to pay for college. i love not having to mess with meals, doctor rounds, less family, etc.

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