Nervous about working night shifts...

Nurses Disabilities


Hi, I'm strongly thinking about going into nursing, but I keep on worrying working nights will be hard on me. I've been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and ADHD-primarily inattentive. I function pretty well on a day-to-day basis despite all of it, but I have a harder time than others after a night with little sleep. I also have a hard time taking naps during the day, so all of this makes me worried how I'd do on nights.

Is this something you just have to try and see if you can handle? What would your advice be for me?

Also, I keep hearing people mention they have a "rotating schedule", what exactly does this mean?

Thanks everyone, I realize it'll be a while before I'd actually have to deal with this (i haven't even applied to nursing school yet!), but it's something that makes me hesitant about nursing as a career. Also, I might try and get a part-time CNA or PCA job, and this would probably come up for that too.

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

Rotating shifts (working day shift for x-number of days, then switching to night shift for x-number of nights, and then back to days again) is a blueprint for disaster for anyone suffering from any sort of mental illness. You'd be better off working straight days, or even straight nights, than getting acclimated to one shift and then throwing your system into upheaval by switching to the opposite shift.

That said, days are usually the best choice for most people with mood/anxiety disorders. Our bodies generally were not designed to function well during the nighttime hours, and for people with depression, anxiety, and so forth, working nights really upsets our natural circadian rhythms; in other words, we're fighting our own biology. That, of course, serves only to promote flare-ups of the mood disorder and make things worse.

Obviously, there are exceptions to every rule. I have a friend who suffers from bipolar disorder like me, and she cannot endure day shift to save her soul---she can't handle the noise or the constant distractions. So she's learned how to sleep soundly during the daytime by putting her cell phone in the other room, using blackout curtains, and using a floor fan to create 'white noise' which blocks out the sounds of the daytime world. And she functions just fine at her job---in fact, she was recently offered a promotion. Unfortunately, it was an 8-5 day position, and she turned it down. :(

Wishing you the best of luck in your academic and nursing career. And WELCOME TO ALLNURSES.COM!!! :yelclap:

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