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New to working overnights

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by CamMc CamMc (Member) Member

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So, I'm not a nurse yet, but I feel like this question applies to any level of nursing/healthcare, but please move if needed. I have just accepted a position as a behavior technician at a behavioral health hospital in my area. My shift will be 3 12's, overnights, from 7pm-7:30a. I am really looking forward to this, it will be my first job in the hospital setting and have always had a desire to work overnights. I wouldn't say that I'm really a morning or a night person. My current job that I will be leaving I start at various times, either 7am, 8am, 6am, or 9am typically waking up about 1.5-2hrs before my start time and I generally go to sleep around the same time most nights somewhere between 10pm if I'm being really good, but usually closer to 11 or 12pm. The full-time job I work  9 hour days except for Friday and then I typically do two hours of DoorDash (food delivery) a couple days a week right after work, then more hours on Saturday. My biggest concern is that we don't have a set schedule, we get to request what days we want off each month, so I know there's a good chance I won't always work the same days each week to get into a good pattern. We also rotate one weekend on.

So one of my first questions, which I forgot to ask the recruiter, is there a standard for what is considered "weekends" for the night shift? Is it Friday and Saturday night or Saturday and Sunday night? 

My other concern, while I will be giving up my full-time job to take this position, I have a part-time position where I am a caregiver for a boy with multiple needs. I can't afford to have just my full-time job (I have way too much debt to just work one job). So I watch him on Sundays from 9am-6pm and Wednesdays from 4:30pm-7:30pm. I have let his mom know that I will do what I can to keep it so that I have Wednesdays or at least one night a week pretty regularly available to help out with dinner time for him and I figure the one weekend a month I have to work weekends I can either do a shortened Sunday shift or work the whole shift right after a night shift at the hospital and have the next day completely off. I typically have about 2 or three hours in the afternoon while I'm with him where he naps and his parents are ok with me napping during that time.

Most advice I see about working nights is to go to your nights schedule across the board, but this would make it very hard to do my Sundays with him. Am I overthinking this? Do any others manage multiple jobs while working a night shift?

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Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

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19 minutes ago, CamMc said:

So, I'm not a nurse yet, but I feel like this question applies to any level of nursing/healthcare, but please move if needed. I have just accepted a position as a behavior technician at a behavioral health hospital in my area. My shift will be 3 12's, overnights, from 7pm-7:30a. I am really looking forward to this, it will be my first job in the hospital setting and have always had a desire to work overnights. I wouldn't say that I'm really a morning or a night person. My current job that I will be leaving I start at various times, either 7am, 8am, 6am, or 9am typically waking up about 1.5-2hrs before my start time and I generally go to sleep around the same time most nights somewhere between 10pm if I'm being really good, but usually closer to 11 or 12pm. The full-time job I work  9 hour days except for Friday and then I typically do two hours of DoorDash (food delivery) a couple days a week right after work, then more hours on Saturday. My biggest concern is that we don't have a set schedule, we get to request what days we want off each month, so I know there's a good chance I won't always work the same days each week to get into a good pattern. We also rotate one weekend on.

So one of my first questions, which I forgot to ask the recruiter, is there a standard for what is considered "weekends" for the night shift? Is it Friday and Saturday night or Saturday and Sunday night? 

My other concern, while I will be giving up my full-time job to take this position, I have a part-time position where I am a caregiver for a boy with multiple needs. I can't afford to have just my full-time job (I have way too much debt to just work one job). So I watch him on Sundays from 9am-6pm and Wednesdays from 4:30pm-7:30pm. I have let his mom know that I will do what I can to keep it so that I have Wednesdays or at least one night a week pretty regularly available to help out with dinner time for him and I figure the one weekend a month I have to work weekends I can either do a shortened Sunday shift or work the whole shift right after a night shift at the hospital and have the next day completely off. I typically have about 2 or three hours in the afternoon while I'm with him where he naps and his parents are ok with me napping during that time.

Most advice I see about working nights is to go to your nights schedule across the board, but this would make it very hard to do my Sundays with him. Am I overthinking this? Do any others manage multiple jobs while working a night shift?

"Weekends" can be Friday and Saturday or Saturday and Sunday. You'd have to clarify that with the facility.

A set schedule is very unlikely ...especially being the new one on the unit. You can request days off, but so can everyone else. Don't count on actually working your preferred days.

As far as how to manage time, what each person can tolerate varies greatly. Flipping back and forth between days and nights would kill me, but some people do it with very little difficulty.
 

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If you have not worked Night shift before, you will find out soon enough whether you are a night owl.

Sleep is a huge priority when you are asking your body to go from its natural sleep-wake cycle to one that is completely opposite. 

As for working what sounds like 3 jobs, I wish you the best.  Hopefully, it is just you, not young children or others dependent upon you.

Must you pay your debt down so quickly that you must work so much?

I guess you will just need to try the new work plan and see how it goes.  You can re-adjust accordingly.  Good luck, keep us posted.

I don't like the idea of you napping while the patient is napping.  What if he wakes up before you?  Who's watching him then?  And if anything bad happens, Mom won't hesitate to come after you legally.

People need a certain amount of sleep.  Please see that you get it.

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by davg New Member

davg specializes in Patient Care Tech.

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I am not nurse yet myself but a Patient Tech. I really enjoy the Night Shift. It way awesome then my teaching job. 😊

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Clarify with the facility before you accept any position.  Ask what their rotation is if any.  

I worked nights as a psych nurse.  Do you have any kids?  Young ones?  Or spouse?  Believe me, it’ll suck.  I had two toddlers and was preggo and had my baby all while working nights.  Our facility was 8 hours, with Friday nights and Saturday nights being considered the weekend.  It would be a 3 on, 2 off, 7 on, 2 (weekend) off.  Repeat.  They also offer 10 hour shifts 4 days a week, or a 7 on and 7 off.  Every other weekend was required, as it typically is for inpatient facilities.  Many days, you’ll feel like all you do is eat, sleep, go to work, repeat.  Good luck 

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17 hours ago, Sour Lemon said:

"Weekends" can be Friday and Saturday or Saturday and Sunday. You'd have to clarify that with the facility.

A set schedule is very unlikely ...especially being the new one on the unit. You can request days off, but so can everyone else. Don't count on actually working your preferred days.

As far as how to manage time, what each person can tolerate varies greatly. Flipping back and forth between days and nights would kill me, but some people do it with very little difficulty.
 

Thanks, that is what I figured, but wanted to see if there was any typical pattern for what weekends would be, I will reach out to the recruiter for clarification. Yeah, I asked the woman interviewing me, who will be my supervisor, if people typically try to do 3 in a row or varied and she said it varies. I know they also told me there are several techs who prefer to work the weekends, so there's a chance that even though we have the rotations I may be able to switch with someone. The recruiter implied that it should be easy for them to work around a conflict i have, I am on a dance company and we practice on Friday nights, I won't continue to do the company past our show at the beginning of December, but i'm hoping to be able to finish out this season, and the recruiter said they do really try to work with employees about the schedule and there are apparently an A group and B group and each takes turns picking first for days off for the next month. I know as a new person I'm likely not to get my first pick, however, I'm will do whatever I need to do to make this work. Just trying to work out what I can mentally prepare for now. I feel like I do pretty well adapting to an already hectic and not super consistent schedule, so I'm hoping I will be one who is fine. Thanks for the input! 🙂

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17 hours ago, Kooky Korky said:

If you have not worked Night shift before, you will find out soon enough whether you are a night owl.

Sleep is a huge priority when you are asking your body to go from its natural sleep-wake cycle to one that is completely opposite. 

As for working what sounds like 3 jobs, I wish you the best.  Hopefully, it is just you, not young children or others dependent upon you.

Must you pay your debt down so quickly that you must work so much?

I guess you will just need to try the new work plan and see how it goes.  You can re-adjust accordingly.  Good luck, keep us posted.

I don't like the idea of you napping while the patient is napping.  What if he wakes up before you?  Who's watching him then?  And if anything bad happens, Mom won't hesitate to come after you legally.

People need a certain amount of sleep.  Please see that you get it.

Thanks, I feel like regardless of whether I'm a night owl or not, I think this is good practice because I know that often new nurses are offered night shifts, so I will likely end up working nights at some point, I think it's good to get a feel for it now. 

Yeah, I know that it can be hard to adjust the sleep schedule, I'm hoping the fact that I'm pretty easily able to fall asleep regardless of conditions around me (lights on, middle of the day, with noise, etc) that I should hopefully be able to adjust. 

I've been working at least two jobs for at least 5 years now, so I think I would be lost without having so much to do. It is just me, I have a dog, but I also have a roommate who is willing and able to help out if really needed, but my dog is pretty low maintenance. Luckily my third job of doing door dash isn't something anyone is making me do, it's solely for me to have peace of mind that I will have the means to cover all my bills and get food/gas and necessary items. Unfortunately, there isn't any room for me to slow down on paying off debt, at my current job, the one I'm leaving my monthly take-home pay doesn't cover all of my minimum balances and the necessities, I'm about $200 under the bare minimum and that's not counting food and gas budget. With my second job added in, I can make enough to cover all the minimums and my food/gas/other expenses, but that only gives me $100-200 extra to put to going over the minimum payments on any of my credit cards. I'm following a snowball method and have gotten my credit card usage to only the very rare usage, but I am working as hard as I can to have my credit card debt paid off before I begin or just as I begin nursing school, which should be in 2 years. I know that I will need to cut back working when I'm in nursing school so there is a big push from me to get this handled before then. Unfortunately, my new job pays a little over $1/hr less than my current job, so there is absolutely no room for me to cut back on hours from my second job without making it up somewhere else. 

Thanks, I appreciate your concern about the client I work with. He is in a safety bed that is zipped up so he can't get out if he should wake before I heard him. If I do nap, I am sleeping in the adjacent room. He is 7, but non-verbal and can be self-injurious (head-banging, hitting his head), the standing directions from his mom is to only enter his room if he is screaming/crying, otherwise, his mom is confident in his safety. When I do fall asleep I set alarms to wake myself about every 15 minutes so I don't fall into a deep sleep. I've been working with the family for 5 years now and there is a great deal of trust, so it would take something very major for his mom to come after me legally. I do see where your concern is coming from though, so again, I appreciate your concern.

I will be sure to keep you all updated, I appreciate all the input! 🙂

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18 hours ago, davg said:

I am not nurse yet myself but a Patient Tech. I really enjoy the Night Shift. It way awesome then my teaching job. 😊

That's awesome! I'm glad you are enjoying it!

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15 hours ago, GeminiNurse29 said:

Clarify with the facility before you accept any position.  Ask what their rotation is if any.  

I worked nights as a psych nurse.  Do you have any kids?  Young ones?  Or spouse?  Believe me, it’ll suck.  I had two toddlers and was preggo and had my baby all while working nights.  Our facility was 8 hours, with Friday nights and Saturday nights being considered the weekend.  It would be a 3 on, 2 off, 7 on, 2 (weekend) off.  Repeat.  They also offer 10 hour shifts 4 days a week, or a 7 on and 7 off.  Every other weekend was required, as it typically is for inpatient facilities.  Many days, you’ll feel like all you do is eat, sleep, go to work, repeat.  Good luck 

At this point I have already accepted the position, I know enough about the position to believe it will work for me, just trying to mentally prepare for what else might need to change. From what I asked the interviewer/my new supervisor, there doesn't seem to be a set rotation for the days worked, just that we work one weekend a month. She said all of the techs are broken up into an A team and a B team and each team rotates picking first for the next month. I don't have any kids, spouse, or any relationships, I'm basically married to my work. I know the shifts are 12 hours 3 days a week. From what I asked there isn't a standard of whether people do 3 days in a row or a varied schedule. I feel like I'm already in that mindset of all I do is eat, sleep, go to work, so I'm not too worried about that. I think the biggest thing I'm struggling with mentally is I keep thinking that only working 3 days means I'm going to have so much free time during the day, forgetting that I do need to sleep sometime. I'm sure I will get it all figured out and at this point all I can do is wait and see what happens once I begin, but trying to get a feeling if there are any tips that will help me be prepared. Thanks for the input!! 🙂

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AnnieNP has 20 years experience as a MSN, NP and specializes in Adult Primary Care.

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Congratulations on the new job, you sound like a very hard worker!!!  Best of luck to you.

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