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Night Shift Blues

Nurses   (225 Views | 1 Replies)
by JulesRN JulesRN (New) New Nurse

JulesRN specializes in RN.

16 Profile Views; 1 Post

Over the past six months, I’ve become aware of a problem. My mental health is drastically suffering from this job due to a lack of sufficient sleep. I’ve gone from being a confident, productive, motivated individual, full of joy, to a shell of my former self. I’m not sleeping more than 5 hours during the days after my night shifts and I’ve begun to accumulate quite the sleep debt. Before working night shifts, I was an emotionally stable human being. Now I’m emotionally liable and have signs of clinical depression.  I have difficulty making decisions on my days off, I’m constantly fatigued to the point where I have no energy to exercise. I struggle with feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, and pessimism. I’m an insomniac on my days/nights off and end up sleeping through the majority of my days off. I’ve lost interest in activities that used to be pleasurable such as swimming, going on walks, painting, and reading. I’ve lost 5 pounds off my already thin frame. I’m only eating two meals a day which increasingly consist of simple carbohydrates. I have no mental energy to fight off food cravings and make good healthy meals. I find myself feeling very restless and impulsive when I do have some energy. I leave work with a headache and wake up with a headache. I’ve had two migraine episodes where my vision has gone blurry and my nose has gone numb after working a string of nights. My stomach while working nights consistently grumbles from indigestion due to eating at odd hours. And I’m loosing my hair. It’s falling out in chunks. I can’t sleep due to anxiety and my relationship with my boyfriend is suffering because I’m an emotional mess. I got sick this winter and it took me a month to recover. I didn’t have these health issues before working nights and I miss my healthy, capable, life loving self. I’m obviously not coping with the stress of night shifts well and don’t know how much longer my body will tolerate it.

I love my job  and love working with my team. I want the chance to work in healthcare without sacrificing my own health. I want to be able to get off work and not feel as if I need to walk downstairs and admit myself into the emergency department.

The problem is I'm a new nurse and feel like working the night shift is my only option if I want to work on a Med Surg, Emergency, or ICU floor. Has anyone had success as a new nurse finding day shift jobs or had beneficial conversations with their managers that helped get them get onto dayshift? 

Edited by JulesRN

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Davey Do has 41 years experience and specializes in Psych, CD, HH, Admin, LTC, OR, ER, Med Surge.

15 Followers; 1 Article; 6,441 Posts; 80,407 Profile Views

Messing with one's circadian cycle can cause all the symptoms you described, JulesRN and I can commiserate.

My first nursing job, in my 20's, was at a LTC facilty working straight MNs. I suffered from insomnia, nightmares, and anxiety. I had one heck of a time switching back & forth from a MN work schedule to a personal day schedule. Luckily, I was offered a day/eve job at a hospital within a couple of months and didn't have to to deal with the symptoms of working a MN schedule.

Fast forward 20 years later when I accepted a straight MN position. I found that if I basically stayed on a MN schedule, I didn't have the difficulties that I once had. Granted, it was and is relatively easy for me since my wife works MNs and I've never had children.

It is theorized that our serotonin levels are at their lowest in the wee hours of the morning and that could be one reason why we have those depressive bouts and anxieties during that time.

Consulting with professionals, a therapist and a medical practitioner, could be a prudent move. There are homeopathic therapies and medications that could decrease or remedy these stressfully difficult situations. As we all know, stress can really take its toll.

Good luck and the very best to you, JulesRN!

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