Jump to content

night shift depression!

Posted
Blink2182 Blink2182 (New) New

SO I have been working nights for roughly 3 years now and it is starting to get to me. I have begun feeling depressed I don't want to do anything and to top it off I am making my fiance suffer for how I feel. She is on days and is also a nurse, I talked with my manager but she is going by first come first serve so the nurses that have been here 6 months get first dibs before me. I talked to her explained how I feel and my concerns. Due to my sudden mood change I haven't been sleeping...sometimes 6 days in a row but I refuse to take a sleeping med during the day I'd rather wake up early and spend the day with my fiance but that affects the nights I work. I have noticed taking less care in talking to patients, I've even skipped an assessment this is not how I used to be but I'm just so unmotivated she said it could be 6 months to a year before another day opens. I have now applied to floors with day spots that I actually hate (med surg, OR, Endo). Sadly though I'm desperate enough to the point where I will just smile through the hate and do it just to be on days. I don't want to feel like this but don't want to take antidepressants or anything like that. Also with the lack of sleep I am really concerned for my nursing care on my acute tele floor. Mistakes may be made and I won't be up to my full ability if need be. Please any advice would be great because I have run out of options except playing the wait and see which comes first day shift position, or patient error...

lilaclover6984

Has 5 years experience.

I can't really offer any suggestions because unfortunately I am in a very similar position. Ive been on full time nights for about 3 years now too and I can definitely feel it starting to get to me. Hopefully somebody can offer some good suggestions here...

marydc

Specializes in Psychiatry.

It sounds as if you are at the point it is affecting your job performance in a negative way. Not safe for you or the patients. If you are suffering from depression please don't completely rule out medication which may help you.

I had PPD many years ago and suffered needlessly for months because I just kept thinking it would get better. (I'm even a psychiatric nurse). After finally going to my doctor he put me on Zoloft. Within 3 months I felt like a new person. We then stopped it, the short term use was all I needed.

I also worked many years rotating from days to nights. About 2 years ago I got to the point that I couldn't sleep anytime, day or night. I was exhausted, worn down and depressed. My doctor diagnosed Shift Work Sleep Disorder. I went back on the Zoloft for a few months. He gave me a low dose (25 mg) of Trazodone for sleep. For those not familiar with Trazodone, it's an antidepressant but our doctors use it for sleep instead of your typical sleeping pills. Usually at of dose of 100-150 mg.

Again within a few months I was greatly improved. I was able to get a good 5-6 hrs of sleep without feeling like a zombie. Plus had the rest of the day to spend with my family.

I didn't mean to make this about me! Just wanted to tell you I know your pain and reluctance to take medication. I'm all for trying natural ways to improve your mood and sleep. If all other options have failed please talk to your doctor. Don't continue to put yourself and your patients at risk.

Hope a day shift job comes your way soon!

Tait, MSN, RN

Specializes in Acute Care Cardiac, Education, Prof Practice. Has 14 years experience.

I had trouble with depression on nights as well, even though I loved the shift. Especially after I got married because I felt like I was never in sync with my husband. I had to go to days when I got pregnant because my body couldn't handle it and after four years on nights I realized how messed up my body was. Some of us, unfortunately, just don't do well forever on nights :/

Best of luck figuring something out,

Tait

I also work nights and I have little to no energy on days off or even days on anymore. Unless and sometimes even if, I have less than 3 nights off in a row I just sleep and watch tv. Are you sure you feel like this just because you work nights? Day shift is so stressful to me , it was a diferent kind of miserable feeling. I would hate to try days, lose my night shift position and be even more miserable. How many nights a week do you work? Pointless to say but you need to sleep! Does your day shift nurse fiance stay awake all night after working to be with you ? (not to pry but that is a sore subject with me!) I reallly do not want to take any "psych" meds either but am getting to the point where if a pill and a lifelong psych label may make me feel better I might change my mind. doubtful but at least now I am considering it.

meanmaryjean, DNP, RN

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 40 years experience.

Exactly! You are (in part at least) doing this to yourself. You are making yourself and your fiance miserable AND endangering your patients. Turn around the am's for pm's in your sleep / wake cycle and ask yourself this: If a day shift nurse was doing what you are doing - sleep wise- how would you view it? Foolish and dangerous, right? Yet you continue to go without sleep and wonder why you feel terrible?

Start sleeping and see if things don't change.

If I sleep then I will never see my Fiance, and honestly I've gotten to the point where on nights I'm not too worried about patient safety, I did a day shift and covered for someone last week, felt amazing. I came home happy, I was amazing with my patients that day I did everything I could for them. I am now to the point where I am thinking of using FMLA as to not have to come to work some days of the week. It would really screw over my floor a bit but I feel like I am getting screwed over since 3 years seniority no longer matters. Thanks for all the suggestions though.

I just started on nights after spending most of my training on days. I hate it, so much. The people are nice and the teamwork is great, but I feel like my life is upside down. Before starting nights, I never spent a night apart from my husband in years and now.. And on my last shift, I forgot to put the last couple hours of output..

Just complaining is all! I'm going to ask to get on days ASAP.

Although this isn't true for everyone, you may want to check your vitamin D levels. I have been on nights for 3 years, and began feeling depressed, restless, emotional, stressed ect. Someone told me to get it checked so I went for a check up and it was critically low. I didn't think it would help with my depression, but it did. The first couple of weeks I could tell a huge difference, and the fact that it gave me more energy helped with my depression also. Like I said, not true for every night shift worker but it worked wonders for me!

meanmaryjean, DNP, RN

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 40 years experience.

If I sleep then I will never see my Fiance, and honestly I've gotten to the point where on nights I'm not too worried about patient safety, I did a day shift and covered for someone last week, felt amazing. I came home happy, I was amazing with my patients that day I did everything I could for them. I am now to the point where I am thinking of using FMLA as to not have to come to work some days of the week. It would really screw over my floor a bit but I feel like I am getting screwed over since 3 years seniority no longer matters. Thanks for all the suggestions though.

You're 'not too worried about patient safety'?????

If I sleep then I will never see my Fiance' date=' and honestly I've gotten to the point where on nights I'm not too worried about patient safety, I did a day shift and covered for someone last week, felt amazing. I came home happy, I was amazing with my patients that day I did everything I could for them. I am now to the point where I am thinking of using FMLA as to not have to come to work some days of the week. It would really screw over my floor a bit but I feel like I am getting screwed over since 3 years seniority no longer matters. Thanks for all the suggestions though.[/quote']

I know you love your fiancée but you should really be getting sleep. Try to coordinate your days off so you don't have to keep doing it to yourself.

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

You're 'not too worried about patient safety'?????

Um, yeah......I hope this statement means something different than what it seems to mean on the surface.

Although to be totally honest, I remember reaching a point when I was working 12-hour nights and by 0400, I found myself wishing all the patients were dead so I could go home and sleep! That's when I knew it was time to change shifts.....I was terrified that I might make a horrendous mistake and kill somebody in the midst of a foggy (brained) night.

Fortunately, with the help of management I was able to cobble together an eight-hour day/evening shift (11A-7P) that was both the best, and worst, of all possible worlds. I didn't have to work weekends, and I got to do a LOT of floating which kept me cross-trained to all areas of the hospital; the downside to it was that I did all of the admission and post-op assessments for med/surg, then I'd have to turn the patients over to other nurses at 1500 and be assigned to a whole new team for the last four hours of my shift.

THAT was horrible. I'd just get used to my admits and fresh post-ops, and then I had to take 5-6 brand-new patients I knew nothing about and do 8 hours' worth of work in only four.

But, I never went back to nights, although I did fill in very occasionally on a NOC shift when absolutely no one else would do it. Trouble was, a single graveyard shift threw me off for at least two full days afterwards and tended to make me ever-so-slightly manic, so both my doctor and my family forbade it for mental-health reasons and I haven't worked a night shift in almost three years.

I hope the OP finds the right solution to her/his problem; you've got to know things aren't going well when someone makes a careless statement such as "I'm really not too worried about patient safety". :eek:

I don't like to take pills either. However, I feel the patients have the right to expect a "well rested" night shift nurse. I take Benadryl 25mg and Motrin 600mg when I go to bed after working all night.

I have faced this situation for a long time, I get used to this. When i start doing work at night it's quite difficult my social life and health all these things a normal person have been just ruined but after sometime my life is just my work nothing else, I just cut off to the outside world which is not a good thing. Anyway working at night when everyone is taking rest at there bed and you are working it's really depressing thing. Some nurse in here in aged home works at night and i really feel pity for them.

I totally feel you. I've been on nights for the most part for over 3 years now. I've always been a night owl and I tend to adjust well, especially opposed to some people who literally just CANNOT do nights.

BUT. it doesn't mean that it doesn't get to me after awhile, or start to affect me, or make my quality of life less than what it could be.

When I started I was 23, I'm now almost 27 and Just in those few years, I'm more tired and just want to SLEEP at night....there's some kind of comfort knowing no matter what happens during the day you get to sleep in your bed at night. Except when you're on night shift.

my bf works evenings, but it'd be nice to see him awake before I sleep. I come home to him passed out in bed or the couch. He works til 2-3 am on weekends but on the weekends i can stay up if I want if I didn't work nights and had either every other weekend off like I do now or even every weekend.

What I'm finding, is after working a few different nursing jobs and shift lengths, I just might prefer something easy and chill with normal hours. I can say I got my feet wet and experienced hospital work, so maybe now I won't regret just going for an easier 9-5 job. Or I've thought 4 10 hr shifts during the day would be nice.

i think when you first start out as a nurse you think you HAVE to work in the hospital and be challenged. And honestly at one point that's what I NEEDED. To be challenged. I was dissatisfied with my job at the time for not using many skills. So if you feel that way I recommend getting your feet wet for a bit, then if you feel like taking it easier no shame!!

after 3 years on nights and going on 2 years in the hospital, med surg then NICU, and having experienced a couple other areas of nursing outside of the hospital, I just might look for something else eventually. Especially since a lot of people are ahead of me for days.

How I cope: usually a coffee on break gets me through. I typically fall asleep when I get home but is it quality sleep? I don't think so. I generally eat healthy and exercise but it's easy to slip up. I'm chronically tired on days off and it takes me forever to do simple chores or wash clothes. This seriously becomes a chronic issue in your life when things pile up. It affects your mental health when things are messy in your home or you feel like you spend a lot of time off cleaning or washing stuff instead of relaxing. I also feel like it's hard to take care of myself...finally on days off I can take a longer shower. Use face masks, give my hair attention. I swear part of the reason I still deal with breaking out at 26 is from working nights. I also try to get up at a decent time on days off and sometimes it's nice and other times I'm still so sleepy and I drag all day and am not productive. I do allow myself to do nothing on my first day off. I learned to give myself permission on that first day to either sleep in or get up earlier and just be a zombie so I can recover. Some days off I just accidentally end up sleeping late all week and that sucks cause there goes my day. I find myself picking between a shower, sleep, or eating even though I live super close to work...when you get home all you want to do is sleep still. Nights can be ok but also suck after awhile when it messes with your life and mental state.

itd be nice to get off work, and have time to actually eat, relax and do a load of laundry or clean something, AND sleep.

also the people on days at my job are kinda catty. Not all but a lot of them. And I do like how it's generally more chill at night. AND NO NOT ALWAYS. but that's why I think eventually I'd like to switch to a day job that's also not insane during the day.

Edited by tinybbynurse