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Night Shift For Newbies

Nurses Article   (226,506 Views 78 Comments 1,051 Words)
by Ruby Vee Ruby Vee, BSN (Member) Nurse Verified

Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN .

11 Followers; 64 Articles; 169,017 Visitors; 13,798 Posts

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Not everyone LIKES night shift, but all of us can survive it and many (if not most) of us have to work it at one time or another. Here's how to survive. You are reading page 4 of Night Shift For Newbies. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

07302003 has 4 years experience and works as a RN.

3,857 Visitors; 142 Posts

Don't worry new grads - night shift is awesome. I started out on evenings, went to days, then nights because I wanted to switch to ICU. Barely any families like on days, to distract you. No administrators. Bend all the rules. And actually do good patient care, undistracted. LOVE IT!

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pmshiftrn works as a Registered Nurse.

1,906 Visitors; 25 Posts

Thank you all for your tips and suggestions. Am a day person and am just about to start my nursing career as a night nurse. This will all be helpful to me.

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nursemelyn works as a Psychiatric RN.

1,988 Visitors; 32 Posts

Love this article - I read it before I started FT nights in Psych. And I love nights! No administration, no "extra" staff, etc! I work 1500-0700 twice a week and 2300-0700 once a week. Since these aren't all bunched together (thank goodness), here is what I do: The day I work, I sleep in extra late. Easy because I don't have any kids and my husband is in medical school so he doesn't bother me. Work all night, drinking LOTS of water to stay hydrated, and eating healthy (i.e. yogurt, fruit, nuts, leftover dinners, veggies). I work on a unit with only 8 pts so I get my work done early and read the rest of the night or play sudoku to stay awake lol :) Then, once I'm done with my shift, I keep drinking water so that I have to pee, because I can't fall asleep while having to pee. I have to drive 40 minutes home, so this helps tremendously! I also listen to loud music, like Lady Gaga, and sing the whole way home. Sometimes when I'm absolutely exhausted I'll call my husband to talk me home. If I don't have work that night, I'll sleep til about 1300 and then get up and go to bed around 2330. If I am working that night, I'll take some Melatonin, wear a face mask, turn the fan on high, and draw my blackout curtains. I usually can sleep til 1630 and then I'll get up and go about my day as normal. Hope this helps someone!

Melyn, RN

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Old and New has 3 years experience and works as a local regional medical center.

2,714 Visitors; 69 Posts

I work 12 hour night shifts and I also live in a place that has no night life so I switch back during my days off. What I do is sleep about 6 hours on my first day off, then get up and spend the evening with family/friends. Then I go to bed at the regular time and get up at the regular time. On the last day, I get up for a few hours in the morning, then get about 4/5 hours nap before I go back to work. Black out curtains, a TV or a fan and some family and friend training are necessary, but this works pretty well for me. When I need to sleep and don't want to, I use Rapid Sleep PM, which is a combination of valerian root and melatonin sold at Walgreens (among other places). It works very quickly, and leaves no hangover. Good luck working the night shift. Remember, the bonuses for working that shift are: 1) no politics or bigwigs, 2) better pay and 3) a little downtime here and there.

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RoxanneBB has 2 years experience and works as a LTC RN.

2,400 Visitors; 38 Posts

Thank you so much for your article. And to those who posted their experiences/ideas. I am starting the nursing program in the Spring and I am thinking into the future. I can taste it. I can't wait to be a nurse.

After reading your article I think I have already decided I will want to work night shift. I am a night owl and even if I have to wake up really early, I cannot get to bed earlier than 2-3 AM. So, I think night shift will be great. When I was younger I used to bartend and I loved going home to bed when everyone was just waking up to go to their morning shifts. I also have a daughter who will be in school by the time I start working, so it will be great to be able to fix breakfast for her and get her ready for school before I go to bed and then be able to have dinner with the family. Yaaayyyy. I can't wait.

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6,691 Visitors; 146 Posts

i just passed my boards and have a night position (7p-7a) on hold for me at the hospital i currently work at. the two days before i actually start orienting on nights, what should i do? the night before should I stay up as late as possible then sleep during the day (10a-5p) before going into work??

how many hours of sleep during the day time do u guys recommend before going into work?

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nursemelyn works as a Psychiatric RN.

1,988 Visitors; 32 Posts

i just passed my boards and have a night position (7p-7a) on hold for me at the hospital i currently work at. the two days before i actually start orienting on nights, what should i do? the night before should I stay up as late as possible then sleep during the day (10a-5p) before going into work??

how many hours of sleep during the day time do u guys recommend before going into work?

The night before I work I go to sleep at a normal time (like 2300 or 2330) and then sleep in as late as I can the day I work. Then the whole day that I work, I just stay up and sleep when I get home. It is pulling a whole 24 hours sometimes, but I'm able to get a lot more done this way than if I stayed up late. I used to work nights every weekend during nursing school and would stay up, but it wore me out!

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onepowerfullady works as a Licensed Practical Nurse.

1 Article; 4,729 Visitors; 76 Posts

Im almost sure I have to hit nights! Thanks for sharing!

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4,239 Visitors; 321 Posts

Nights are GREAT! More money, less craziness. What more could I ask for? ;) For me, somehow waking up at 5 pm is not half as bad as waking up at 5 am! I could never be to work early on a day shift, but coming in early on a night shift is no problemo even though I sleep less.

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HeartsOpenWide works as a "Birth Center" Staff Nurse.

2 Articles; 26,352 Visitors; 2,889 Posts

I was just offered a new job on a night shift position. The job pays 12 more an hour; which should be a big incentive...but I did really poorly on night shift when I first worked as a nurse. I only lasted 9 months. Fortunately a day shift opened because I was on the verge of disability. The differences area that when I worked night shift I worked 8hrs instead of 12s; so more nights spend on night shift...I was depressed because I never got to see my friends, family, or the sun (because where I live the weather is really cloudy/foggy). This new place that is offering me a job is union and it can be years before a day shift opens. I am trying to tell myself I can do it this time because this job would be 12hrs/3days a week instead of 8hrs/five days a week; and its in a different area of the state where it is sunny all the time (which I am still deciding if this is good or bad....good because I will have the change to see the sun on my day off, or bad because its harder to sleep with the sun out). I am running out of time on having to give them my decision and I am super scared! I love my job now, but this one is in a much more affordable area to live, pay is way better, weather is better, and my husband really wants to move (although he wont be able to come with me full time right away because he has his own business he will have to try and transfer). I wish I could wave a magic wand that would tell me the right thing to do

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11,590 Visitors; 798 Posts

I returned to night shift after trying it unsuccessfully years ago (lasted about 5 months), and it was 12 hour shifts just like I'm doing now. Back then, however, my schedule was far worse - on/off, with mandatory overtime/"call" shifts - so I thought it would be better now. As I found out, it is not. But this may be because I have young children now, which I did not in my previous job.

That said, you're not me (or anyone else who may reply). If I had no kids, and could sleep when I wanted, I think this could work quite well (as it is, I have put in for day shift, which will take a while). I only get $2/hr more for nights, ridiculous I know, but typical in a non-union facility/state. $12/hour - I think I would put up with anything (well, not quite ;))

Of course, no one can make this decision for you, but I think you have some good reasons to give it a try. All the best to you!

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HeartsOpenWide works as a "Birth Center" Staff Nurse.

2 Articles; 26,352 Visitors; 2,889 Posts

Thanks for your reply. I don't have any kids yet, but we are trying...

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