Jump to content

nursing confessional

by mantisrn mantisrn (New) New

I must start by saying I' m so grateful. I have a job in a notoriously rough city to be hired in. It' s at a very cushy private hospital. I make an amazing salary, my coworkers are awesome, I have good tuition reimbursement if I go for my NP, and the management seems to like me- relatively low pressure, pretty good support, etc. There are things I don't like about the way the hospital is run and the work is so boring I'm afraid I'm losing my nursing skills, but all that seems idealist and frankly kind of petty crap right now because...

I work night shift!!! I. Hate. It. I'll spare you the details of the politics behind how and why I got this shift. The important thing is that I'm on it with no hope of getting off until I hit my year in July and put in for a possible transfer. In the meantime, I hate the person I've become. I'm desperate with exhaustion. I spend so much time sleeping I have no life anymore. I don't have the energy to exercise. I eat poorly and am seemingly always on a low blood sugar rage. when I'm awake I am mean to my fiance and short tempered with my stepdaughter. I am depressed and swing between fits of sobbing and rage. I just came out of a spell where I felt suicidal. I know this is all from lack of sleep/vampiric lifestyle. I'm so brain- fogged at work I made two med errors this week. Every time I pass a med I'm in terror.

If this job were less cushy I' d already be looking for a new one. But the market is HELL since the storm wiped out three of our biggest facilities. I' m lucky to even have work right now. should I see my manager and ask what can be done or do I just bide my time until I can (hopefully) find another job here where I live? And in the meantime, how do I take care of myself and my family???

Nurse ABC

Has 14 years experience.

Not everyone can handle nightshift! It's ok but you do need to talk to your manager and tell him/her nights isn't working out and see if there is any other positions you can switch to. Be prepared for them to say no. If so, start applying elsewhere. A lot of places will let you transfer departments in only six months so other places may not think twice if you're already looking. Maybe try sticking to the nightshift schedule on your days off as well if you can. In the worst case scenario-just remember you're already half way through your year!

BloomNurseRN, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in CMSRN. Has 10 years experience.

I am definitely NOT trying to give medical advice here (I would NOT do that, especially as that would violate the site rules) but have you considered you may be suffering from Shift Work Sleep Disorder? It can cause the irritability and depression you describe. This is an article that talks about the signs, symptoms and treatments. Avoiding Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWD) On the Night Shift: Tips for Better Sleep

Obviously I can't say that this is definitely your problem but if there is truly no hope of getting off of night shifts maybe some of the things this article covers could be of help to you. Good luck!

prmenrs, RN

Specializes in NICU, Infection Control. Has 42 years experience.

That article had some great tips to help you cope w/nights. Try them. Put your sunglasses on before you leave the building-if sunlight hits your retina, it resets your body clock. To stay alert on the way home, try eating an apple or carrots or something else healthy and crunchy. Caffeine is great @ the beginning of the shift, go de-caf after ~ 2am. Don't know how many floors your hospital has, but try walking up them during a break. Our hosp had 11, we were on the 2nd floor. Great workout!

Brainstorm w/your co-workers and be creative. You can survive nights!!

I just came off nights and evenings - while I was very grateful to get the shifts (I also live in an area where jobs are scarce) I absolutely hated it also. I felt pretty much as you did - slept way more than I should have been, short-tempered and foggy feeling ALL the time. I think some people are just not able to adapt themselves to these shifts, I know I wasn't. I was able to get a full time position today with day shift hours and I'm looking forward to getting out of my funk ;). Since nights are harder to fill then days I would imagine you'll have to stick it out until July but I would keep looking elsewhere too in case something does come up. Good luck!

and definitely speak with your manager - it can't hurt and she'll be aware in case a position on days opens up.

I really appreciate all the feedback. I'm pretty sure I have Shift Work Disorder and should probably go get a differential dx in case a Dr's note would make any difference to my manager. I've been doing some of the things the article mentions. I've been looking for jobs but a year of experience is the standard around here. I'm also thinking of applying to Dr' s offices just to get back on a 9-5 schedule. I've committed to B complex vitamins and acupuncture, so hopefully I'll start feeling a little better physically. I was unprepared for this, it doesn't touch the exhaustion of an accelerated nursing program. It is good to know that, as one of my coworkers says, "you're not crazy, your'e just a night nurse."