PLEASE HELP... starting the night shift - page 2
Well, I landed my dream job, an L&D nurse, and I am finally coming off my orientation, which my institution had me on for 7 months (they were wonderful!) Anyway, the only way I could get this job was... Read More
Feb 1, '07Occupation: RN Specialty: * Cardiology * Oncology * Medsurge RN ; Joined: Dec '06; Posts: 1,220; Likes: 855If you're reckless and brave, try staying up til 8'clock pm on your first day off after a string of 3 nights...makes your night shift not such a big biter of your free time. Activity and coffee help with this! Do not drive, I repeat definitely do not drive while sleep deprived lol.Last edit by CaLLaCoDe on Feb 1, '07
Feb 1, '07Occupation: Family Nurse Practitioner/Registered Nurse Specialty: 8 year(s) of experience in primary care, pediatrics, OB/GYN, NICU ; From: US ; Joined: Nov '05; Posts: 265; Likes: 18love all the great tips. I too am going to be off my 6 month orientation to L&D soon, but I can't wait to be on nights! Day shift is really hard for me - too early in the morning to get up and function, too noisy, too many visitors. Someone said the night shift brings a calm to it...I definitely notice it when they come on duty. I am really looking forward to joining them. I will be working every sat/sun night. I have done nights before and liked them. I don't get anymore sleep on dayshift than nightshift when working twelve's. I actually lost weight on nights. So, I'm all ready to go with room darkening thermal curtains, my face mask and my industrial strength ear plugs!
Feb 2, '07Specialty: 10 year(s) of experience in NICU, PICU, MNICU ; Joined: Jun '06; Posts: 79; Likes: 11Quote from cinthernThey are "Leight sleepers" brand, but the key things are that they are soft foam (you pinch and roll them so they fit in the ear canal) and they have a noise reduction rating of 32 decibels. Hope that helps!Thanks to all have answered me. I appreciate it SO much. Just a few questions: Kate, you said you have earplugs that work great, what brand are they? And all of you on the night shift, whats the best way to work, do your 3 in a row? Spread them out? Please let me know. Again, thanks, you are all a GOD SEND!
Feb 2, '07Joined: Oct '05; Posts: 95; Likes: 7I stay up all night the night before I go back to work. I will usually just read or surf the Internet. I can't really get any housework done because I don't want to wake up my husband or daughter.
I can't work (and function effectively) on just a 2 or 3 hour nap before working a 12 hour shift. I have to get a full day's sleep.
I usually get home around 0830, eat, read a little and then fall asleep around 0930 or 1000. If I don't eat something before bed, I find I wake up too early because I am hungry. If I don't have to go back to work that night, I only sleep about 3-4 hours so I can sleep that night.
As for sleeping during the day, I have heavy navy blue curtains. The edges are thumb tacked to the walls on the sides to keep the sunlight out. Over the top I have navy blue fabric "swagged" around the curtain rod to block out any light from leaking in above the curtains. I hear lining your window with aluminum foil works well, but I think my homeowner's association would probably not approve.
Turn your phone off and let your answering machine pick up. Some people who don't work nights don't understand how it is just as important for you to sleep during the day as it is for them to sleep at night.
White noise such as a fan helps to block out the sounds around you.
If it is sunny outside when you get off, put your sunglasses on before you leave the hospital. I find that sometimes the bright sunlight would "re-energize" me and I would be wide awake by the time I got home.
I have worked all shifts throughout my nursing career. Nights is by far my favorite shift.
Feb 2, '07Joined: Dec '06; Posts: 56; Likes: 3Wow, these are great tips and advice! Thanks so much for asking Cinthern, as I too, have landed a dream job -- on nights. Thanks for asking because I was wondering about how do you work your shifts? Do you spread them out or work all 3 in a row? I am currently getting oriented during days and probably wont go to nights until beginning of March. This will be a new experience for me but I am hoping it will work out for me and the family.
Feb 2, '07Joined: Oct '05; Posts: 95; Likes: 7Quote from Jme2007Spreading out your nights or working them all together seems to be personal preference. Working three nights in a row can be tough, but having four in a row off is nice.Wow, these are great tips and advice! Thanks so much for asking Cinthern, as I too, have landed a dream job -- on nights. Thanks for asking because I was wondering about how do you work your shifts? Do you spread them out or work all 3 in a row? I am currently getting oriented during days and probably wont go to nights until beginning of March. This will be a new experience for me but I am hoping it will work out for me and the family.
One thing I think most night shift folks would agree on is you don't want to work one, off one, work one, off one. While this may be necessary sometimes due to holidays or vacations, you don't want this to be your norm. One night off doesn't really seem like a night off because of your sleep.
Feb 2, '07Joined: Jan '06; Posts: 561; Likes: 355I have found that I'm fine working nights as long as I always sleep at the same times. When I try to switch back to a normal sleep (nights) during off days my sleep gets completely messed up. I'm not a nurse yet, but was working a 4 10 hour day shift where I did two evening then two nights all in a row. I never got used to switching my schedule by 5 hours between the first two shifts and the last two shifts. However, I'm fine when I work all overnights and can sleep during the same times everyday. I know most people here recommended only sleeping a few hours after your last day for the week, but I know I wouldn't be able to do that.
The biggest thing is listen to what your body is telling you. I like to sleep from 9:00am to 5:00pm, but others employees sleep from 3:00pm to 10:00pm (they start at 11:00pm). Follow some of the tips here and figure out what works for you and your family. It takes some getting used to, but I'm sure you'll be fine. And it sounds like you have a great job and that will definitely help make work less work!
Feb 2, '07Specialty: 5 year(s) of experience in Telemetry, Nursery, Post-Partum ; Joined: Sep '06; Posts: 220; Likes: 22I've been doing nights for 4+ years now and I love it. Absolutely hate getting up for day shift, I hate the feel of days...everyone is so tense all the time, its just too much. You will love night shift! Here's what I do (or try to): I try to work my 3 nights in a row, its easier to just get them out of the way. I also try to follow a two week pattern, the first week I work Thurs, Fri, Sat, the second Sun, Wed, Thursday. That way I get my weekend requirements in, and get a big break every couple of weeks. But by the end of the strech of days, I'm pretty tired, and it gets hard. As far as sleep goes, I sometimes wear earplugs, but I try not to because they bug my ears. My first night back to work I try to stay up late the night before and sleep in as long as possible. And if I can't sleep I just lay in bed reading, hoping to catch at least a small nap. The other days I might run an errand or two (the best to time to go to walmart or the grocery store is 7:30am!) but try to be home and in bed by 9am, asleep by 9:30 to 10 and try to sleep till 4:45. Doesn't always happen, but its a good thought.
Feb 2, '07Occupation: L&D RN Specialty: 10 year(s) of experience in L&D ; From: US ; Joined: Aug '06; Posts: 101; Likes: 27I'm a new grad on L&D, and just started on nights two weeks ago. It has been far better than I thought it would be. I'm anal too, and I constantly worried how I would be able to sleep during the day.
On my first night, I try to take a nap before I have to go in. Try to pace yourself with your eating. I know people tend to overeat on nights, but I have been so busy that sometimes I'm not sitting down to eat my dinner until 0400, and by then I feel so weak and tired from hunger. Stay hydrated! Try to drink at least a liter of water during your shift if you can.
Most of the nurses on my unit combine their two breaks with their 30 minute lunch so they can go and sleep for an hour. I don't do this b/c I think I'd feel more tired afterwards, but it works for some.
When I get home I have a bowl of cereal, then immediately get ready for bed. I have a blackout shade underneath my curtains, and this makes my room pretty dark. Darkness is necessary for good sleep--if your room has too much light you'll have a hard time staying asleep and getting through all the sleep stages. I unplug my landline and silence my cell phone.
The people I know who have a hard time with nights are the ones who try to catnap during the day and then do too many things. Good luck!