Published Oct 14, 2003
I am not yet a nursing student but plan to be next year at this time. I was curious how you all handled the dreaded night shift. Did it have a negative impact on your home life, and did you sleep most of the day on your days off? Are new grads expected to work this shift, or is it very possible to go in on a day shift?
I appreciate your input!
You'll probably be oriented to the unit on the day shift when you first work. Like most jobs, day shifts in nursing tend to be filled with the bulk of the job openings left to the evening and night shifts. However, it never hurts to look around.
I love the night shift. Less people (MD's) clammering around the unit, less phone calls; less interruptions; less chaotic in general. In the healthcare field, it is the ONLY shift I'll work.
Oh yea. . . the shift differential is usually much better for the night shift! Ca-ching! $$$$ :chuckle
teeituptom, BSN, RN
What I dont understand is how people handle the day shift.
Getting up early in the moring is good for one thing only, going golfing
Tweety, BSN, RN
Day shift starts way too early. Imagine getting up and being at work at 6:45????
We have plenty of new grads go onto to day shift. Depends on the needs at the time and the luck of the draw. Always express your preference. If you want the job bad enough to take any shift, then continually let management know your preference is days and you want days ASAP.
I've been on nights for a long time and have trouble being up during the day on days off. Most of the time unless I have something to do, I just sleep on days off, and do stuff in the evening and overnight. Fortunately, I belong to a gym that's open 24 hours, and there are plenty of 24 hour grocery stores and Walmart open to get errands done. Spouse works nights so that helps.
Many people can never adjust to night shift. It makes them ill. Lately after 11 years of nights, I'm finding it tiring. But still getting up at 5:00AM and working 12 hours would be equally exhausting so I'm staying on nights.
I love night shift for all the reasons mentioned above, I cannot imagine getting up at 5:30am to go to work...talk about torture. Night shift isn't as bad as everyone thinks, you spend very little time sitting down doing nothing and you can't see that it is night outside unless you purposely look out the window. Just because it is dark out does not mean it is quiet inside, give nights a chance and you may love it!
Funny thing is that when I work 7-3 I had a problem falling asleep when I was driving home. I work 7p-7a and I never have a problem.
I had another co-worker tell me that nights was doing me good. I think because I look nicer. I did 7a-7p for 4 yrs and I would always have my cloths ready before I went to bed. I would wake up at the last minute ( love the snooze button ). Shower, pull my hair back, no make-up and off to work I was. Getting there @ 2 minutes to 7.
Now I sleep until 5:30p. I do my hair and make-up. I also get to work about a half hour early.
Actually I get more sleep when I work now then I did on days. I sleep from 9ish to 5ish now. Where before I was up until midnight and slept til 6a
VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN
If I had to work 12's, the night shift is the only way to go....no "suits", fewer docs, families & so on. There also tends to be a camaraderie on nights that day shift lacks, maybe because you have to work together so much of the time due to fewer staff. It can be very busy what with admissions and confused elderly pts who come off the spool after sundown (who says patients only SLEEP at night?) and you're left with all the "cleanup" chores that day shift either didn't get time to do or didn't bother with, e.g. checking the crash cart and glucometers, cleaning equipment etc. But of the two shifts, I'd take nights ANYTIME. It's unnatural to me to get up at 5:30 in the morning (IMO, that shouldn't even be on the clock) and be expected to have the cobwebs cleared out of my brain at an hour when my body fights being awake with every fiber of my being!
SKM-NURSIEPOOH, BSN, RN
ita with all of the above reasons and the fact that there are almost no procedures occurring on night shift. i know where my patients are & i don't have to worry about getting meds into them prior to them going off the floor while i have admissions & discharges at the same time! then there's the issue of meals: 7a-7p you'll have three (bfast/lunch/dinner)...on 7p-7a shift...there's just snacks (if any).
i find that injuries happen less at night as well. people are in the bed except for bathroom trips. if they require assistance, then they would just ring & we assist them. people tend to venture less during the night....they'll take more chances when they're more coherent & think they need us less.
the volume of meds are much less during the 7p-7a shift...but you'll have more patients to nsg over night. the other thing is that you'll be doing 24 hr chart audit/checks & doing so will allow you to learn more about orders, how certain docs orders, & how to input them should said order get skipped by mistake. you'll also learn how to assemble charts left over from day admission (if your hospital doesn't have u.s. after 8pm...mine don't).
i think the key thing about working this shift is maintaining your schedule during your off days! i personally don't come home & go to sleep right away. it would be like someone working 7a-7p going home & going directly asleep! i do many things up until 11am or 12 noon before going to sleep (4 or 5pm when working 11p-7am). i find sleeping straight through *is* key! sleeping for four hours then getting up & then taking another "nap" prior to going to work is difficult to say the least. i would suggest either sleeping 6-8 hrs straight either right before (my preference) or just after working the night shift.
at any rate....good luck in your endeavors!
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