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Nurse Writing Nook

Nurse Writing Nook BSN

NICU (neonatal)
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Nurse Writing Nook has 16 years experience as a BSN and specializes in NICU (neonatal).

Nurse Writing Nook's Latest Activity

  1. Nurse Writing Nook

    I'm Too Tired to Cry | Life of a Nurse

    That's a great way of putting it. I agree about the group support. Even though I've never been a fan of the debriefs or generic "we care about your mental health" crap that the hospital puts out there. I've been finding writing to be an outlet and just reading people's posts here in allnurses. You're right, find group support where we can find it. So true. It's our defense mechanism. We need to have that barrier, or otherwise we'd never survive.
  2. Nurse Writing Nook

    I'm Too Tired to Cry | Life of a Nurse

    Thank you so much for all your kind words, means a lot. I hope you're able to get some rest. Please take care of yourself.
  3. Nurse Writing Nook

    I'm Too Tired to Cry | Life of a Nurse

    Let’s go back to the beginning All of that crying started right out of nursing school. That first year of nursing was hard, but those first few months were incredibly tough. Three months of orientation and I would cry and/or throw up before each shift. Looking back, I realize now they were tears full of fear, the unknown, and dread. It decreased as time went on, thankfully. The tears of fear turned into tears of empathy. I spent 15 years taking care of fragile babies and their parents. Tears of joy. Tears of heartbreak. I’ve cried with mothers when they held their baby for the first time. I’ve cried with mothers when they held their baby for the last time. Tears of anger when parents didn’t act in the baby’s best interest by doing drugs or being neglectful. It was never my place to judge, but I cried for babies that we later found out died after being abused by parents. Tears of frustration, as we warned DCS to no avail. There were tears of disappointment when the manager’s response at times was “you can’t save everyone.” Years went by Tears went by. As the years wore on, I cried less. The job wasn’t easy, but it was comfortable. Each shift was different and had its challenges, but I knew the basic routine. Clock in, do my job, clock out. Rinse. Lather. Repeat. I took for granted the mundane shifts. The comfort. The familiarity. I took all that for granted until 2020. Covid brought with it a whole fresh stream of tears. More tears I had since that first year as a nurse, and then some. And, some more. And it ended with more tears than I ever thought possible. Why was it so hard? Especially in the NICU? Our babies didn’t have Covid. I shed tears though for Covid positive mothers that had their babies taken from them right after delivery and brought to our unit. These babies were term, healthy, and perfectly fine. Luckily, the CDC stopped recommending this barbaric practice after a few months, but it devastated me. I was heartbroken for those moms when all that was happening. We went from encouraging skin-to-skin directly after birth to whisking their babies away. Then placing them in an isolette and keeping them in a negative pressure room and away from their mothers. How traumatic. Things got better, then worse again, then better, and worse than it was at the start. We then had to float to adult units. Huh?! I’ve only ever worked in the NICU. Nope, didn’t matter. Talk about being thrown into the trenches. This was a whole new terror than even that first year as a brand new nurse. At least as a new nurse, I had a preceptor and support. Having to float to the adult units, though? Those nurses were way too busy and overwhelmed to be answering questions from someone that didn’t know what they were doing. “I’ve only ever cared for babies, where exactly do I put this adult thermometer?”….. “Anyone?”…… “Bueller?” Honestly, I’m laughing now when I think back to it. I was asking the patients themselves how to care for them. I’m thankful most of them were kind and understanding. I enjoyed talking with them and they seemed to enjoy the company since they couldn’t have visitors. Then there were the Covid units, ER, and ICU. So much death and pain. There were months that our unit was so slow, we were having to float to the adult units every week or two. Absolutely terrifying each time. I would cry ... then the tears stopped I would cry on my way to work. I would cry at work in the bathroom or stairwell. Or that one little quiet place right off the lobby by the big fish tank. I cried because I knew the shift would be terrible, and it always was. I never left those shifts saying “it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting!” Never. I anxiously dreaded it every time. And then one day, the tears just stopped. Did I just not have any more tears? I then realized I was just tired. Tired of working long shifts. Tired of not knowing what I was doing. Tired of being scared. Tired of working nights. Tired of seeing and hearing so many tragic stories. Tired of wearing a mask. Tired of wearing eye protection. Tired of getting my temp taken before every shift. Tired of having to go through a different entrance than I had the last 15 years. Tired of being so short-staffed all the time. Tired of a new policy today that will change tomorrow. Tired of the pain. Tired of being tired. Tired of crying. I’m too tired to cry. There are so many that have been through a lot more. Those that were and still are working on the frontlines in those units. Those that lost one or more loved ones. So much hurt and pain. Are you tired? Do you let the tears flow?
  4. Nurse Writing Nook

    Night Shift - What You Didn’t Learn in Nursing School

    Great points! I went out to breakfast with my parents a lot after my shift (last shift of the week, didn't have to go back that night). I got lunch and they got breakfast, it was perfect.
  5. Nurse Writing Nook

    Night Shift - What You Didn’t Learn in Nursing School

    Interesting! Even after 10 years. Have you tried switching it around and it just doesn't work?
  6. Nurse Writing Nook

    Night Shift - What You Didn’t Learn in Nursing School

    Same. That would be so terrible for your internal body clock. I'd be sick all the time!
  7. Nurse Writing Nook

    Night Shift - What You Didn’t Learn in Nursing School

    The rotating day/night shifts sounds terrible! I'd be a total mess 😂
  8. Nurse Writing Nook

    Night Shift - What You Didn’t Learn in Nursing School

    Do the other night shifters during the week not typically work their 3 in a row? We never had guaranteed schedules either, but they would try to keep the shift together for us if that's what we wanted. And luckily I worked with coworkers that would help out with trades if needed.
  9. Nurse Writing Nook

    When Will the Nursing Shortage Be Over?

    Exactly!! And mortal distress, they are literally working us to death 😪
  10. Nurse Writing Nook

    Night Shift - What You Didn’t Learn in Nursing School

    Yes! Many times I'd wake up in the afternoon with missed calls/texts from work. How did the masters program try to accommodate your schedule? Did they actually try or was it just their attempt to make themselves feel better?
  11. “We hope you’ll be able to make it to the birthday party Saturday. I know you work Saturday nights, but it’s at 2 pm, so you’ll have plenty of time before your shift starts. Hope to see you then!” “Sorry, but I also work Friday nights, so 2 pm will be right in the middle of my time in between shifts.” “Yeah, but you get off Saturday morning and then don’t have to be back to work until Saturday night, right? So you have ALL day off.” “Yeah! I’ll be sleeping during that time! When do you think night shift nurses sleep?” When do people think night shift nurses sleep? Do you ever run into this above scenario with friends and family? Working night shift for the last 15+ years, I’ve heard it all. People expect you to attend birthday parties, holiday parties, dinners with family, and other events. Even after explaining that you have to sleep, it’s hard for them to comprehend. Yet, if you schedule lunch at 2 in the morning, it would appall them. “BUT, I’ll be sleeping!” Exactly! The night shift: Why do we do it? The night shift is often the first shift most of us work as a new grad. But, some of us stay on it for years. Why? There are bad and good (yes, even good things about nights!) aspects to consider. Bad news first (the cons): Strain on family/relationships This can be a challenge, especially when you work nights for the first time. It’s especially difficult if you have a partner and family/friends that have never worked nights themselves. Going back to the above scenario, they will expect you to be at functions, without considering your sleep. They will have a hard time empathizing. They rarely do it to be mean, it’s just a genuine lack of understanding on their part. Be upfront with them and explain it. Protect your sleep! Communicate with them you are unavailable at certain times, and there is no compromise; be consistent with this. If everyone else in your household is on a day schedule, then working nights will limit your time together. You’re sleeping while they are working, and they’re sleeping while you are working. It can be a bummer and feel lonely. Working as a nurse, however, gives us the advantage of working three shifts per week. Enjoy those days off with your partner and family/friends. Go out during the day and live those days off like you’re a normal day person. Enjoy the sunshine with your loved ones, but don't forget your sunglasses, it's a bright world out there for night shift workers! Quality of Sleep Let’s face it, sleeping when the sun is up isn't natural, so our quality of sleep may suffer (you know, circadian rhythm and all). Also, dealing with bright light and noise are things that work against us while trying to sleep during the day. However, there are some measures that we can take to improve these things. I highly recommend investing in good blackout curtains, or at the very least, a sleep mask. Try to minimize as much noise as you can by not scheduling service people during your stretch of shifts, sending the kids to daycare, and reminding your family not to disturb you while you’re sleeping. That’s not always possible, so get a pair of earbuds or better yet, a good sound machine with white noise. Set your phone to “do not disturb” (you can allow calls from certain numbers even when in this mode - outstanding feature!). Again, protect your sleep! Downtime Sitting around watching movies, playing cards, reading books while eating junk food. Wait, what? No, not that downtime. I’m not talking about the downtime that some people think we have on the night shift since all the patients are sleeping all night - ha! In this case, I'm referring to downtime scheduled for upgrades or maintenance. Another part of the night shift is dealing with the downtime procedures for the EMR, phones, plumbing, power, generator re-load tests. Thankfully, these aren’t too common, but still another thing that just makes your shift that much more challenging during these times. Health Working nights can be especially bad for our health. There are many times we feel tired, exhausted, rundown, sick, or drained. Studies have shown that night shift workers are at higher risk of illness. The lack of adequate sleep contributes to our weakened immune system, which makes us more vulnerable to getting sick. This makes it even more crucial to take care of our health. Eating healthy, taking vitamins, drinking water, and prioritizing sleep - these are all more important than ever. The good news (the pros): Shift differential Nurses tend to start on nights, that’s just the reality of starting a new nursing job. But why do so many of us continue to work nights, even if we have been able to move to day shift for years? MONEY! Yep, it’s all about the money. At least for some. Differentials vary, but I’ve seen them range from 10 to 20% (18% for most of my night shift career). There may be a night shift differential equal to an entire shift per pay period. I knew experienced nurses that worked nights part-time, rather than going to days full-time. Less administration This pro is up there with the increase in pay; two major advantages to working at night, more money and less management. Who wants to have to deal with all the suits and upper management? “Hide your coffee and put away all your snacks. The suits are here!!” Yeah, no thank you! Camaraderie During the night, there aren’t as many resources available. You don’t have as many supervisors or support to help when the crap hits the fan, so to speak. Therefore, you work well with your night shift co-workers. Since you have fewer resources, you check in with each other and help when needed. You form a strong bond with your fellow nurses working alongside you. It’s Quiet(er) Ah, not the “Q” word! It's not "quiet" in the sense that nothing is happening. We all know the patients and families keep us on our toes throughout the night. But, just like there is less administration on nights, there are just fewer people in general. At night you won’t find all the support staff, resident physicians, students, extended family members, and anyone else that you’ll find during the daytime. I’ve had plenty of parents tell me they enjoy staying with their baby at night because it’s quieter and has a better “feel” that they can’t quite describe. As we can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to working nights. I’ve known new grads that jump to days as soon as they can. On the other hand, I’ve known seasoned nurses that have worked their entire careers (think 40+ years!) on nights, and you couldn’t pay them enough to work days. Either way, I highly recommend finding support among your fellow night shifters; coworkers, friends, and family that also work these hours. These will be the people that understand your odd schedule. They’ll be the ones that can relate to you wanting to go get a burger and fries at 8 in the morning. Find your tribe. How is the night shift going for you? Will you move to days as soon as it’s available? Or are you a long-time night shifter? References: More influenza-like and respiratory complaints in night shift workers in hospitals
  12. Nurse Writing Nook

    Fast-Food Ads Target Minority Youth

    This is interesting. I just found out they removed all their salads from their menu. I haven't eaten at McDonald's in years, but I do remember them having salads at one point.
  13. Nurse Writing Nook

    Are Nurses Superstitious?

    I usually have a decent shift as long as I wear my lucky panties 😂
  14. Nurse Writing Nook

    Sabotaged at Work

    I'm glad you got out of that toxic environment. Congrats on the new job! I hope it's going well.
  15. Nurse Writing Nook

    The Life of an Oncology Clinical Trials Nurse

    I found this fascinating, as it's something I know nothing about. Great article!