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Shift Work

Nurses   (677 Views 14 Comments)
by Bones17 Bones17 (New Member) New Member

321 Profile Views; 12 Posts

Is shift work as hard as what it sounds? How do you cope?

Edited by Bones17

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Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

2 Followers; 4,129 Posts; 29,429 Profile Views

If you're talking about working some days and some nights, that's not something I would consider at my age. When I did it in another field in my 20's, it was fairly easy. You just do what you have to do and work in eating and sleeping.

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524 Posts; 10,368 Profile Views

If you mean 10 or 12 hours as being "shift work," I personally prefer it. I prefer to "get it over and done with" as opposed to having to come in five days a week for "eight hours" (because it is hardly ever only just eight hours). Give me shift work any day, please. 

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L-ICURN has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU.

61 Posts; 856 Profile Views

I don't mind 12 hours. I have no real desire to be at the hospital 5 days a week. I hate rotating shifts, but I don't get a choice. So I try to get extra sleep for night shift. It's not easy, but it can be done. 

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12 Posts; 321 Profile Views

Sorry, I meant how do you cope with working within irregular work hours (like early morningsevenings and nights). I just wanted to know how you cope with the following:

1) Sleeping at different times

2) Eating at different times

3) Seeing family/friends when your work and sleep schedules are different or even if you are working weekends/public holidays etc. and they are not. It seems like you would never really get to see them. 

 

I'm not sure how to edit my original post to include that. 

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K+MgSO4 has 12 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Surgical, quality,management.

1 Follower; 1,603 Posts; 21,870 Profile Views

Few questions,

 

Are you working a 7 day rotating roster?  Are you expecting to be working across all shifts?  How often are you doing nights?

 

Here is what I did.

Go to bed at a respectable time if working AM.

Have a wind down plan if you are working PMs so you are not up until 2 AM after finishing. 

Nights - sleep in the day before your first night, go back to bed for a snooze before work.  Set your room up for sleeping during the day...blackout blinds, sleep mask, sign on front door threatening disembowelment if anyone knocks, phone on silent.  The morning after your last night you need to see which works for you staying up all day and going to bed earlier or bed for a few hours, drag yourself out and then bed on a day schedule.   I used to go to bed for a few hours then get up, often booking something in so I have to get up - dentist, gym class, beauty therapy ( I can sleep all day and most of the night if I don't control myself).

 

Meal plan - either prep on one of your days off or just cook extra when cooking so you have enough for an extra meal at work.  You have time to eat at work.  Do not fall into the martyr role of "no time" to have a break.  Unless you are doing CPR or an active fire you can make time.

Make friends with other shift workers and go out on your weekdays off.  Many newly graduated nurses make friends with other nurses/ doctors/ firefighters/ paramedics/ cops.  There are often specials on some week day nights at some places for shift workers.

 

You will not be working every weekend and public holiday.   Usually there is either a roster of who gets it off, or some people want to work for the extra $$.  See people before a PM shift or after an AM.

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1 Follower; 3,112 Posts; 44,784 Profile Views

You don't need to edit your post. Just replying to questions is fine. 

But I'm still not sure if, for example, you mean  you work 7-3 four days, are off two, then work 3-11 three evenings, off two, then 11-7 two nights, etc.?   Or are always scheduled the same shift, same hours.

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4 Posts; 24 Profile Views

If you can, pick jobs that work with your family unit the best. And like others said, you won't work every holiday unless you choose to (I like the extra pay tbh), and weekends generally are either every other or once a month, or off one a month... (there's also weekend options so you *only* work fri-sun). Nursing shifts are very varied... some facilities do strict 3 on 4 off, some do 3 on, 4 off, 4 on 2 off etc... some do 8 hour shifts and you have to do 5 days a week. I personally love 12 hour shifts because it gives you WAY more time with your family on those 3-6 day stretches off (yes week stretches off do happen) . Honestly I would hate working 9-5 five days a week. IMO that's more draining than working 6-6 , 6-2, 2-10 etc. (Night shift however I despise and will not talk about because imo there's no surviving or coping with that....its simply hell and I applaud my co nurses who can pull off nights! )

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marienm, RN, CCRN has 6 years experience and specializes in Burn, ICU.

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Re: Holidays and weekends...you may need to lay things out for your family/friends/significant other: Hospitals operate 24/7. (I assume you're thinking about working in one.) *Someone* has to cover all those shifts. *Sometimes* it will be you. There will probably be a rota and a system for deciding who gets which major holidays off, but in most places, newer staff are likely to work the less-desired shifts. If everyone in your life has "bankers hours" jobs, it may feel like you're really missing out. You'll have to decide how much effort you want to put into, say, arranging a brunch date instead of a dinner, or celebrating a major holiday differently than you might have done in the past.

I've worked night shift with alternating weekends for 6 years. I do miss some stuff. I also don't have kids or family in town other than my husband. So mostly we schedule stuff when *we* want to do it. We'll host a dinner on a weeknight that I don't work so I can cook all afternoon. None of our 9 to 5 friends can do that, but they all like eating!  But the patterns in your life may be more or less flexible than mine.

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12 Posts; 321 Profile Views

Thanks everyone! I don’t work as a nurse. I just want to know what it’s going to be like and how to cope.

Are you able to change your scheduled work time/day for another or take time off if there is a special event that you want to attend? (as in like a family member’s birthday, wedding etc.). Maybe you could switch your scheduled work time with a colleague. Is it kind of like retail work? 

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marienm, RN, CCRN has 6 years experience and specializes in Burn, ICU.

208 Posts; 4,004 Profile Views

The details of how to switch shifts will be very specific to the hospital and the unit you work on. Generally, yes, you can probably swap around with co-workers to your mutual satisfaction. It requires co-workers who are willing to help out, and there might be rules that make it difficult (like, someone can't work more than X shifts in a row, or you can only swap inside the pay period, or there needs to be a charge nurse on every shift).

Most places also have some way for you to request a shift off as PTO time, or maybe they have a fixed schedule so that you know you're always off on Tuesdays even before the schedule is published. As a new employee, I would say: don't expect to get everything you request, but your (hypothetical) manager should have a method to get you (and everyone) *some* of what you request while still staffing the unit safely.

This is a good thing to (gently) ask employees about when you shadow a job...you can't spend *all* your time focused on it, because then it will look like you're not interested in the job itself, but try to gauge how happy people are with their schedules on the unit you visit.

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