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Struggling with Swing Shift Clinical

Students   (290 Views | 5 Replies)
by Carmen R Carmen R (New) New Student

18 Profile Views; 2 Posts

My Wednesday night clinical is throwing off my schedule. We have clinic from 2:30pm-10pm. When I get home (about 11pm), I am wired and won't fall asleep till 1-2 am. This causes me to wake up late and lose time on my day off, Thursday. Waking up late then causes sleep/energy problems that ripples though the weekend and causes headaches on Monday and Tuesday when I have early AM classes. 

What can I do to adjust to this? Or do I just need to toughen up and deal? How to you wind down after a swing clinical/shift?

Thank you for your advice and time. ♥️

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Rose_Queen is a BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in OR, education.

7 Followers; 4 Articles; 9,156 Posts; 106,647 Profile Views

The good thing is that you have Thursday off and don’t have to be up early. However, make sure you have an established routine that tells your body it’s time to sleep. What do you do on other nights to get ready for bed? Still follow that routine when it’s time. Don’t allow yourself to sleep in too late- you still want to have a consistent waking time as well. Weigh out the pros and cons- is this something you can tolerate for the semester and then avoid choosing the later day clinicals in future semesters? If it’s short term, it may be worth putting up with the inconvenience. 

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ruby_jane has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing.

4 Followers; 2,761 Posts; 11,363 Profile Views

When you're working three days (or nights) in a row you won't have the luxury of NOT forcing yourself to back away from your phone or computer, taking a warm shower, and perhaps reading yourself to sleep. 

This weird day is your new normal but to save your sanity you'll need to treat Thursday like Wednesday. Get up near to time so your body isn't "deconditioned" on Friday. 

This too shall pass. Look at it as an excellent opportunity to learn how hospital nursing may feel.

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55 Posts; 1,268 Profile Views

Yeah, it's cool your school does clinical those hours, because lots of us will be working that shift after graduation. I'm working as an aide on the 3pm - 11pm shift, three nights a week, and yeah, it's messed up my sleep. But unless I luck out and get a day shift when I graduate, this is the new normal for me. I try not to sleep in too late (and when class is early, I can't) so I'm *ready* to go to bed at a sane time on my day off. It'll take some adjustment, but you'll make it work! :)

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2 Posts; 18 Profile Views

Thanks so much for all your comments and suggestions! You all are right in saying that this is most likely the shift that I'll get when I start working in the hospital. I've made attempts at setting up a relaxing wind-down routine when I get home and it's helped so far. I also really appreciate your positive outlook and gratitude. It's helped me take a different look at my "problem." Thank You again! 

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487 Posts; 2,196 Profile Views

I've worked irregular shifts my entire working life.  The trick is to have a set time that you sleep.  Your body will adjust and it will become your routine.  And it adjusts way quicker than you'd expect.  You just have to be consistent.  Take advantage of your days off to make sure you're in bed by the same time every night, and wake up the same time every morning.  Once you have a routine at those set times, it'll be really easy to come home from clinical or work and go right to bed.  Once you have that consistency, if you have to stay up late for a clinical, or wake up early for an unusually timed clinical, you can adjust for that one day and be right back into your routine.

Plan out your times that you want to be sleeping, and do it, every night, even when you're off.  Just lay in bed, in the dark, don't touch your phone, keep your TV off, and just go to sleep.  It might be hard to force yourself at first, but it'll only take a couple days until you're actually going to sleep at that time.  But what's important is making sure you wake up at the same too.  Sleeping in can make you not tired and screw up that whole routine.

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