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Suggestions for scheduling on night shift

Nurses   (372 Views | 4 Replies)

Morelaur288 is a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU.

418 Profile Views; 23 Posts

Hey everyone, so I’m a new grad in ICU about to get off orientation and I’m going to nights. At my hospital, we are allowed to self schedule (although it’s not always approved). Anyways, I was just wondering, for those of you on nights, how do you like to schedule your shifts? I know everyone is different and prefers different things but just want to get an idea. I have a 5 year old so I’d like to make a schedule that permits me time to see her. I was thinking of doing 3 nights in a row so I have 4 off. Just curious, what works for you all?

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adventure_rn is a BSN and specializes in NICU, PICU.

3 Followers; 1 Article; 1,255 Posts; 18,184 Profile Views

I loved 3 on 4 off; however, if you have a weekend requirement, you can't do 3 on 4 off indefinitely unless you work every weekend.

I do think it helps to block you nights together so you can get turned around and see people (like your daughter) who are on a regular schedule. It stinks to have to turn your whole life around for a single night shift. Finding the best schedule also depends a lot on your childcare situation.

If you want to have long stretches off, I found that it works well to do a 3 on 2 off 3 on, or a 2 on 1 off 2 on 1 off 2 on. In each of those patterns you work 6 out of 8 days, but then you get a 6 day stretch off. Unfortunately, during that week that you're working, you have very little downtime (which might not work well for your family).

When you're starting out, I'd try out a handful of different patterns to figure out what works best for you.

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tiddles has 25 years experience.

67 Posts; 2,716 Profile Views

Three in a row is a lot for some to handle, especially if you are not getting quality sleep during the day (with kids that can be a challenge). As previously suggested, do a mix for the first schedule. Also - for your own sanity, make sure you get good sleep. All it takes is one phone call or a barking dog and I'm awake for the day (I used to be able to fall right back to sleep). A fan helps to drown out noises.

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NurseKatie08 has 11 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Geriatrics, Transplant, Education.

744 Posts; 12,946 Profile Views

I work 2 12-hour night shifts and tend to do both of them in a row as I also teach part time so need certain days of the week off for that. Before I taught as much when I worked 3 12's I also preferred them all in a row, but I'm able to sleep pretty well between shifts and do not have children. 

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kleeschr is a BSN, RN and specializes in Cardiac Surgical/Heart Transplant ICU.

16 Posts; 348 Profile Views

I try to do 3 in a row! I am also a new grad in an ICU - it definitely takes adjustment but my body is finally starting to get the hang of it. 3 in a row is difficult, but it also makes it easier to switch back to a day time schedule once you're done with your shifts since you aren't worrying about immediately going right back into a night shift (like if you did 2 on 1 off one on/etc.) As far as actually flipping back and forth, I try to stay up until 1 or 2 am the night before my first shift, sleep in, get up around noon & workout and do something else small/productive, then I try to nap from 2 or 3 until I have to get ready for my shift! On my final night shift when I get home around 8 am, I only let myself sleep until noon or one and then I go to bed at a normal time that night to switch back into days! 

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