Monday, January 16, 2012

all things night shift - part one

I've worked night shift since I started my nursing career. 
Over the past 2 years I've been asked many of the same questions and thought I'd answer them on the blog in case you have the same questions AND so someday I can look back on this and remember life working night shift.

Here is the good, the bad and the ugly of working night shift!

Do you rotate shifts?
No, not usually. Before this week, I had worked one day shift in the time since I've been off orientation and that was to help another nurse out that needed off. This month, day shift is short staffed, so I am scheduled 8 of my 12 shifts for day shift. But that is not normal for the scheduling on our unit.

Do you prefer nights over days?
When I started working, night shift was the only position available. I hope to move to dayshift permanently sometime this year. After working 3 day shifts last week, I would love that even more! They posted two positions this past week, but they are flex 7a-7p AND 7p-7a based on the unit patient load/staffing. They would alternate my shift as they need me. Chris and I haven't decided if this is something that we are willing to do.

When do you sleep?
I'm working when you sleep, so I'm sleeping when you work! :)
If it's my first night on, sometimes I take a nap before work, sometimes I don't. {which means sometimes when I'm getting off, I've been up for 22-24 hours straight!}
When I'm working consecutive nights (which is MUCH preferred) I usually come home and go to bed within 30 minutes. I am blessed that I have never had problems getting to sleep after working. I joke about falling asleep so fast I am sometimes in the middle of setting my alarm.
When I do not work the next night, I come home and go to bed like normal, but usually I'll get up around 1 or 2...or 3. ;) Then I'll go to bed with Chris that night and have a "normal" schedule until I work again.

Is it hard to sleep during the day?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
Thankfully we live in a very quiet subdivision, so neighbors/dogs/traffic/etc have not been a consistent problem. There have only been 2 or 3 days where something was going on outside (ex. neighbor's roof getting repaired) that woke me up and kept me awake.

One thing we've found that really helps our schedule is me sleeping in the guest bedroom when I sleep during the day. We've done this since we moved into our house. Chris isn't always ready to wake up/get up when I come home from work at 7:30am, so it allows him to sleep until his alarm and then get ready and not have to worry about waking me up. Then he also has access to the bedroom/bathroom during the day if needed.

I always wake up at least once during the day, usually about noon, to pee. Always. No exceptions.
And I usually have no problems going back to sleep until my alarm goes off around 3:30-4.

I'll be back tomorrow with Part Two!

1 comment:

Megan said...

Ahhhh, I love reading this! The life of a night shifter! I have only worked a handful of night shifts!

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