Ah, the night shift. Whether you usually refer to it by graveyard shift, sundowner’s shift, the-witching-hours, plain night shift, or whatever else you call it, there’s often a lot of misconceptions surrounding this dreaded nursing shift. Yes, some nurses actually love being on the night shift while some try to avoid it at all costs. In this post, we’ll share with you some tips on surviving the night shift and hopefully you’ll end up learning to enjoy it!
Night Shift Nursing – The Good
Team night shift unite! Nocturnal nurses love the night shift but not just because it fits more with their circadian rhythm. Here are some reasons why being on the night shift actually rocks!
No Traffic – On Most Nights
Being on the night shift usually means going to work after rush hour in the nights and before rush hour begins in the mornings. True that driving on a seemingly deserted road can feel lonely, but at least going to and from work does not feel like a challenge!
Having the Grocery Store All to Yourself
On nights that you’re off work and doing your grocery runs, you won’t have to walk around aimlessly desperately trying to get to the right aisle amidst a sea of other shoppers. You don’t even have to worry how you look like and the best part? Look ma, no checkout lines!
Feeling Like You Own the Gym
No more need to wait until someone else gets done with the machine you want to use and no more trolls trying to hit on you (we hope so!).
Becoming an Expert on the Phases of the Moon
Night shift nurses know exactly when a full moon is happening without any prior knowledge of astrology and without even taking a glimpse at a calendar.
Not Having to Deal with Hospital Visitors
Dealing with patients’ relatives can be very challenging because they always show up like a flash-flood during day time hours. An eerily empty hospital corridor is a lot better than one filled with people who aren’t helping you to do your job. Aren’t you glad you don’t have to deal with hospital visitors (for the most part) during your shift?
Night Shift Nursing – The Bad
Night shift nurses often deal with misconceptions that are mostly about night shift nurses having an easy time at work and getting paid more for no reason. There’s actually more than enough reasons why night nurses get paid more, here are just some of them:
You Miss Out on Family Events and Important Dates
And it’s not even your fault! Sometimes your friends even accuse you of avoiding them but you can’t really blame them either because you basically go beast mode when they try to make social calls. You’re stuck in between worlds!
Turning into a Creature of the Night
Speaking of being stuck in between worlds, sometimes you get so accustomed to dim lights that you get major mole eyes syndrome when you get off work on the first real sunny day of spring.
Losing Track of Days and Time
Days seem to pass by so quickly because guess what? You don’t even know what day it is anymore!
Being a night shift nurse will not just affect just your personal life either. Working in the hospital at night means seeing and experiencing the worst side of even the sweetest of patients.
Witnessing All Types of Crazies
Isn’t it weird how the nicest of patients turn into the most impossible ones once the sky turns dark? It’s like there’s a switch in them somewhere!
People Thinking You Do Nothing at Work
Not only do you have to work through changes in your personal life and difficult patients, even some of the people closest to you think that you do next to nothing because NOTHING ever happens at night, right?
Coz yeah, ALL patients are angels who you simply tuck in bed and stay asleep until the day shift comes in.
Like seriously, even your colleagues sometimes think you do nothing and apparently, don’t need sleep nor rest as well.
Like really, don’t they get how tiring being a nurse on the night shift can be? Not all the action happens during the day, you know!
Surviving the Night Shift (and Thriving While at It)
Being on the night shift isn’t a walk in the park, but it does not have to be tantamount to the 12 labors of Hercules. The best tips and tricks to surviving the night shift is to take care of yourself so that you’ll end up actually thriving on it instead of merely surviving.
Get a Load of ZZzzzzz
Not during your shift, of course. Invest in black out curtains and if possible, install some sound-proofing in your room. Don’t you just hate it when the neighbors (or family) decide that the middle of your sleeping hours is the right time to take out the karaoke machine or mow the lawn? There’s really no way to make everyone stay silent when you’re sleeping so it is up to you to make sure that quality sleep does happen. Seriously, headphones and black out curtains or else!
Eat Healthy Food
Just because most hospital cafeterias are not open at night does not mean that you can start classifying pizza a type of vegetable. Eating fast food and whatever the vending machine has to offer is a choice. Preparing your meals at home to bring with you to work is a choice as well, unless you’ve got a meal prepper with you on your shift!
Get Enough Physical Activity
Being on the night shift is not an excuse to turn into a slob. So what if you can’t join your friends at their mid-morning gym sessions? You’ve got the hospital hallways to do your power walking on! You surely got time for that!
Nothing helps you keep awake and on your toes than being engaged in something that you are interested in. Other things that can help you thrive during the night shift are listening to audio books, reading some novels, staying hydrated, moderating your caffeine intake, and being good friends with the people you work with. After all, no one understands you like they do!