Are You Really Cut Out to be a Night Shift Nurse?


Night shift nurses are a special breed. There are a few nurses who work nights, but they're only doing it because they have to. There's another kind that love working nights. These nurses are night owls by nature, and it doesn't bother them to be up all night, in fact, they prefer it to working days.
Night owl nurses love night shift for many reasons. If you're debating about whether or not you should work nights ask yourself these questions first:

Sally Weans from Night Nursing
By Lesli D. Mitchell MSW

#1- Do you enjoy the autonomy of working alone? 
Well, you won't be alone, but most supervisors and managers don't work nights. While there is usually one working during your shift, there isn't the team of bosses that you see during the day in most facilities. There usually isn't anyone in maintenance and other departments at night, nor are there any doctors roaming around in the wee hours of the morning, unless they've had an emergency case, or they're an ER doc. So most of the time you'll need to get by on your own. If you need help constantly, night nursing probably isn't for you. 

#2 – The Unexpected

Working days is usually pretty steady, and you get used to moving around doing the same thing each day. Nights are very unpredictable. One minute you're all sitting at the desk talking, drinking coffee and twiddling your thumbs and the next minute someone codes and it gets hairy in a hurry. 


#3 –Cliquey

Night shift is usually pretty Cliquey, and new people are not accepted right away. Night shift nurses know each other pretty well. Probably because they do have more time to interact on a personal level. So don't be surprised if you're new, and you feel like you don't really fit in. Give it a few months and you'll feel right at home.


#4 –No Sleep

It's an art to get enough sleep during the day. Between the annoying neighbor, the increased noisy traffic, the Jehovah's witness, the man who decides to mow his yard as you're drifting off to sleep and the mailman who's been warned seventeen million times not to ring the doorbell.  Sleep is not a thing night nurses know too much about. 

#5 –I want to sleep

Yells your body at 4 am. I'm not sure what the deal is with this particular time. But it seems to be the case for all night nurses. Maybe it's because you're finished with all the busy work that has to be done, and you're sitting down for the first time, but 4 am seems always to be the time that the nodding into oblivion seems to occur.


#6 – Do you like coffee?

While day shift nurses drink a lot of coffee, night shift nurses will put them to shame. Coffee is one of your best friends when yo work nights,  so if you don't like it them you may need to start drinking the "Five Hour Energy" drinks to help you stay awake and alert. I've known several nurses who never drank coffee till they began working nights; now they're regulars at their local Starbucks.

#7 Like Gossip?

Don't work nights. Most of the trouble makers and gossipers work during the day. So you will usually find a calmer environment on nights. Now, I'm not saying that there are no gossipers on nights, but there are a lot less. Gossipers, trouble makers, and brown-nosers usually work days, so night shift is usually a lot less dramatic. 

#8 Drama Queens

Night are fun and usually quite calm compared to days, but it is a challenge to transition from working days to working nights. Personally, I prefer nights. I like having less drama and craziness around me, and I enjoy going to the supermarket and running other errands on my way home when everyone is working, and it's a much less hectic.


#9 Can't nod off

If you have problems sleeping, try melatonin. It's a natural hormone that is found in the pineal gland of the brain, and it's released when it becomes dark to aid you in falling asleep. But when you're trying to nod off during the day and your body won't cooperate you may need some melatonin to help you along. You'll get a great night's sleep and wake up refreshed and ready for another night!

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