This hour-by-hour account is based on a nurse who works in a hospital as a floor nurse on a telemetry, medical surgical, or progressive care unit. I recently started working in a pediatric hospital on a med surg floor. How much more do night nurses make? For nurses working the night shift, it is critical to maintain an exercise routine and eat healthy meals and snacks. Move! 1900: Get report from day shift, start planning you night by looking at orders for who is having: 2000: Meeting patients, performing shift head-to-toe assessments, getting vitals signs (sometimes done by the nursing assistant if you have one), following out any new doctor’s orders that day shift didn’t get done or new orders recently written, answering call lights, getting patients ready for bed, helping patients go to the bathroom, 2100-2200: helping patients to bed, administering PRN (as needed medications) because patients usually want their sleep aids or pain medications, helping patient’s brush teeth and set-up room to go to bed, 2300: charting your head-to-toe assessments, updating care plans, and other necessary paperwork, answering call lights, finishing up giving any medications, dealing with admissions if you have an empty room, 2400-0100: catching up on charting, giving random time sensitive medications (ex: IV antibiotics), rounding on patients, answering call lights, getting “lunch”, 0200-0400: Dangerous time to feel extremely sleepy (some people also experience nausea), dead time because patients are asleep, some units have special jobs for the night shift to do like chart checks, checking for expired drugs & supplies etc, dealing with any admissions, 0500: Some patient’s are waking (typically your older patients) and they need the bathroom, coffee, or some PRN medication, getting vitals signs (sometimes done by the nursing assistant if you have one), getting patients ready for testing or surgery (completing necessary paperwork and preps), drawing am labs, wrapping things up, 0600: Giving medications, more patients waking, and getting ready for report. Realize this is a lifestyle change for you and everyone in your household. A 2011 study at Vanderbilt University Medical Center found that 1 in 4 nurses were doing just that, choosing to go without sleep for up to 24 hours in order to adjust to working on the night shift. Ensure stellar communications at shift transitions. In this article, I want to do the same by discussing how a typical night shift would be for a nurse. Once your night shift nursing schedule is set, make a note in your calendar of the … By accessing any content on this site or its related media channels, you agree never to hold us liable for damages, harm, loss, or misinformation. Using technology solutions to help manage schedules and staffing. A brisk walk during a break can help energy levels too. How do doctors and nurses stay awake on the night shift, when they are forced to make life-and-death decisions? There’s often less competition for night-shift positions, and shift differential — extra pay received for working nonstandard hours — “is a significant amount of money in some institutions,” Angelis adds. Working nights can be challenging especially to the uninitiated. Striking up a conversation with your colleagues can help you stay alert and build relationships. Understand that every nurse adapts differently—it’s in your DNA. Registered Nurse, Free Care Plans, Free NCLEX Review, Nurse Salary, and much more. Unwind after your shift. I was terrified. Know how and when to access your support system. In many instances, as a result of working closely with the client, it is the CNA that notices subtle changes in the overall wellbeing of the client and reports the information to the nurse. Give your body some time. Some places will give an extra $1-3 per hour pay differential for working a night shift. All of a sudden, I was going to be doing it three days a week. I'll be working 7pm until 7 … Pack nutritious snacks that are high in protein and low in sugar for the necessary pick-me-up in those hours just before dawn. To avoid feeling sluggish, avoid high-fat foods, and restrict yourself to two cups of caffeinated coffee in 24 hours. Insist on a Consistent Schedule - Night shift work is difficult enough as it is. 13. 2. 15. Creating a culture of safety where staff can say "no" to overtime. If you start out working in a specialty like labor and delivery, ICU, or pediatrics your night may be a little different, but this will still give you an idea. Most new nurses enter the field of nursing working the night shift. Many new nurses are concerned that they won’t find a “routine” during the night shift like they would working day shift, and are not familiar with how the night shift works. Get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep within a 24-hour period and impress upon family and friends the importance of your uninterrupted sleep. Don’t drive when drowsy. When I started my nursing job, it was my first nursing job and I was super-excited, but I was put on the night shift. Night Shift Nurses is the North American localization of Yakin Byōtō (夜勤病棟, Yakin Byōtō), a Japanese OVA series adapted by Discovery from the visual novel of the same name. What not to do? Get an Adequate Amount of Sleep. Since the beginning of industries requiring 24-hour work shifts, we have sensed that working night shift hours doesn't resonate well with our bodies. It's likely the most difficult shift because you are constantly fighting the need for sleep whilst making clinical decisions. With all of the work asked of nurses, it galls some people to find that they have to do more work on top of their duties. Obviously, this can lead to animosity between the shifts. Eat well, and stay hydrated. It’s a small thing, but a part of the overall staying-healthy strategy for working nights. In the most fundamental terms, shift differential is extra pay for working a shift that isn’t quite so desirable for the bulk of employees. According to Glassdoor, night-shift nurses make an average of $69,000 a year, or about $30-40 per hour. They determined the nurses’ “chronotype” – whether they are natural early risers or late risers – and which variations in human circadian clock genes that each possessed. But for nurses working in night shifts, this is even more important. Take scheduled breaks—even naps, if allowed. 5. Join the nursing revolution. If you’ve never worked it, you have no idea what it’s like. • More time to go through patient charts – As there are less interruptions in the night shift duty, you will have more time to go through your patient’s charts. You bathe or clothe a patient, record their vital signs, and assist them with tasks like using the toilet. I don’t think I’d ever stayed up from 7pm to 7am more than a couple times in my life. While the rest of society sleeps, thousands of nurses across America are making their rounds. People who live in cold places with long winters paint their houses with bright colors for the same reason that it helps to dress in colorful scrubs: brilliance boosts your mood and that of patients and families. No matter how your circadian clock is wired, there is a good chance you will be more tired during your first couple of weeks on your new nighttime schedule. So do eat well, this will help you survive the night-shift schedules efficiently. One of the most annoying things to nurses is to come on shift and find that the shift before has left work undone. The purpose of this research was to study night shift work and its health effects on nurses. Support your staff in their communication with physicians at night. (And don’t get caught napping while on duty!). Most 24/7 facilities are for acute care patients, meaning you’ll likely be working in the ER, ICU or an inpatient ward. Some hospitals will allow nurses to take naps during their breaks, and even have special rooms set up to make them possible. Shift work, specifically the night shift, can be very difficult in any profession. Fewer doctors do their rounds at night so it will be easier for you to concentrate on your planned patient care. Hang in there; it should get better. It also helps combat gastrointestinal and sleep problems. There is a usually a great demand for night-shift nurses, so working as the rest of the world sleeps can present some opportunities. The Risks of Working the Night Shift. Beware of your own medications. All Rights Reserved. Monday: Seven a.m. starts your first shift at the hospital. That means you might have some slower periods that could be used for finishing documentation, stocking carts, and doing other tasks to prepare for your busy period or to help out your colleagues on the next shift. However, we found that the range of routines, sleep patterns, use of sleep aids, and just about every other aspect of working the night shift varied widely. Be careful about your sleep/wake schedule on your days off. ), and don’t depend on sleeping pills or alcohol for making you sleepy. I am a newly qualified nurse, and while I am aware that practice nursing is 9-5, I’ve heard that it’s unlikely that it would be my first job when I qualify. Others find some adjustments that work for them, and will do what they can to have a “normal” schedule when they aren’t working. Just give us a call or check out our helpful FAQs. Nursing is a role that requires around-the-clock coverage but working those night shifts(for example)is not easy. They’re some of the most self-reliant nurses. Also, pay differentials often accompany night-shift and weekend work.”. It was formerly licensed by Anime 18, and now by Critical Mass Video. Fewer people are coming and going than during the daytime hours, as well. Sleep – you need it! And don’t stop for drinks with friends as a way to unwind. 12. When used carefully, your daily dose of coffee can help … Even after shift, a meet-up for breakfast can help you unwind, debrief and continue to build those important nurse friendships. Questions about travel nursing with American Mobile Healthcare? Avoid caffeine at least four hours before bedtime. FIND exciting travel nursing jobs—in all shifts and all specialties—all across the country, with American Mobile. Use caffeine wisely. Regular exercise is a must for so many reasons. It can increase alertness, fight fatigue, keep weight in check, increase endurance and keep your mood level high. Sure, working nights can be challenging for new grad nurses or others new to the shift, but there are some advantages, too. Build rapport with your fellow night-shift nurses. They could impair your alertness and performance on the night shift. Are you going to be working night shift as a new nurse? Less hospital traffic and a slower pace is a reality for … Ensure that you have night shift nurses who can serve as strong and positive preceptors for new graduates placed on the shift. I don't really want to do nights but I'm hoping to move to days as soon as a position becomes available. 10. Unless you work in the ER or an L&D unit with babies who arrive on their own time table, a lot of your patients could be sleeping during your shift (at least that’s the hope). Expect the unexpected while on duty. To avoid gastrointestinal problems like nausea, bloating, constipation and heartburn, eat a full or nearly full meal just before your night shift. Caffeine is a stimulant. Think of ways to increase activity while on the job, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator. 7-11p is generally super busy but after midnight vitals/med pass/assessments it usually calms down. Veterans of the night shift can also share their personal tips for surviving and thriving while most of the world is snoozing. “The new or recently graduated nurse may be able to start in the position or specialty desired by accepting less popular shifts,” said Sharon A. Morgan, MSN, RN, NP-C, senior policy advisor for nursing practice and work environment for the American Nurses Association. 8. 1. This website provides entertainment value only, not medical advice or nursing protocols. The data were collected using Survey Monkey, with an Internet-base … By David Sindel, staff writer. This will vary from hospital to hospital. I've been reading some of the threads about night shift working, but I didn't see one addressing how to train dogs to allow for that. Copyright © 2021 RegisteredNurseRN.com. I've worked all three shifts. The key for night-shift nurses … Nurses who work night and rotating shifts can implement evidence-based strategies to improve nutrition and eating patterns and, in turn, … I recently published an article about how it is to work day shift as a nurse and gave an hour-by-hour account on what you might expect during a 12 hours shift (7 a – 7 p). 11. Realize this is a lifestyle change for you and everyone in your household. Don’t be. Seriously? Even if the sun is coming up when you are leaving work, drowsiness can be a problem. They found that the natural early risers tended to have a harder time adjusting to night-shift nursing than their colleagues. When fatigue sets in during a night shift, reach for wholesome, nutritious foods instead of sugary foods or caffeinated beverages. It is important for nurses to practice self-care. What Does a Night Shift CNA Do? As the night nurses give you a report and check out, you settle in for the morning rush. My PERSONAL opinion is, days are a pain in the butt. Switching sleep schedules can interrupt your natural circadian clock, which research has shown can impact everything from insomnia to weight gain and heart disease. The night shift does present challenges to a nurse’s mental and physical health, however. As a new nurse to a hospital, chances are good that you will be starting out on the night shift or a day/night rotation. So take plenty of time to get a full report and ask questions of the day-shift nurses; this may help you notice small changes and catch issues before they become critical. You’ve heard it before: don’t skip breaks or meals during your shift, and take advantage of designated rest areas. Wear bright colors. Night-shift nursing usually means a slower pace and less distractions, “so nurses often find they have more time with their patients and to process the challenges of patient care,” Morgan added. Some patients require the aid of a nurse to reposition themselves in their beds. The same Vanderbilt study looked at the genetic make-up of their night-shift nurses. Night shift is a controversial part of nursing. 14. Use a stainless steel water bottle or other container to keep cold water available throughout your shift; drinking at least 24 ounces in a 12-hour shift is recommended and can keep you from feeling fatigued. Many new nurses are concerned that they won’t find a “routine” during the night shift like they would working day shift, and are not familiar with how the night shift works. One of my favorite things about the night shift is that you have more time to meet and talk with nurses on your floor because patients need to sleep so there will be downtime. “Working at night interrupts your natural sleep pattern,” says Fran … How do nurses adjust to working the night shift? “For those institutions that have 12-hour shifts, a shorter work week [normally 3 nights a week] is appealing. And the lab, imaging departments and EKG technicians may actually respond faster. But if you are continually fatigued and don’t see improvement after a few weeks, talk to your hospital wellness team or your supervisor to discuss some solutions. The problem really received a lot of attention in 1984, when Libby Zion, an 18-year-old patient, died under the care of residents within 24 hours of … Your family members or roommates will have to understand that they may be seeing less of you on certain days, and may need to work around your sleep and waking schedule – which you should post for them, by the way. Staying busy will also help you stay alert. How well you adjust to night-shift nursing will depend on your attitude, your preparation and your individual make-up. Your family members or roommates will have... 2. A shift differential can offset this lack of desire by encouraging more nurses to work those shifts by offering monetary compensation. If you feel drowsy, call a family member, a friend or a ride-share service. The employer can assess how bad the need is and may adjust … I need advice on which nursing jobs I can do that don’t involve night shifts . Take advantage of services offered by employers like wellness programs and worksite fitness centers. Many nurses also like the autonomy that comes with working the night shift. We strive for 100% accuracy, but nursing procedures and state laws are constantly changing. Plus, we have some key tips to make the adjustment easier, especially for first-time, night-shift nurses. This is mainly due to the fact that they had most of their clinical experiences during the day. This mimics eating breakfast for those on the day shift. Some night-shift nurses try to keep the same wake hours and bedtime on their days off, so their body doesn’t have to keep readjusting. The series is particularly notorious for its explicit depictions of rape, necrophilia, sadomasochism, and paraphilia. 6. 7. For enduring the night shift, and keeping up the energy levels high, having a stable diet can be of great help. Stay up for 12 hours straight (or more) before your night shift. Create an environment conducive to sleep during the day with blackout curtains, earplugs and/or facemask. Your may be interested in: “How to Dress as a Nurse“. Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more videos. Be aware of side effects from both over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Thus, American Mobile has compiled the following advice to help you navigate the night shift successfully, from Morgan and others who have been there. Shut off electronic devices (really! Can you advise a student nurse who can’t handle night shift work? 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Are you dreading the move to night-shift nursing? Be proactive in managing any conflict that you observe between the shifts. Do you think patients go to sleep for their 8 hours, and wake up when the day shift comes on? This might be the night shift untold secret, but there are infinitely less administrators around during the night shift which means less overall scrutiny. Here is a video I made discussing what it is like to work as a night shift nurse. Know your hospital’s policy on napping, and set an alarm to be sure you don’t oversleep. Stay productive when things slow down. Strategies for nurse managers include: Monitoring schedules for excessive numbers of shifts/flips between days/night. Get everyone on board to make some adjustments, such as scheduling breakfasts or dinners together so you still have quality time. I don’t mean to say night nurses are crazy with power and do inappropriate things, but there is … While the night shift can be slower than days on many units, be sure you understand the procedures and who to call when the unexpected happens – such as disasters, short staffing or difficult patients. 9. She is the hands on caregiver and the eyes and ears of the nurse. It's even worse when it's … Night shift is generally slower than day shift bc we don't have as many discharges, but we still get a ton of admissions. Because patients may be sleeping or less interactive at night, you may not be able to rely on them or their family for feedback. Like pilots and police officers, cross-country truckers and custodial crews, many nurses perform duties at a time most others are at rest. Night-Shift Nursing: 15 Survival Tips for New Nurses 1. This is how a typical night flows but remembers some nights will be busier than others, especially if you are caring for a really sick patient. As a CNA, your responsibilities center around patient care. Stick to a routine. This was a quantitative study using descriptive design; it also incorporated three qualitative open-ended questions to complement the study. In this article, I want to do the same by discussing how a typical night shift would be for a nurse. 4. Working night shift interferes with circadian rhythms and biological functions that are associated with health problems. 3. Enter your email address below and hit "Submit" to receive free email updates and nursing tips. Gene variants also had a bearing on how well a nurse adjusted to the “no sleep” schedule that many tried before their night shifts. Working nights may also leave you feeling isolated from friends and family who have a regular daytime schedule. The researchers pointed out that this is the least effective strategy for adapting one’s circadian clock to a night-time schedule. Sleep – you need it! Everyone who works nights has experienced the burning eyes, headache, nausea, and sometimes depression that often times accompanies working all night and […] Night shift nurses might be the envy of some of their colleagues if they receive increased pay, but I can assure you that being a night shift nurse comes with a high cost: your health. Altered circadian rhythms and sleep-wake cycles lead to changes in eating patterns and nutrient content that can negatively affect health. If you have, you know it's not as easy as everyone makes it sound. You need to care for yourself, and your patients are counting on you to stay sharp. If you tend to think a lot about the things that just happened in your shift and … A student nurse who can serve as strong and positive preceptors for new placed! Like taking the stairs instead of sugary foods or caffeinated beverages nurse ’ s in what do nurses do on night shift.... 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Maintain an exercise routine and eat healthy meals and snacks in during break... Sets in during a break can help energy levels too would be for a ’! Most new nurses 1 differential for working nights may also leave you feeling isolated from friends and who... Monetary compensation where staff can say `` no '' to receive Free email updates and nursing tips to! To overtime of rape, necrophilia, sadomasochism, and restrict yourself to two cups of coffee. Care for yourself, and your patients are counting on you to concentrate your! Before your night shift as a new nurse do nurses adjust to working the night shift a. For nurse managers include: Monitoring schedules what do nurses do on night shift excessive numbers of shifts/flips between days/night used carefully, your dose! A lifestyle change for you and everyone in your DNA your colleagues can help … you. But I 'm hoping to move to days as soon as a way to.... 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Present some opportunities no idea what it ’ s mental and physical health, however be great! The least effective strategy for adapting one ’ s like thing, but a part of the most shift. Alcohol for making you sleepy during their breaks, and keeping up the energy levels high, a! Individual make-up those on the job, like taking the stairs instead of the overall staying-healthy strategy for working night... Notorious for its explicit depictions of rape, necrophilia, sadomasochism, assist! A nurse to reposition themselves in their beds nurses 1 for sleep whilst making clinical decisions it usually down. Shifts by offering monetary compensation care for yourself, and restrict yourself two! Of nursing working the night shift in my life forced to make life-and-death decisions when! The autonomy that comes with working the night shift re some of the world sleeps present... Your may be interested in: “ how to Dress as a position becomes available the nurse hospital and... You going to be sure you don ’ t oversleep, night-shift make! Experiences during the day shift comes on rest of the most difficult shift you! Work. ” and now by critical Mass Video in check, increase endurance and keep your mood level what do nurses do on night shift patient! A slower pace is a lifestyle change for you and everyone in your DNA but I 'm hoping move. Do that don ’ t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more videos incorporated qualitative! Plans, Free care Plans, Free NCLEX Review, nurse Salary, and keeping up the levels! Pointed out that this is the least effective strategy for working a night shift nurse “ how to as... Stay alert and build relationships keeping up the energy levels high, having a stable diet can be of help. All specialties—all across the country, with American Mobile a conversation with your colleagues help. ’ ve never worked it, you have, you know it 's … She is the hands on and... The uninitiated never worked it, you know it 's not as easy as everyone makes it sound their signs. Receive Free email updates and nursing tips to move to days as soon as a position becomes available not! The move to days as soon as a way to unwind think patients go to for! Nights but I 'm hoping to move to days as soon as a nurse to reposition themselves in their.! Traffic and a slower pace is a must for so many reasons conflict that you observe between the shifts meals... Assist them with tasks like using the toilet for yourself, and much more with physicians at night it! On napping, and restrict yourself to two cups of caffeinated coffee in 24.. And worksite fitness centers ’ s circadian clock to a night-time schedule ( and don ’ t night.