Whoa! Check this out!
“The Mark of the Beast” Cold Medication!
For when you have a “devil” of a cold!
For when you would sell your soul just to breathe normally!
For those days when you think hell will freeze over before you get well again.
Guaranteed to take care of all your cold symptoms for as long as you live!
All you need to do is pay with your soul!
Instead of an antihistamine you get an antichrist-amine!
I wonder if you drink it if you will be “Left Behind”?
Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
(I actually love that series, Jerry Jenkins is, ahem, one hell of a writer!)
It’s no secret that I’m a night person.
I’ve said before it is easier to stay up until 0700 than to get up at 0700!
And I prefer the night shift for many reasons, not the least of which is that there are less people around and you can spend more time with your patients.
And….I have no young children and can sleep when and how long I want. Usually.
The males of the household have learned, sometimes painfully, that to wake me up results in a voice that makes Luciano Pavarotti sound like Barry White.
But if I had to give advice to someone who was just starting the night shift (and that may be a few new grads out there), I can only tell you what works for me and I’ve learned this over the years through trial and error.
- Put All Your Piggies In A Row
- Try to get your shifts scheduled sequentially.
- Under no circumstances allow yourself to be scheduled “one-on-and-one-off”. Unless you live the hours of a night nurse whether you are working or not, this will do you in!. It’s easier for me because I tend to be a human “Bat” (except I don’t hang upside down in a closet.)
- Always have at least two days off in a row before returning to the night shift. This is not easy if you are working full time, eight-hour shifts. So….
- I suggest that if you are given the opportunity, work only 4 days a week or less.
- The differential of the night shift should make up for the missing day.
- It is possible to work one-week-on/one-week off and I have done that before. I remember liking it. I don’t think I had gray hair then. Not that I have it now mind you.
- If you have the chance to work three 12-hour night shifts per week, try to avoid working them all in a row.
- It will take you two days to recover, at least.
- You will feel (and look) like death warmed over by the end of the third shift.
- Don’t Give Your Piggies Roast Beef
- I’m not sure what it is about nocturnal consumption, but I found that eating during the night caused bloating and discomfort.
- A snack is okay, a few crackers with some milk or half a sandwhich.
- Also, eating at night is a sure way to gain weight, especially if it is not a busy unit/night and you’re eating to stay awake or out of boredom.
- Watch the coffee intake
- If you’re like me, you’ll pour five cups and actually have time to drink about half a cup.
- If you are sleeping in the morning, watch the caffeine after about 0400.
- If you are an afternoon sleeper, it shouldn’t affect you.
- And remember, coffee is acidic so can contribute if you have that bloating/discomfort discussed above.
- Back at the Ranch
- Make your environment sleep friendly
- Get your room as dark as possible or sleep in the darkest possible area
- Consider using a fan or another type of machine as “white noise”. This will drown out neighborhood noise, barking dogs, cars,etc.
- If you can’t sleep
- Get up. Laying there trying to sleep is only going to make it worse.
- Take a hot bath, read.
- Be careful about using antihistamines to sleep, they can cause a “hangover” type feeling and you will be groggy while awake. I, personally use melatonin but please do not constitute that as advice.
- If you sleep for a few hours only and then are wide awake, try to take a nap before going to work.
- Stay hydrated
- Dehydration can cause headaches. I left the night shift once after suffering from prolonged low-grade headaches that would last 5-6 days. It was because I drank nothing but coffee and Diet Pepsi. It had nothing to do with the shift.
- So why put yourself through working the night shift?
- Minimal management presence – not that management is bad, it just means less distractions from taking care of patients.
- Group cohesiveness – night shift workers tend to take care of each other and there is much less back-biting.
- Usually a less number of patients, giving you more of a chance to do more for them and get to know them better, at least in the ER.
- A shift differential – where I work, it is rather substantial, thanks to the work of the California Nurses Association over the years.
- You can be home for your family when they are awake.
So night shift is a doable, often desirable shift to work. It’s the best shift for me.
But that old saying that a nurse needs to take care of herself first is truer in this situation than any other.
If you are meant to be a night nurse, you will know it!