Working the night shift – part 1

I like nights. Most people don’t because you are actively working against your own clock. My clock was skewed a bit from the fact that when I was a kid, my father had to go pick up my mother from the hospital. And so I was going places, as a little kid, when most other kids were in bed. I feel more at home during the night, than in the early morning. I get my best studying done at night (ask anybody in nursing school – when they wanted a project, they had to specify the time, or they’d get it at 2:45am, and I would say “What? That’s still reasonably early!”)

The other reason I like the nights is that it is quiet. Or at least it is supposed to be quiet. When it isn’t (I have a resident running around, or somebody popped a fever, or something), you can concentrate on the problem, not everything else on the floor.

You have to be independent on the night shift. No one is coming to save you. Perhaps your supervisor might have some ideas, but usually it is you and the CNA’s. I sometimes call down to another floor if I know that that very experienced nurse is down a floor and can give me some advice, but for the most part, I’m on my own. That’s the way I like it.

Of course your staff is crucial and there is no getting around that. If your CNA’s don’t have your back, you are dead in the water.  I think a lot of nurses totally discount the CNA’s. To me, that is unthinkable. Especially on nights, you need them. They do the work that we used to get to do, and they get a lot more patient interaction because of it. So they know the residents better than we do most of the time.

So the nights is when I work, and for the most part, I really like it. It isn’t the shift for everybody, true. It takes a special kind of person to run the night shift.  I’m proud to be part of that group.

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