Nursing Voices

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Night Nurse

Painting by Andrew Wodzianski:

Everyone who wants to work nightshift, please raise your hand. What, you say you hate working the graveyard shift? It's hard sleeping during the day when your kids keep knocking on your bedroom door and telemarketers keep waking you up. Too bad you don’t work with Dracula. If he worked on your unit as a nurse, no one would ever have to float to nights.

If you're working an evening shift, you pray that the night nurse doesn't call in sick. That means you have to work until the next morning, and most of us are not nocturnal creatures. Our bodies complain loudly when we break established sleeping patterns. Patients love night nurses except when a night nurse wakes them up to ask if they want a sleeping pill. Some people have odd ideas about night nurses. Yeah, you know what I mean. A nurse working nights may dream about crawling into a patient’s bed, but just to get some sleep, so get your mind out of the gutter.

I detest working the nightshift, making those who want to work nights my hero. And speaking of heroes, even super-heroes need a nurse, and who do they turn to in time of need? The Night Nurse, of course. According to my coworker’s son who collects comic books, no one knows the Night Nurse’s true identity. He also said that she is affiliated with many super heroes, including Spider-Man, Daredevil, and Iron Fist. She runs Night Medical Center, a 24 hour clinic where super-heroes can go to get treated for the injuries, no questions asked. She never charges a fee for her services, but accepts donations. And like any professional nurse, her focus is on the welfare of her patients.

She's not just a nurse, she's the Night Nurse.


Anonymous sean said...

I am one of those rare folks who would gladly work only night shifts....I LOVE them.

I detest day shifts with such a passion that I would rather poke myself with pins than actually work them.

But, I have no choice but to take my turn working days.

9:21 PM  
Blogger scalpel said...

I only work night shifts, and I wear black scrubs.

I started working nights because night nurses in the ER are the best, generally. And an ER doc is only as good as his nurses.

9:26 PM  
Blogger Julie, RN said...

I think I'm the only one in my group that prefers 3-11. I can stay up as late as I want, sleep in, and since my brain doesn't fully engage until about 10am anyway, its all good.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Mother Jones RN said...

I hear you, Julie. I'm a 3-11 girl myself, and I've been that way for years. I enjoy staying up late and getting up at the "crack on noon" the next day.

10:27 PM  
Blogger Dr. A said...

A good night nurse has saved me more than a few times while on call overnight. Like when it's 3AM and I'm barely awake on the other end of the phone, the good night nurse helps me immensely. Thanks good night nurse!

11:32 PM  
Anonymous may said...

when i grow up, i want to be a good night nurse. as of now, i am just a night nurse :)

12:05 AM  
Blogger Deacon Barry said...

Although I primarily work day shifts, I do work occasional night shifts. I don't mind them, they're nowhere near as busy as days - unless, of course, you get an emergency admission who requires theatre. But that happens so rarely, and I only work 1-2 night shifts per month, the chances of that happening on my shift is small.
If Dracula were on my ward, he'd be more likely to be a patient. Those red eyes of his - severe conjunctivitis!

6:57 AM  
Blogger RX850 said...

I loved the night shift when I was younger and more adaptable. A bunch of us would get off at 7am and pile into a car and drive a couple of hours to the ocean for the day and sleep on the beach.

My idea of fun at 7am now is making coffee...

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Tatiana, RN, BSN said...

I love nights. But I don't have kids to wake me up. Only cats. And they like sleeping in the day.

My body is totally switched to nights. I'm even up all night on my nights off and sleep all day.

11:43 AM  
Blogger kt said...

night nurse is sooooo hard. tired and being nice is such a difficult combo for me.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nooooooo....No nights!!! I can literally fall asleep while walking down the hall. I also take days and days to recover from a single night shift - I always feel like I've got the flu! 10-22 11-23 & 12-24 are my best shifts!!

5:42 PM  
Anonymous Jen said...

Oy, I can't take night shift. I did a 11am-3am last night (got asked to stay late, was only supposed to be there until 11p), and between the exhaustion, the cortisol drop making me freeze, and the nurse questioning my liscense, I was definately ready to leave at three...when the charge nurse said, "Why don't you give report on this patient that you've only had peripherally for the last 4 hours?" Well, I added that last bit, but...yeah. Sucky. I'd love working evening shifts, but I do 12 hour shifts, so days it is.

7:57 PM  
Blogger AtYourCervix said...

Night shifts are the hardest, by far! I worked nocs for 4 years, before switching to day/eve rotations. Best thing I ever did for my body!

PS - Nurse Ratched - you've been tagged! See my post today :-)

8:29 PM  
Blogger Marcia said...

Night nurse here. This post cracked me up. Can I borrow some of the pictures if I link back to you?

8:05 AM  
Blogger Mother Jones RN said...

Hi Marcia:

A link is always appreciated. I'm glad you like the post:-)

8:17 AM  
Blogger Lola2020 said...

I used to puke on nights, I was so tired and they made me feel so ill.
In the end went into teaching...just can't hack them, but I admire anyone that can.

5:09 PM  
Blogger pAula said...

Two weeks ago I took a night position after working 1o years in the ICU on day shift. What a change! Just having most of the family members out of the unit has made it worth it. Last night I think the phone rang like 20 times-in 12 hours! Sure, we can get busy with a crumper, but that continual intensity HUM of activity is gone. HorRaY for now!

10:53 PM  
Blogger MandyHamm said...

I've worked the night shift for the last 8 years...I loved it, still do (it's still busy, we don't just sit on our asses you dayshifters), less administrative bullshit to deal with. But since my 2 1/2 daughter came's been increasingly difficult to balance family life and night work.
I'm linking you to my faves...

1:31 AM  
Blogger road to life said...

wow iam tring to depit same thing what u did

5:21 AM  
Blogger SatAtmaKaur said...

I used to work so called flexible hours, they were in fact flexible for the hospital, not for me. So I work pretty much everywhere now and do not mind an occasional night shift as well. If it was an option, I would probably work only days or nights, not both of them.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Roger Coss said...

I worked 31 years on night shift and I preferred it though it changed as I changed hospitals, and again as the last hospital I was in changed standards(lower)for staffing, patient admits etc. I've been on days in an outpatient clinic for 3 years now and I confess it has it's advantages. But I still miss some things about 11-7.

11:23 AM  

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