Thank God there are people out there willing and able to work a night shift. I worked night shift for 6 months, and that was 6 months too long!
1. The cafeteria is never open. In most places, the cafeteria is not open at night. They may have leftover sandwiches from the day, but those will not look appealing at 2 o’clock in the morning.
2. You do everything that was left over from day shift. Something needs to be given or done? Oh night shift will “have time.” Touche day shift. Touche.
3. Day shift will think you didn’t do much, or anything at all. Because patients sleep all night, right? Wrong! It’s like the nature of the beast that if anything wasn’t done at night it’s because you watched t.v. the entire time and hung out in the lounge.
4. No managers sound nice, until the shit hits the fan. It sounds awesome not having management around, until you really need them. And then it’s like a game of Where’s Waldo, except Waldo is never found…
5. No physicians around sounds nice, until you need an order. At first it sounds like no managers or physicians looking over your shoulder means you and your coworkers will rule the world. Until you need an order and you don’t want to call because you don’t want to wake them up. Then there’s a 50% chance you’ll call and get Irritated with a side of resentment or Polite with a heaping side of exhaustion. Both will make you feel bad. Except you really need the order, because if you wait, refer to #3.
6. Your body will take a hit. No matter how use you are to working nights, the schedule will tear your body up. Your body just never really adjusts to sleeping all day and staying up all night.
7. You will fall asleep at weird times. Working nights leaves you in a constant state of fatigue. The result? You may fall asleep at really weird times.
8. No one remembers that you worked last night. It sounds like common sense…you work night shift, so everyone should know that you are asleep at 1 o’clock in the afternoon. WRONG. No one will remember. Everyone will call in the middle of the day and be shocked that you’re asleep.
9. You will want to go home and go straight to bed. When you get home, you will want to go straight to bed. Like, do not pass go, do not collect $200, go straight to bed. This may sound like a completely logical thing to do, but when you work during the day you don’t head straight for the sheets when you walk through the door…
10. You can go days without actually seeing the sun. If you do go to bed as soon as you get home, and wake up and go straight to work, you will not see much, if any, of the sun. When you leave work in the morning, you’ll feel like a vampire when the sun hits your skin.
11. Distraction is a good technique. So when visitors leave, patient’s press their call bell. Like, every.single.patient.
12. You will become best friends with the people you work with. The night shift crew is usually a very close knit group, because they know they can always count on each other. No one truly understands what it’s like to work a night shift more than another night shifter