Your shift falls on a full moon? Look out!

AISETUPYou go to work for your night shift and look up at the moon. A feeling of dread washes over you as you see a bright round ball of a moon sitting up there among the clouds and stars.

As you walk onto the floor, you see the haunted look in the eyes of your coworkers. Already the whisperings are starting about the obscenely full moon outside.

You are all expecting a night of hell, a night of torture. Everyone knows that a full moon means that there are more admissions, more sick people, and more craziness.

There is nothing you can do but grit your teeth and face the full moon effect head on. The question remains, though: does the full moon really affect patients?

The Myth

The myth of the full moon has been around for a very long time. In ancient times, many phenomenon were blamed on the moon, and that is still a common assumption today.

After all, the moon is mysterious, controlling the tide and coinciding with a woman’s reproductive cycle. It also has a role in keeping the earth in balance.

Is it any wonder that the full moon is blamed for the craziness of a night’s shift? From nurses to doctors to midwives, the belief is strong that a full moon results in more work.

Some would swear to it, saying they’ve experienced it before. If you’ve worked in healthcare, you’ve either heard this saying or experienced it yourself.

The Science

According to studies cited in the article “Is The Moon To Blame?,” the answer is no. The article asserts that the common knowledge among nurses about the full moon is mere superstition.

In fact, crazy nights happen no matter how the moon looks. Even particularly crazy nights can happen without the presence of a full moon.

Of course, we know that, but when confronted with bizarre patient behaviors, we sometimes notice the moon is full. However, we don’t notice the perfectly normal nights that pass when the moon is full, too.

It is a case of selective reasoning. We only look to the full moon when the problems occur instead of scientifically determining if the moon is the cause of the influx of patients and work.

Drawing Your Own Conclusions

You may not want to believe the scientific results of studies that found the full moon has no effect on patient’s behavior, and that’s okay. If it takes the belief to get you ready for the night, then who can blame you?

The truth is, though, that not one study has shown a correlation between the moon and patients. When the moon is full, researchers have found that, over time, there is no reason to suspect crazy behavior.

Despite what nurses may believe, it is all random. You may get a night that is difficult on a full moon night, but it is just as likely that patients act out on a half-moon night, too.

Keep a log, if you want, observing the moon and your shift, if you are convinced. You will see that the moon cannot be blamed for your bad shift. It is just dumb nurses’ luck.

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