Whoever hears this would eventually think, “Here comes another night without sleep“.
Well, indeed. This is quite true. It is not really advisable to sleep while on duty. And that’s the main glitch working on night shifts, some people just can’t avoid being sleepy. And no one can blame them, right? Night time was made for sleeping in the first place. But since one is assigned to work on the “dreaded” night shift, he/she must endure (COFFEE, COFFEE, and more COFFEE). Working on night shifts is pretty challenging to one’s success at work and the ability to maintain physical and emotional health. Thus, a lot of people don’t really look forward to it.
As for me, I’ve been working for over a year now as a night shift nurse in one of the biggest, most toxic polyclinics here in Riyadh (one week straight all the time). Sounds pretty awful, right? In the Philippines, we’d usually work for a maximum of three nights straight then HELLO, DAY OFF. Well, at first I used to whine about my situation (I still do sometimes), but since I FINALLY ACCEPTED my FATE, it’s a whole lot easier. I became a “permanent night person” who can function well (though I have no trouble being assigned to any shift).
So whether by design or by necessity that you find yourself working on a night shift, let me tell you some reason why you shouldn’t really dread it.
Here are the 10 thins why I like being a night shift nurse:
1) I TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MY INSOMNIA. Being insomniac technically is not a good thing. It’s actually unhealthy. But hey, when you are working night shifts, IT IS HELPFUL. I don’t have to worry about feeling sleepy. I don’t have to fix myself a cup of coffee every hour ( I’m not really a coffee drinker). Also, I had read that too much reliance on caffeine can be addictive and may further disrupt one’s circadian rhythm. (Oh my,my body clock is already distorted as it is now, I couldn’t imagine it becoming worse.)
2) NIGHT SHIFT DIFFERENTIAL PAY. Well, let me make this clear. I DON’T RECEIVE ANY. I just felt I need to state it for the benefit of those who actually have differential pay. Good for them because they have extra compensation. Actually, most institutions offer this. So, if by chance you’ve worked on a night shift, CONGRATS! You have extra money on pay day.
3) HIGH LEVEL OF SELF RELIANCE. What else can you expect? Basically, the number of nurses during night shift is fewer than day shift.As for us here in our center, the night shift nurse WORKS ALONE. You have no one else to rely on but yourself. So you need to get things done on your own. It actually increases your confidence in doing nursing actions. Thus, increasing your level of competency and autonomy. It’s great, right?
4) STRAIGHT DUTY TIME. Polyclinics here usually function on broken time (ex.9-12noon and 4-10pm).But when you are assigned on a night shift, you’ll get to work nine hours straight (ex. 12-9am). It’s a good thing because you’ll finish your duty in one shot.
5) GREATER FREEDOM AT WORK/PACE OF SHIFT MAY BE PREFERABLE. Since you will usually work alone or interact only with a few number of people, you can do things in your own pace (that is if you’re not having a toxic night. If you are, you’ll just have to hurry up and get things done). Being able to work without a boss constantly looking over your shoulder gives you a greater sense of freedom at work.
6) CHANCE TO ENCOUNTER A MORE INTERESTING CLIENTELE. Another thing that nurses usually dread when they work on a night shift here in K.S.A. are the “other” kind of patients. At first, that was also one of my concerns when I was just a newbie in the night shift gig. Our center doesn’t have a security guard so that makes it scarier. Based on experience, it is not unusual for me to encounter and handle quite an interesting range of clients on my shifts (ex. drug addicts, drunkards, suicide patient,psych patients, police cases, just to state a few). These kind of patients make my life in the emergency room “exciting”. At times, they do get on my nerves. But no matter what case is, the truth remains. I’m a nurse. They’re the patients. I must cater to their needs in any way I can. That’s our role as nurses.
7) CLOSE-KNIT WORKING RELATIONSHIP. As what I had stated, there are only few people working on night shifts. You can really build your rapport with your workmates. In my case here, there’s just one doctor and one receptionist plus me. We’re the ones who are always together on our shifts so we basically have no choice but to try to get along and work well together to attain a harmonious working environment and increase efficiency in our jobs.
8) FEWER DISTRACTIONS. Let’s face it,when you have a lot of companions (other nurses specifically), even if you don’t have a lot of patients you can’t help it but chat for some time, distracting you from finishing your job. Fewer people (includes clients and other staffs) means you can get your job done fast and calmly. A night shift nurse can be considered lucky because she can work in a calmer environment. (I find myself in a “peaceful” E.R. sometimes.)
9) AVOID MEETINGS. Come one. Admit it, though staff meetings are important they are usually unbelievably long and dull .Some of us may consider some parts of it as waste of time, right? Lucky you you have an excuse to avoid meetings like this if you are working on a night shift.
10) MORE FREE TIME. Believe it or not, but you have a lot of spare time after work. You can do your laundry, shopping, and even some quick time on the net or watch a movie. You can get a lot of things done before you sleep. So that will increase satisfaction in your part.
So you see, it’s not really that dreadful. It may be hard at first but once you get used to it, you’ll realize it’s not so bad after all. Don’t just look at the disadvantages.Look at the PERKS of night shifts too.
As for me, I’m quite satisfied being the resident night shift nurse.
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