Monday, January 11, 2010

My plans for tomorrow night:

How Jo Plans To Stay Awake During Her First-Ever Night Shift; or, Disaster Comes On Little Cat Feet

1. Nerves. I figure nerves will carry me from 1900 until about 2200.

2. Coffee. I can drink a cup of coffee at 2230 and stay awake until well after 0200, at which point there are...

3. CT scans and MRIs to haul patients down for.

4. And when I get back from those, there are baths to do.

If all of the above fail, then....

1. Food. I've been warned by a number of people not to forget to eat while I'm on nights; apparently, this is a big problem for some folks. Not sure Mama's gonna have a problem with that, but I'm taking an omelette and a salad with me anyhow. (Actually, that sounds pretty good right now, too.)

2. Sports. Everybody on night shift is on some sort of fantasy football team. Even though I don't watch sports or follow them at all (except for Olympic curling, which I love because it's just so weird), their chatter will keep me awake.

Which brings me to the fact that our CCU is essentially oval. On the back wall is a single automatic-open door leading to the back hallway, which has things like the dialysis rooms and outpatient lab collection and the lab and so on on it. The front side of the oval, as it were, is the CCU. With an oval floor layout, you can have....

3. Curling. Steal a whisk broom and a push broom from Housekeeping, snag the tea kettle from the break room, and put some tape lines on the floor. Presto: your own indoor, ice-free curling arena! And if that's too north-of-the-border for my colleagues, an oval layout also lends itself to....

4. Roller Derby. This might be the opportunity I've been waiting for all my life. I'd make one hell of a blocker and might even work as a pivot, you know? Plus, I have a name all picked out: Miss Ann Dree. Get it? It might be a little work to get Steve, the six-foot-five ex-Ranger to play on a mostly-girls' team, but I think we could make it work. If all else fails, we could have two sides of three each and he could referee.

5. Boys! And girls! The nurses at night play "Which resident is least loathsome?" (answer: Not Dr. Dweebo) and "Which movie star makes you want to stab your eyes out the least?" Most of the day-shift CCU nurses are gay; most of the night-shift CCU nurses are straight. Do not ask me why this is, and don't ask if it's a common thing; I don't know. Anyway, going from one to the other should give me plenty of thought-provoking answers.

6. FORKS IN A DISPOSAL!! This is the favorite game of the nurses on days. Whenever things get too rough, too tough, too stressful, or too emotionally-charged, we all go into the back and do a quick run of Forks In A Disposal. Essentially, you hop up and down with your hands in the air, yelling "Tink-a-tink-a-tink-a-tink-a!" and going in circles until everybody falls down laughing. I look forward to introducing this concept to nights.

7. Tooth-Whitening and Cuticle Care. I once asked Friend James how his night was, and he replied, "Oh, great. I got to do my tooth strips and a manicure, see?"

8. Boomshine, Bubble Blaster, and Bejeweled. 'Nuff said.

9. Facebook. I mean, what was Facebook invented for, if not long night shifts when both of your patients are on floor orders and everybody else is intubated, including your coworkers?

10. ...aaaaand here is where I run out of ideas.

I'm really kind of nervous. I mean, on the one hand, it'll be nice to get to nap frequently and well tomorrow, with the excuse that I'll have to be up all night tomorrow night, but on the other...working nights is a different feel, a different schedule and rhythm. I'm not sure that my natural hyperactivity will work well with night shift.

I've never been happier than this past week at work, when I felt like a barely-adequate skiier confronted by a double-black-diamond slalom. I had everything just barely under control--with a whole, whole lot of help when the shit hit the fan--and was loving every second of it. Long stretches of not a lot to do is the primary reason I left the floor for the CCU.

Oh, well. Attila's been kind enough to give me a list of easy-to-do, no-equipment-necessary exercises that are guaranteed to wake me up and make me a laughingstock, so maybe I'll just do those in the middle of the night. Hell, maybe I'll haul in my twenty-pound bells so I can do oblique crunches and lower-back exercises at 1 am.

Wish me luck, Fearless Readers. I think I'll be needing it.

20 comments:

An Open Heart said...

Good LUCK! I like the curling idea best.

horsetech said...

KEEP MOVING. Think of it like being a shark or whatever -- if you stop moving, you'll either drown or fall asleep. If it's slow, make yourself walk -- walk the long way around the oval for everything. Sit for a little bit, then walk some more. Plan on some additional caffeine around 4:30 AM -- I usually feel like I'm ready to crash around 5-5:30, but it takes some time for the caffeine to kick in.

I like all of the hyperactive activities listed. I'll have to try the fork in a disposal trick. Good luck! The night shift is TOTALLY different from day shift and has some perks - no rounds (although they can be interesting sometimes)! No one asking if you can help for "just a minute" and finding yourself late for treatments 45 minutes later! No visitors wandering around to see you going on facebook, cracking jokes, or acting like a psychotic kitten!

L said...

Luck, dear. I will be thinking of you, at least until I fall asleep about 2215. (After that ... don't tell my wife!)

Let us all know how it came out.

Brenda said...

I worked 5 yrs on the graveyard shift. if you can get outside, if even for a minute. my night nurses I swore moved the pictures on the wall behind them. Cuz to me they were always out of place.
once I swore the character from Harry Potter came out of one frame.I'm sure it was the drugs.
good luck.

Homemaker Man said...

Good Luck!

Tonyia said...

As a former night nurse, one of my favorite jokes: What's the difference between a night nurse and an elephant? About ten pounds. ba-doop-dum...

But really, beware the night time eating to keep awake. There may be a smidge of truth to the joke.

Enjoy - I've always found the night staff to be the most interesting people to work with. In SO many ways!

Penny said...

I'm laughing my ass off at Fork In The Disposal. Thank you.

Julia said...

Good luck! If you don't have them already, black out shades, and some sort of white noise maker.
I don't know how people forget to eat at night - I'm always starving at least three times in my shifts. And, nights can be fricking busy too. I don't remember too many napping opportunities...
You'll do great!

me said...

Baths are your saviour ~ nothing like them to beat the 0330 blahs!!!

All best luck!

Jenn said...

I love the forks in the disposal idea, it made me giggle. I am all for curling in the hallway! Put some teflon tape on the teapot to make it slide a bit better or tip the janitors to wax the floor more. I think you will have no problem staying awake, you have so many fun and silly ideas. Its night three that I would think be the problem.... So good luck and rock their socks off!

Flea said...

I work 12s (1900-0700) on a med/surg floor with a max of 8 patients per nurse and usually only one aide for the unit. Some nights are blissful, quiet, and awesome. Most aren't.

We try to let our patients sleep as much as possible. Sleep is a requirement for healing. Unless they want something PRN or we're sticking our heads in for hourly checks it's a matter of keeping it quiet on the unit. Our HCAHPS are full of complaints about how the patients couldn't sleep or it was too loud on nights. Nevermind that dementia patients are MORE active and rambunctious during the night. *shakes head*

I love it when I can say during report, "He/she slept really well overnight." Too bad it doesn't happen more often.

Anonymous said...

Out here, the Rat City Roller Girls use males as referees. Maybe your 6' 5" ex-Ranger would agree to that?

You're too young for a name such as the 55 year old member of one of the teams (I think, Grave Danger) chose: "Hot Flash." BUT I will try to find a suitable T-shirt for wear maybe under the scrubs?

dotson105113 said...

I used to take in craft supplies for something easy that could be picked up/put down/restarted easily. One night I Beadazzled/Bejeweled all the protective eyewear - everybody got their own custom set. We all looked like Dame Edna, but it kept me awake and made the patients laugh.

I second the suggestion to keep moving - walk, stretch, isometrics, yoga, whatever. Talking to someone else or reading on the Net also helped. Listening to music put me straight to sleep.

Good luck, I'll be thinking of you!

Rachael said...

GL! nights are really that bad. of course, I'm not a nurse. just an er admit clerk but still...

it's not as hard to stay away as you think!

Maha said...

Good luck! I love working nights because I don't have to put up with all the admin BS. Eat, but sparingly - just enough to keep starvation at bay. It took me forever to lose the 10 lbs I gained working nights and I still have another 7 to go. If you can, try to get a nap or at least get away from the unit just for a little bit. And remember, nights end in 12 hours :)

woolywoman said...

think about getting a Happy Light (really, that's what they call them, you can get them on amazon). Keep moving at night. I stood up to chart, sometimes, which burned calories, which I needed to do because i ate constantly.

Also, how does one take an omelet to work?

You may have time to read charts, which can be really helpful in understanding things...and baths. Baths are great. The day shift is always like duuuude- the bath is done???? in a happy way.

Halie said...

Hilarious post! Scubsmag.com just released an article about this very topic. http://scrubsmag.com/2010/01/12/you-can-thrive-on-the-night-shift/

danielle said...

When I first started working nights - just the thought of eating was enough to gag me. Then I found out I could nibble on junk food and it was ok. Eventually I was able to eat food. But just working nights caused weight gain. Unnatural cycles apparently. Keep moving is a good one - and laughing at people who say things like: Oh, I didnt expect to see anyone here at night....yeah, right. Everything closes down and in the inmate...ummm, patients...care for themselves. And those phone calls while sleeping??? They really dont get the point when you growl at them to give you their phone number so you can call them when you are awake at oh say, 0200....

I was not good as a night shift worker altho I did it for about 8 years straight. There were only 2 good things about it as far as I could see - no,, make it 3: 1. differential 2. my co-workers 3. and no big bosses around...less docs...and even less visitors....

gorochan said...

my big sister's advice when I first did nights: stay away as late as you can the night before, or at least till MN. Sleep late. If this fails try to take a nap in the afternoon. Get in bed by 0930 if you can, plan to wake up around 1700. You will be plenty rested for night #2. If you can group your shifts 3 in a row it works easier. Last night on, go home, shower, stay up as long as you can and then go to bed slightly early, like 2000. I had tons of trouble with the staying up the last day, sometimes I would just go to the mall and walk around trying to stay awake. Nights made me tired all the time and I felt like all I did was sleep. At the same time, while at work I could stay awake but started getting bored.
oh, and benadryl used long term can elevate BP so damn (sleep aids useful after you fail to stay awake that first day off).

Mrs. Ott said...

Haha well every night shift crew I've ever known never forgets the food. They have their own personal fridge, coffeemaker and pantry where I work