There are all kinds of different shifts at my job, but for the most part they're either day shifts or night shifts. 7-7 is the standard in nursing - either 7 am to 7 pm or vice versa - but the ER runs more varied shifts than the regular floor. There are noon to midnights shifts, 3 pm to 3 am shifts and so on. Whatever your internal clock, there's a shift for you.
I have always worked the day shift, if not always the 7 am to 7 pm, at least close. I don't do nights very well, and would never willingly choose to work nights. This is unfortunate, because most hospitals pay a huge shift differential for nights, but the way I look at it is that if I get fired for falling asleep on the job or accidentally killing someone, the shift differential won't make much difference anyway.
Night shift has always fascinated me, though - in terms of sheer logistics. Do they always sleep during the day and stay up all night? Even on their days off? Or do they switch back to a "normal" schedule as soon as they have a day off? Different people do it different ways, but I'm always curious how they make it work.
But even though they may work all night, one of the things about nursing is that you tend to work the same shift all the time. It used to be that they would have to rotate between days and nights, but not anymore. If you're hired for days, you stay on days. Same for nights. Some of the PRN people may go back and forth, but that's their choice, not a demand. In a situation like this, it seems to me, it being your choice and not foisted on you would be huge.
The doctors, however, don't have this option. They work all different shifts on a regular basis. And this is what made me think of this today. One of our docs worked all day Saturday with us, but then came back to start his Sunday shift a few hours before we all went home for the day. So he worked roughly 8 am to 8 pm Saturday and then came back Sunday at 5 pm for a twelve hour shift. They basically self- schedule, so he did this to himself, but still. When do you sleep on that schedule? If you sleep normally Saturday night then you'll end up having a 24+ hour day on Sunday. How do you skew that schedule so you don't fall over mid-shift? It really intrigues me, being that I turn into a pumpkin at midnight no matter what fun thing may be around the corner. (Or as fun as you can get at work, anyway).
Anybody out there worked night shifts? Swing shift? Any variation on the above? And if so, how did you manage it? Fill me in. Because I just can't imagine.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Posted by the rotten correspondent at 12:02 AM