My first night shift experience

On the day, I woke up around 5.30am so that I could hopefully sleep later before my shift. I spent all morning thinking about this night shift. Panicking, worrying, feeling very anxious about it. Night shifts aren’t something I want to be doing at all. I’m no night owl. I love my sleep.

“I don’t know how I’ll cope!”

“Nope. Stop it. Positive thoughts. Happy ones!”

So I ate breakfast, ironed my uniform ready, got my bag pack together and prepared my food for the shift. 12:45pm I get into my bed, cover my head with the duvet to block the light but leave a tiny gap to breathe haha.

I actually managed to sleep a bit! 2 hours but I woke a couple of times. I finally woke before my alarm feeling more tired than I did before! Urghhh. I made my lunch. Hair and make up done. Dressed and out the door to catch the train. 17:05pm train to get me there in time for a 19:00pm start.

I arrive at 6.30pm and have a coffee to wake up a bit. I feel like a zombie today and the shift hadn’t even started.

Charging the batteries….

  • 7pm. Hand over
  • 7.30pm. Assisted a patient to change after she had been to the toilet and got some over her night dress.
  • 8pm. Removed a cannula from a patients arm.
  • 8.30pm. Measured urine and documented. Did urine dip stick sample. Check for urine infections on a patient.
  • 9pm. Repositioned patients that needed doing. Did observations (Blood Pressure, pulse, temp, resps and O2 levels) on patients.
  • 9.30pm. Aspirated a patient (Using a syringe to drain out mucous/fluid from her nose tube). Documented it.
  • 10pm. Patient obs again (she has to be checked every hour as she’s just had an operation and some of her results were a bit low last time).
  • 10.30pm. Writing on the handover list online anything that needs updating.
  • 11pm. Completed all fluid balance charts for patients. Obs again on my patient.
  • 11.30pm. Check all patient documents are up to date.
  • 12am. Obs on my patient again.
  • 12.30am. Looking back for anything I’ve missed to let my mentor know.
  • 1am. Assisted the healthcare assistant to change a patient and reposition him. Then assisted to reposition my patient and do obs again.
  • 1.30am. Check fluid balance is up to date again, check catheter bags.
  • 2am – 3am Break time. Chill. Eat.
  • 3am. Obs again. “I feel so tired!! I sat and ate food and now I need sleep. Zzzzzz. Not long left. Come on!”
  • 4am I seem to be wide awake again. More obs, assist patient to toilet/commode.
  • 4.30am document notes. Check all fluid balance charts are up to date.
  • 5am. All patient obs this time. And reposition patients that need it.
  • 6am. My mentor says I can go early 😬 yay!! Sleeeeeep.

As soon as I left and entered the daylight I felt so tired. I felt the night shift take over me. “I was JUST fine?!” Haha. It’s crazy how the body works.

All in all, it seemed like a quiet night. In between patients I managed to fill my practice placement document and a little revision for my physiology. Kept my mind occupied I think. I was surprised at how fast the night actually went. I was expecting it to drag and I’d clock watch and hate it all. But it was OK. I wasn’t rushed off my feet, everything went smoothly as it could. All patients were comfortable and safe (minus me disturbing them for their obs). I don’t know what I was worried about after all.

Pros: Less busy, you can manage your time better and steadier to look after each patient properly. I prepared myself really well for the night shift, plenty of sleep, food and fluids to keep me going and only felt tired a couple of times for a moment and then I was great.

Cons: I don’t feel like I’ve had a life outside of the hospital. Work, sleep and back again. I have a long travel so makes the night even longer. Don’t see my girlfriend 🙁 which isn’t good. Don’t like that I’m leaving her to sleep alone when we are used to sleeping together now. My routine is all messed up.
So I slept from around 7.30am until 14:00pm, woke a few times but managed to get straight back to sleep which was great. I woke feeling fresh?! Which was strange haha. Got my things together, made food and drinks for my next night shift, got my bag ready. On the 16:57pm train en route my second night shift! Wish me luck.

“No two nights are ever the same”

Let’s find out…..


34 years old and finally achieving my dream of becoming a nurse.

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