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…..

About

37 years old and I have finally achieved my dream of becoming a nurse. I had around 10 years healthcare experience before I started my nursing degree and then when I qualified I went straight into GP Nursing. I have a passion for sexual health, transgender health, LGBTQ+ health and all things shiny.

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