8 frustrating things about working the night shift

Stockbyte | ThinkStock

Stockbyte | ThinkStock

Some nurses, it seems, are made for the night shift, while others never can get past that initial adjustment period of being awake all night long. Whether you love or loathe working NOC, every nurse who’s ever done his or her night shift duty can agree: There are some unique frustrations that come with being awake when most of the country is asleep! We asked our Facebook fans for the most frustrating thing about being a night shift nurse…read on to see what they said and sound off with your own thoughts in the comments below!

8 frustrating things about working the night shift

1. Comments from day shift: “What do you do? The patients are all asleep.” “You can’t be that busy.” If they knew just how many times we have caught and fixed their mistakes!
Kimberly Standifer 

2. Fake “days off.” Working a night shift and having the next day off is technically not a day off.
Kelly Caniglia

3. Meetings and other important “mandatory” stuff is not scheduled conveniently at all. Or getting called at 1 PM by your manager, who seems surprised that you’re sleeping!!
Jessie Disbrow Miller

4. The fact that most of the rest of the world is on a “daytime” schedule! It would be nice to be able to go to the bank or post office at 2 AM when you are still awake on your nights off.
Melanie Kitchings Pniewski 

5. Hands down, it’s the day shift leaving stuff for us to do, assuming that we have all kinds of spare time. I actually spend my first 4-5 hours cleaning up messes that the day shift leaves for me. I do not sit on my butt all night!
Jennifer Fox

6. I think #1 is SLEEP. Irregular sleep cycles really mess with the mind and body. It can be a serious health issue.
–Anna Mashburn

7.  When the staff is treated to a special meal or function, night shift is normally excluded. We also are not included in things like benefits and educational fairs.
Marcie Duvall McFarland 

8. There are many benefits to working nights…teamwork and collaboration, creative thinking due to lack of resources, shift diff, not having to put up with most administrators walking the halls, etc. What I don’t think I will ever adjust to, however, is the “transition day” between working and trying to go back to daytime living. It’s like a 24-hour hangover! And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve given the “Noon is the middle of the night to Mommy, so please be a little more quiet” speech to my kids…it gets old!
Deanne Stone Geringer 

What’s the most frustrating thing about working the night shift? What aspects of your job make up for all of those frustrations?



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8 Responses to 8 frustrating things about working the night shift

  1. There are some definite frustrating things about working on the night shift.
    One thing that that I can add as an informatics nurse that takes call is that day shift nurses will put off calling in routine IT issues that need to be resolve and night shift will call at 3am because no one else has done it. I sincerely appreciate the night shift nurses calling, but seriously, what’s 5 minutes to call in an issue so that it can be resolved when people are actually there to help?

  2. neonghost7 Student

    Worst part is not having a life outside of work. I can’t just ask my family to schedule birthday parties and get-togethers in the middle of the night so I can attend. I also hate coming in and spending hours cleaning up the day shifts mess so I can start my own duties, then get asked what I do all night. Or having others dump their mess on me thinking I have all this extra time.

  3. anhall

    I agree. I switched to night shift after years of working days. The first few weeks after the switch, my old day shift crew would leave all kinds if things undone for me to deal with. They said “we know you went to nights to be lazy, so we left you some work to do. “(Yeah one them actually said that!) I set them straight quickly. If you sign off the order you better do it! I know there is not enough hours to get everything done, but don’t leave me to clean up your mess!

  4. beentheredonethat

    The most frustrating thing I found is when friends and family would ask you to do something for them and when you said you couldn’t they would say Why not? Your home all day! My children are grown now but there was a house rule which was,unless there is fire or blood don’t wake me up!

  5. maternalchild

    Night shift staffing is minimal; there isn’t enough staff for anyone to actually leave the floor for a half hour break; it is challenging to even find time for a restroom break. We can ask to be paid for the missed lunch; but I would prefer to actually have a break- 12 hours is a long time to go without a break. We are also told that we are not permitted to eat at the nurse station. Very frustrating.

  6. empbsn

    I love not having to work 9-5 Monday through Friday. The frustrating part is with the 9-5’ers not respecting that I can’t always respond in their time frame.

  7. Wenred

    I feel that the most frustrating thing is having a day shift person come on and be upset at you for not getting to one thing because according to them nights are never “busy” It bugs me a lot since I worked days for 8 years before recently switching to nights and I was never like that.

  8. There are so many of these comments that I agree with. 1-4 not to mention #5, Which really stands out for me. Also more patients get sick at night than during the day, On a ward with 20-30+ people, Not all 30 are asleep at night. Some patients are just like us Nurses Night-Shift Workers and the night time is their up and about time. Again like I said #1 is easily the best comment, seems like that was the most busiest part of my job, fixing other nurses mistakes, at night. So don’t think we just sit and twiddle our thumbs all night long, because your all mistaken.