NOC wear and tear

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The other night my husband told me that he has a new dream for our lives: that I would get a day job.

I had to laugh a little, because as we nurses know, switching from days to NOC or vice versa is a difficult task. Having all the pros on the night shift in mind (it works well with my kid’s schedule, the money is better, I love my night team and the night environ), I also had to sit back and count the cost of nights at my husband’s urging.

A coworker told me recently, “So what if NOC takes seven years off my life–working with the day crew would probably take off ten!” I laughed and laughed, but the fact remains: NOC is really hard on the body. Scientific research aside, I can personally attest to the fact that nights has completely jacked up my sleep cycles (I take Unisom with a vengence).

Another issue I can attribute to working the night shift are my weird midnight eating habits, which I am convinced has messed up my metabolism. And dieting is almost impossible for me: if the schedule doesn’t throw me off, the stress does! I wonder if statistically speaking, night nurses are fatter than day nurses? Hm?

And then there are my emotions: only nurses who work three and four night stretches know how crazy they can feel after such a run. I usually have a crying jag when I try to turn myself around, and am somewhat irrational, plus I laze around in my PJs and have trouble feeling really awake on my days off! And just when I get turned around and feel human again, I have to go right back to a night regimen.

The solution is to switch to a day job. Yeah, not so easy! Day jobs are the last to open up–and working days brings with it its own nightmares (think waking at 5AM, morning traffic, management on the floor, and visiting hours with consequent family members everywhere).

So yeah, my body is feeling it and is telling me to do something. In the next year I see myself making the change and going to days.

Would you ever make the big switch?

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Amy Bozeman

Amy is many things: a blogger, a nurse, a wife, a mom, a childbirth educator. She started her journey towards a career in nursing when she got pregnant with her first child. After nursing school and studying "like she has never studied before" she entered the nursing profession eager to get her feet wet. The first years provided her with much exposure to sadness, joy and other complex human emotions. She feels that blogging is a wonderful outlet and a way for nurse bloggers to further build their community. Traditionally, midwives have handed down their skill set from midwife to apprentice midwife. She believes nurses have this same opportunity: to pass from nurse to new nurse the rich traditions of this profession.

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3 Responses to NOC wear and tear

  1. Sean Dent

    I feel your pain Amy.
    Best of luck with the transition.. yes it will be fun to read about that adventure!!


    I am so not a night nurse. I did eat more at night. One of my co workers recommended “snacking” to stay awake. It worked. However, my weight didn’t.

  3. GeorgeTNurse

    You’re doing night shift wrong. It is far better to stay on the same sleep schedule than to try to switch for your days off. How many daay shift people do you know that stay awake all night when they are off? Exactly.
    One easy way to keep on the same sleep schedule is to pretend you work another shift, 7 days a week. Do not allow yourself to be interrupted. (Caring for sick family members is allowed). Stay on the schedule.
    I’ve worked night shift for most of my career and will not switch to days. Cannot switch. When I try to work day shift I either wake up before midnight or after 6am. There is no in between.