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As an ER nurse who works nights, I always see these lists and comments ,
I love nights and so do my fellow nocturnal nurses! After asking around to my fellow NOC nurses, this is my compilation of the top 10 reasons that being a nurse on night shift rules:
1. No idiot drivers. You don’t have to contend with other stupid drivers on the way to work because NO ONE is on the road. It’s only you, the occasional intoxicated driver (which you gladly call in to dispatch because you don’t want to deal with the patient load the accident will cause 20 minutes later), and the occasional wildlife – and, let’s face it, sometimes the deer are smarter than the people on the road.
2. The people you will treat will ACTUALLY BE SICK. No more dealing with “Oh, I have a sore throat that started yesterday and I didn’t feel like going to urgent care.” These folks are usually asleep in their beds, and wait to clog the ER until around 0900 the next morning. JOY.
3. You see more wildlife. I go for runs when everyone is asleep or tucking in for the night. I’ve seen more bears, hawks, owls, badgers, deer, foxes, coyotes and wolves than you can imagine, and I’ve even sighted a possible cougar, as well as the occasional bobcat. You learn to appreciate nature more at these hours, as there are no cars or people out to ruin it. You feel alone with nature and it’s the rawest, most overpoweringly calm feeling in the world. I feel most at peace during those times – and I get to experience it every day.
4. You are forced to bring your own food and eat healthy, or eat nothing at all. The local restaurants and hospital cafeteria are closed for the night, the vending machine is all the way on the other side of the hospital, and you just don’t DARE venture that far away from the department, as this will most certainly call to the Gods of Mass Chaos to immediately rain hell on the ED if you even consider venturing further than the department bathroom.
5. Less is more. There’s less “unnecessary” staff to get in your way. I will say no more to this statement, as many who work nights in the medical field will completely understand this.
6. No sharing the bed! When you come off shift, you get to go home to a bed ALL TO YOURSELF! The kids are at school, your spouse is at work, and you have no one kicking you or asking for “sexy time” when all you want to do is get an uninterrupted 6-8 hours of sleep.
7. Empty grocery stores! On your night off you get to grocery shop, and again, not have to deal with the general mass population. If you want to run and jump on your cart and do wheelies between each aisle, you can (and will) without hesitation, because the place is devoid of people who will judge you.
8. Parenting is easier. Never is there a moment in your home when EVERYONE is asleep. Working nights, I’m always awake to catch my teenager attempting to sneak his way in or out of the house. BUSTED!
9. Empty gyms. On your night off, you can go to the gym and run on the treadmill for two hours if you want, not the normal allotted 30-45 minutes some gyms demand. Again, fewer people to contend with – it’s heaven!!
10. Stars. I see more stars because I’m outside at night more often. I’ve learned constellations. I’ve witnessed more meteor showers than ever before. I see the Northern Lights more often. Looking up at the night sky also gives perspective. The universe is a lot bigger than we can imagine, and I’m reminded that there are forces out there that are so much larger than we can ever comprehend. We really are comparable to a tiny microbe living on a grain of sand in the ocean, and that’s the most sobering realization of all – one of which many people can benefit from. I think if we all stopped to think a little more, things might be a little less crazy.
Sarah Kobernick, RN, has worked in the medical field for 13 years as a CNA, LPN and currently as an RN in the emergency department. She also works as a part-time sex assault nurse examiner. She does what she can to stay positive and remain focused on what she does – helping people!