Unitek College logo

Staying Awake During Your Night Shift

Sometimes nurses feel like they are expected to be the Energizer bunny and work all night at full speed. Unfortunately, you know you’re in trouble when you ask a patient to move over so you can climb under the sheets for a cat nap. Okay, it’s never gotten THAT bad, but thousands of nurses have been working the night shift for countless decades and there are some definite things you can do to help keep those heavy lids open. If you are a LVN to RN student, this may come in handy as you enter the medical field, (or you can use this information now as you study for exams.)

Vanderbilt University Medical Center published a report on how nurses can effectively work the difficult night shift. David Salisbury posted on Research News @ Vaderbilt today that “As many as 25 percent of hospital nurses go without sleep for up to 24 hours in order to adjust to working on the night shift, which is the least effective strategy for adapting their internal, circadian clocks to a night-time schedule.”

As a nurse just entering the field or getting a job at a hospital of your choice may require some serious compromises, scheduling being one of the largest hurdles to overcome. Sleep studies have shown that this change is sleep pattern is not healthy and that “Circadian misalignment has been associated with increased risk of developing cardiovascular, metabolic and gastrointestinal disorders, some types of cancer and several mental disorders,” explains Salisbury.

“The researchers identified five distinct strategies that the nurses used to adjust their circadian clocks. The most common approach, used by about half the participants, was to sleep in late on the morning before their first night shift. A small percentage maintained a nighttime schedule on their days off. The other two strategies were intermediates,” reports Salisbury. “The researchers identified five distinct strategies that the nurses used to adjust their circadian clocks. The most common approach, used by about half the participants, was to sleep in late on the morning before their first night shift. A small percentage maintained a nighttime schedule on their days off. The other two strategies were intermediates.”

I found it interesting that they couldn’t measure nurse performances based on the various strategies because every individual is so different; what may work for one person did not work for another.

If you are in an LVN to RN program in the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s important to learn not only what’s in the textbooks, but to also figure out strategies to make you successful in your new career. Discover ways to prepare yourself for the exciting journey ahead.

To read the complete article referenced in this post, you can visit
http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2011/04/nurse-sleep-circadian-clocks/

1 reply
  1. Mallie Sanford
    Mallie Sanford says:

    I was reading some of your blog posts on this site. Unitek College Blog and I think this website is very informative! Keep putting up.

Comments are closed.