Thirteen Random Thoughts About Working the Night Shift and WHAT Was I Thinking?

Hi everyone!!!  I thought it would be fun to update you all on what I’ve been up to lately.

First of all… I only have a few more months of school left.  I just completed my last clinical course and I just have my capstone project left, which is essentially working 5 weeks as a full-time nurse.  I’m still waiting for my placement, but I have been told that it will be in the ICU, which I am stoked about!

So the last two years have gone by in a whirlwind. I can’t believe I’m almost done with my 3rd bachelor degree….. yes you read it right.  Why?  Don’t ask me… I ask myself every single day why I didn’t do it right the first time.  Well back to the point I was getting to…  This whole time of clinical and endless rotations I didn’t have to work the night shift.  Well, finally it hit me for my last clinical in the ER.  I was placed in a rural ER and it has been an awesome experience.  I have thirteen random thoughts for you.

DISCLAIMER… I wrote this post in the middle of the night (on a night I wasn’t working but couldn’t sleep because my body is so off).  Whatever I say cannot and will not be used in a court of law… especially against me, Janae.

Here are thirteen thoughts about working the night shift that I wanted to share with you all:

1- First and foremost I become a monster, no, not the angry irritable one, but I AM ALWAYS HUNGRY.  I literally can snack all night and still feel hungry.  Honestly, the Hungry Runner Girl has nothing on night shift Andrew.  I thought about sharing what I ate my first night…. but as I started typing…  I figured I’d save my embarrassment.  Lets just say sourworms, sour straws, diet coke… etc etc.  You get the point.  Night= 8+ meals

2- Fun fact… I don’t like to sleep.  My entire life, as far back as I can remember I have always dreaded the process of falling asleep.  It usually takes me at least an hour or so, while on the other hand Janae falls asleep in under 3 seconds flat.  She lies to me ALL THE TIME that she hasn’t fallen asleep when she has.  Sometimes I trick her by telling her she has fallen asleep but she really hasn’t.  I can be very convincing.  Anyways… back to my original point, I can only sleep 4-5 hours after my shift and I find that I can be quite narcoleptic if lay down at all during the day.

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3- This meme is SPOT ON, no other explanation needed:

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4- I kept telling Janae that the night shift isn’t affecting me at all.  I act all tough and feel like the schedule isn’t taking over my life and I came to a slap in the face realization that it is not considered normal to be running 7 miles on the treadmill at 2am.  I guess that isn’t normal.

5- Those who are alive during the day, aka non-night-shift workers aka Janae and my kiddos, think I just nap all day;)  Janae has said, jokingly, “It must feel nice to nap all day..”  Brooke and Knox don’t understand why I would work at night and sleep during the day.  It has become the joke of the house that dad likes to nap.

6- What do you do when you get bored and have no patients…  you go on social media and then you get bored REAL QUICK.  I forget that normal people aren’t alive and aren’t posting cool things at night for me to look at.  I need to start following people who live on the other side of the world so I can be entertained.  Any takers?

7- There is a time during the shift where everything becomes funny and slap happy and the next day I try to recreate the stories or tell them to Janae. It doesn’t work.  Sometimes she just gives me a pity laugh… AKA her awkward laugh to humor me.  By the way, I need to record her awkward laugh for you all.   You will LOVE LOVE LOVE it, and it will make you feel awkward 100% of the time.  Skye agrees with me:

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8- Waking up doctors at night is a game of serious roulette. it can have some dire consequences.  You have NO idea what is going to happen.   Sometimes it is uneventful and others…. lets just say it’s not pretty.  How they come onto the floor is a very good indicator of how the rest of your night is going to be.  Word of advice, sometimes it can be safer for everyone involved to not wake a doctor.

9-  Do NOT say the Q word.  What is the Q word….. You didn’t hear it from me.. Quiet.  Whenever this is said 98.76% of the time gets 167% busier… You don’t get the statistic… you aren’t supposed to.  Just don’t say it… EVER

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11- Don’t put your head down… you aren’t strong enough to stay awake.

12- DO NOT… I repeat DO NOT drink caffeine right before you leave home.  There is this weird limbo of being deadly exhausted and wide awake.  It’s like there is one brownie left in the pan and you and your wife both reach for it and you really want it but you know that she wants it too.  There is no winning…. Do you get the analogy..  Good you weren’t suppose to.  I think I might be in that mood right now.

13-  I have grown to love working at night.  All joking aside my body handles it okay but I sure miss my family.  It is weird being on the opposite schedule as them and it makes me cherish more the time I have with them.

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What was I thinking…. a 50 MILER?  Am I going to die????  The most I have ever have run has been a marathon and my last marathon was during my Ironman back in 2012, since then I have been doing a few half marathons here and there.  Here are some more random thoughts by Andrew:

-During our trail runs that have 1000s of feet of incline I think to myself, what the h#$#(* am I doing to myself?  Then when I finish I have some weird sense of accomplishment.  This training process has me up and down quite a bit.

– My family legit thinks I’m crazy and I’m going to die…. I hope they are wrong about me dying… I know I’m crazy.

– I’m constantly preparing myself to enter my pain cave during the race…  I’m scared.

– I’m really nervous.

– Like really really nervous.

– I like the amount of food I can consume from all this running.

– I don’t think you get how nervous I am yet.

– This is going to be one heck of a challenge for me and it’s definitely putting me outside my comfort zone.  It feels good to do something this crazy again.

– Janae is going to kick my butt… I have accepted it and know she is better than me in almost everything. it happens when you marry up.  BUT…… Ask her how she isn’t the queen of air hockey anymore…  that’s right I dethroned her.

– I’m stoked to be doing a goal/race together that we are working so hard for.  This has really given us a lot of good memories already!

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Have any of you worked the night shift?  Or do you now? How does your body handle it?

Have any goals/races that make you really nervous?

Anyone else in school right now or anyone wanting to go back to school in the future?

Ever been running in the middle of the night?

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80 comments

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My husband works 12s and 24s and I don’t know how he does it and still has the energy to be an amazing dad. I work a typical 8-hr/5 days a week job so we are always passing ships but we make it work — our kids are in daycare 3x a week due to our schedules. He tries to keep a day schedule but it’s not always easy and sometimes he naps when the kids nap on days he’s home with them and he worked the night before (he sleeps if he doesn’t get a call). It takes special people to work those long shifts and I applaud you!

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My husband is in the Navy and used to work night shift every three weeks for a week. It was terrible! His favorite story is when I was made him a coffee to go (thinking I was such a great wife and so helpful!). He texted me later that night and asked if I was trying to kill him and to go look in the Kuerig machine. I had given him sleepy time tea on accident. Lol. :) I think it’s rough on everyone!
Um, all races make me nervous. haha

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Current 3rd shift worker on L&D from Boston. Just getting home, actually. I agree with most of your 13 things, especially the caffeine too close to coming home!! Can’t believe you’re almost done. Congrats!!

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I haven’t worked the night shift, I think I would go crazy feeling like I don’t know what time or what day it was!

I am debating running my 3rd marathon in April. I am nervous because I want to PR (my debut marathon is my current PR), but training in the winter feels harder to me.

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While I know it’s not always easy and puts your life in a crazy schedule, thank you for being a night shift nurse for right now. I’ve been in the hospital multiple times in the last few years, and those night shift nurses are angels on earth. They truly can make their patients so much more comfortable and help them so much throughout the nights, which can often be really painful times. So THANK YOU!!

I once ran a race that started at midnight, so I did a few midnight/wee-hours-of-the-morning training runs. And some of my super early morning runs I went on when I was coaching and teaching are probably considered late night runs for some people. Ha!

Thanks again, Andrew! Hope that you get some needed rest today!

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Great, fun post! Thanks Andrew and good luck with all the night shifts :)

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Good luck with the rest of your night shift! You can do this…you are SO close to the end! I could NEVER work that shift; I would lose my mind! What a sweet family you have! Hang in there!

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I laughed really hard at #8. My husband is a surgeon and so I have heard that side of answered pages and let’s just say he is not happy to be woken up in the middle of the night because the patient needs a sleeping pill or some tylenol (especially if he already wrote orders for them earlier). If they need to be taken in to the OR that is a totally different thing. Haha, you will get used to the schedule and love working in health care!

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Haha–Mine is an interventional radiologist and I NEVER understand how he is so alert when the phone rings for work at 2am–YET if my kids come in the room because they are scared or don’t feel good–he is IMPOSSIBLE to wake-GO figure:)))

Great post Andrew!!!!

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My husband works night shift and has ever since we have been together (10+ years). There are times when the opposite schedules are “inconvenient” or frustrating, but anymore, it is just the way our life is. I give him (and all night shift people) major props, as I have a hard time staying away past 10pm on any night. He definitely sacrifices way more sleep than he should to be able to do “normal time” things with me, especially on the weekends. Phone silencing and blackout curtains are a must for him to get some sleep though.

I once did a half marathon that started around 10pm, so not really in the middle of the night, but still much different than what I am used to.

I really want to run a 50 miler and have been toying with the idea of doing it this fall. I did a 50K this spring and I love the idea of a longer challenge. The idea of 50 miles makes me really nervous as well, but I think what makes it less scary is knowing that ultras are generally so much more chill and speed is not really a factor in most people’s races. I can get really drawn into the speed game with road races, which will occasionally ruin the enjoyment of the race. I know you and Janae will crush this 50 miler and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. And super congrats on the impending end of your 3rd degree!

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Night shift ER nurse here! Your lessons from working nights are correct. NEVER say the Q word. Never drink caffeine later than 3am. And your life will be easier if you work in a busy ER where most of the docs you need to call are probably already awake anyways (like at a trauma center).

You need more than 4-5 hours of day sleep in between shifts though! Is your room dark with special blinds/shades? I take one benadryl when I sleep in between nights because it helps me stay asleep longer and I’ll get 7 hours instead of 4. I know it feels like you’re missing out on stuff with your family but I actually get much more time with my family by working night shift. When you work days, the kids are in bed by the time you get home. On nights, you are awake before dinner and get those extra hours with them.

I’m currently doing my BSN but it’s all online so it’s easy to schedule around. We have a 100 mile relay in the spring but the only part that makes me nervous is that I’m running a 7 mile bridge where you have no access to assistance. What if I run out of water?! (it’s hot….really hot)

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I’d be very careful about taking Benadryl regularly for sleep.

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Former night shifter here! I worked OB on night shift for a LONG time. I remember standing in lines with that post night shift daze-decision making takes three times as long. I enjoyed it but it does take a weird toll. it must be nice to sleep all night while people are at work ;) And the food thing-so weird on nights. Suddenly having a burger at 0800 doesn’t seem so weird!

The one nice thing about night shift, except for the great group of people and dim hospital hall lights, is that if need be you ARE technically available for things during the day-school programs, doctors appointments, etc. And to all those who criticize for “lounging all day” I want to say the next holiday party will be at 3:30 AM and bring a main dish and dress up for a family photo! hehehe.

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My husband has worked night shift off and on depending on his position. He switched to a new role last year and has worked 3rd shift for the past year, BUT he’s switching to day shift at the first of the year. We’ll miss that shift deferential $, but it’s just not worth it for his quality of life. It scared me a few months ago where I read a study that said people who work night shift don’t live as long!!!!! Not to scare you—ha ha

I ran in the middle of the night once, in a RAGNAR race. It was around midnight, misty, and I was on this crazy hilly road. It was legit scary b/c NO other runners were around me; I couldn’t see, and I felt so freaked out. I was just about to lose it when another runner DID come up behind me. She said, “C’mon, follow me. We got this.” SO WEIRD. I really felt like she was an angel who rescued me!!!!! Running in the dark is NOT my favorite!!!!!!! :)

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Random, but I work for WGU (not for the nursing department.) From home. One of the things I love about WGU is that I can work if I can’t sleep at 3am. I love my job but there can be a disconnect between the students I work since everything is online and I don’t actually get to meet the students. So, it’s been *fun* watching you complete this degree. Makes my job seem more *real.* So thanks for sharing. Congratulations on the last stage of your degree.

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My husband is a resident and gets 2 week night shift blocks every couple of months. As weird as it sounds, it seems like we see each other more during night shift since day shifts tend to be 7A-7P (usually +1-2 hours on the backend) so there’s limited awake overlap (particularly for our 14 month daughter). This is his last year of residency and we can’t wait for better hours all around when he starts fellowship :)

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I’ve worked nights for around 8 years. It has taken family and friends a long time to understand my schedule! The teamwork and fun of a night shift crew has been the big reason I’ve kept this schedule. There is nothing like a crazy ICU at night.

Congratulations on being so close to finishing!

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I’ve worked night shift a few times (chemical plant), and I totally know the feeling of being night shift slap happy! Also how your body has no idea what time it is or why you are awake so you are just constantly hungry. I feel like I also lose the ability to control my body temperature overnight and I get freezing cold even if it’s not all that cold. A few years ago I did night shift for a month straight for a plant turnaround . Then last year I was on a new plant startup, and we worked this crazy schedule where we did eight day shifts, four off, eight night shifts, four off, and so on…for an ENTIRE YEAR. Luckily my husband and I work at the same place and our employers were nice enough to put us on the same shift. :) Otherwise I might have gone crazy (I kind of did anyway, tbh). True story…we bought a house last year and we closed at 9am the morning after our 8th night during one of those sets…we did not go to sleep at all that day. Just went home, went to closing, and then we moved that same day. Somehow even the next night I couldn’t sleep, between my internal clock being so off and being excited about being in the new house! I felt like superwoman. But I would never do it again, haha.
My best tips for night shift success –> Invest in black-out curtains, or if possible sleep in a room with no windows! We even went as far as to put foil over our windows. Try to go to sleep immediately as soon as you get home so you get in as much as you can during normal dark/sleeping hours as possible. I have also found that when trying to transition to night shift, a lot of people like to stay up later and later the few nights before in order to get yourself used to it. This doesn’t work for me. My body does much better if I actually try and get myself as well-rested as possible the few nights before, even if that means an earlier bedtime. Then when I do have to stay up all night the first night, it isn’t actually all that bad because your sleep reserves are “topped off” so to speak.
Good luck with the rest of your program! Maybe it’s crazy to go for a third bachelor’s, but I think it’s pretty awesome to set the example for your kids that you’re never stuck in life and you always have the choice to change things up and chase your dreams. :)

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I’ve been an ICU nurse almost 7 years now! Four of those I spent working nights. It’s a beast for sure! Very accurate with your descriptions 😂. I used to run when I woke up from my “nap,” like early afternoonish. Night shift is a great time in the ICU though. You will form a bond with your co workers and have all night to build nursing skills/critical thinking. And most of the doctors are already up! Best of luck to you and I hope you enjoy ICU!!

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I’ve been an ICU nurse almost 7 years now! Four of those I spent working nights. It’s a beast for sure! Very accurate with your descriptions 😂. I used to run when I woke up from my “nap,” like early afternoonish. Night shift is a great time in the ICU though. You will form a bond with your co workers and have all night to build nursing skills/critical thinking. And most of the doctors are already up! Best of luck to you and I hope you enjoy ICU!

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I love your posts Andrew! Good luck with everything, you are a rockstar!

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My ex husband works all kinds of crazy shifts; he’s an electrical lineman. Me and the kids ALWAYS used to tease him about his excessive napping but in reality I do know that ‘Shift Work Disorder’ is a thing and it can really mess with you. Take care of yourself, Andrew – and congratulations on being almost done with school! :)

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Ahh the night shift. I do not work it, but I know it very well. My husband has worked the night shift for about 3 years. A local truck driver. It’s excellent for work…he misses road construction during the night, no waiting in lines to get in getting loaded or unloaded, a lot less traffic….many pro’s. He deals with so much less crap than the day guys. So for work, it’s great. For sleeping and home life….the worst shift ever. We rarely see him, he misses every event or game possible. He misses every holiday, because he gets the holiday off but he sleeps 3/4 of it. (my family tries to do holidays on a different day). Our daughter says he’s nocturnal like owl’s. hahaha. And every door bell, dog bark, phone call….wakes him up. His job is 6 days a week too. When the weather is nice, he actually sleeps in the camper we have in our driveway, especially during the summer when the kids are off for summer break. So it’s a vicious cycle of pros and cons, home vs work. It’s great and sucks all at the same time. Good luck with your schedule, your clinical s and the upcoming race !!!

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I have never had a night shift, but with my current professional situation, during the semester most weekdays I am up at 4 (my alarm is literally 4 AM, 4:02, 4:05, 4:07, 4:10…) and doing work for many hours before I am off to campus, or off to the running store where I work part-time, or off to the gym where I also work. And the weird balance of exhaustion and needing caffeine and feeling like an exhausted and restless little gremlin is rough. I can’t imagine how it is when you’re travelling to and from work in that particular professional realm–knowing that you are going to work in the context of care-giving, or knowing that you are coming home to be a daddy to three beautiful and active kids. But I do know that weird, raspy, strange feeling in the back of the throat and it’s not so much fun.

If I was ever ot run an ultra I would be nervous as all get-go. Right now, the idea of getting back to half-marathons–and I have my sights set on two to run in 2020 if my body doesn’t crap out on me in this next year–scares me in the best possible ways!

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Andrew, I love how your writing is purely a stream of consciousness! (and I mean that honestly). I worked the night shift for several years, and it was tough, but I loved it. The culture is so different than the day shift. I definitely feel better now that I work “normal” hours as an NP, but I do miss those crazy 12 hour nights sometimes.
I ran a 100 mile ultra that I’ve mentioned here before. It took me 24 hours, so I ran overnight. The best training was working those night shifts!! So my suggestion to you is get this 50 miler out of your way and then do a 100 ;)
Oh, and I have two Bachelor’s and two Master’s degrees, so I totally feel ya there, my friend.
I’m so excited for you as you move into your new career. Being a nurse is 100% more fun than being a nursing student.

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I’ve done plenty of night shifts, both as an RN and then as a med student / resident. I actually preferred nights in the er as an RN … it’s a different atmosphere, there’s less admin/management around, and it feels like you’re kind of in an upside down universe where you’re awake when most of the world is asleep. That being said that was a time before kids and when I had a lot more energy. As a doctor now I make a special effort to be PATIENT and KIND in the middle of the night because I’ve been on the other side of the phone!! Congrats on almost finishing your degree – nursing is such a fantastic career.

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As one of the few guys who post here….I got your back buddy.

I’ve worked the night shift in the military. Once you get on it it’s actually pretty great. Boredom can be an issue. I’ve also operated with a lot less sleep than normal human beings for long stretches. One of my first bosses made it clear that we needed to cover for each other and make sure we got at least 6 hrs in any 24 hr period. Then we made it happen. People who are cavalier about how much sleep they need are….dumb. (McCrystal, Petraeus, Musk….looking at you guys). A rare few can make do with less than normal (probably the same 3 I just listed) but it’s wrong to set yourself up as some sort of paragon (those same 3 again). Bottom line: Sleepy people don’t function properly and they make big mistakes. ICU is no place for that.

Good on you on the air hockey thing. (Janae can be mad at both of us).

Because of the two of you now I am thinking ultras too….thanks for that./s

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I am dying laughing!! Great post Andrew! I’ll bet your patients really like you. I don’t know how you work such a crazy schedule. I’m like Janae when it comes to bed time…I can fall asleep in 5 min, but I also LOVE naps. I joke that once I stop moving I fall asleep.
I think it’s good that you are nervous about your 50 miler. It means you are excited about trying something new. You will be fine once you get there and meet all the other runners. I’m excited for both of you!!
I have so many friends that are in nursing school and starting a new career. Several of them are runners too :)
I’ve run a race that started at midnight. It was one of the hardest, funnest things I’ve done. The only bad part was that it was in the middle of summer and very hot. I had to throw up when I was done (TMI). I think I drank too much water/sports drink because I was afraid of overheating.

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Do you have to rock the ALL WHITE tennies?

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Luckily, he doesn’t have to:) He has some mostly white Nikes that he wears!

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No one in our house works the night shift, but I want to say thank you for doing it. And that being an ICU nurse might be the highest calling in the medical field. My brother was in the ICU for 26 days after Thanksgiving 2016. We thought he was going to die at several different points. The doctors were great, but the real heroes were the nurses. They were the ones that explained the doctor’s words in plain English, who learned our names and comforted us when there was no one else around, and the ones who helped my brother to recover. So thank you for taking on this calling, it takes a truly special person.

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Megan, thank you so much for sharing this with me. I am so glad that you had some amazing nurses during this time and that he is okay now. Thanks for your comment, I hope you are having a beautiful day!

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That’s how I feel anytime I drink caffeine. Clearly my body doesn’t handle it well. I had caffeine once at dinner time (and really it was like a couple of ounces maybe of a caffeinated drink. Not one of those 5 hour energies or something) I was still in that weird exhausted/wide awake limbo at 3 in the morning. I just have to stay away from it for the most part.

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So my husband is an anesthesiologist and is on call about once week. Because it’s so sporadic, he never tries to change his sleep/wake schedule. But that means he can sometimes be a real ogre when a nurse wakes him up in the night for something stupid. I say stupid because of course when there is a patient in need, he is happy to help. But he gets MAD when it’s a nurse just calling at 3 am to tell him they scheduled a surgical case for 8 am the next day…when he is no longer on call anyway! He gets upset when anyone calls him and wakes him up to tell him information he could have gotten in the morning at a normal time. But because the night nurses are so used to the night shift, sometimes they forget the doctors aren’t necessarily on a night shift schedule and are probably not awake at 1 am for non-urgent patient updates that can wait until the next morning. 😂 Since the phone calls wake me up too (usually because my husband has a hard time waking up and I have to keep hitting him until he answers the phone…) I’m sometimes not too happy with the night nurses either. 🤣

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Your post is hilarious and spot on, I worked the night shift a long time ago and my friend and I agree to this day, nothing tastes so good as chips and salsa at 2:00am! Congrats on being close to your 3rd Bachelors!

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Thank you for this post. Love it.
About 4 times a year when I cannot sleep I get on the treadmill for a good run at 2am. So quiet, dark, and peaceful.
Janae is not your competition (gosh is she speedy)…….the man in the mirror is……..”enjoy” the fear, challenge, anticipation, and accomplishment!

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My husband worked the nightshift before I met him and it did not work for him AT ALL. He cannot sleep during the day so it was basically 8 months of not sleeping. And then going crazy.

My dad was a nurse anesthetist and when he was going to anesthesia school, he worked nights in NICU. I was 6 or 7 at the time and remember the opposite-schedule struggle. Fortunately, I was in school and my mom worked so he could sleep during the day (when he wasn’t in class!) Once he started working, he was on night call for one night every other week and then weekend call every 3 months. That was the real bugger – 7 am Saturday until 7 am Monday. It would take the rest of the week for him to get back on track.

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God bless nurses!! I think it is great that you have three degrees!! It makes up for my none!! What are your other degrees? 3 of my 4 children have degrees and my 4th (daughter) is currently attending BYU and is going into nursing. I love your posts especially this one, it makes me respect nurses all the more!!

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Hey Shirley! He has a degree in Exercise Science and also one in Spanish! AHHH BYU:) She is so close to us. That is awesome that she is going into nursing. Have a beautiful day and keep in touch.

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Medical ICU day/night rotator here. The faster i can switch myself to normal people hours after a stretch of nights the better I feel. Melatonin helps me sleep 6-7 hours (unlike our patients) between shifts but there are definitely times when I know the schedule is affecting my body. With all that said, the night shift vibe is real and some of my best shifts have been working alongside a great night shift crew.

PS don’t feel bad about waking up a doctor, taking care of patients is their job too and being on call is part of it. And sometimes we are just following orders (“call provider if critical H/H received”). Knowing how to cluster the information to one call is key.

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My sister-in-law is a nurse and works in the ICU! She worked night shifts for a while and it kind of sucked but now she’s on days … but my brother (her husband) now works several nights a week haha. He handles it better than her! The latest I work is 11pm and I don’t think I could go any later.

I ran again today and it actually felt pretty good!! I’ve been dealing with calf and shin problems the past two weeks but I think things might just be getting better… just in time for the marathon I hope to run in 9 days. If I decide to do it I’ll be really, really nervous going in that pain (injury pain, not effort pain) is going to reignite during the race.

The only time I’ve run at night was a midnight 5K two years ago… literally don’t know how I managed to do that haha.

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I worked the night shift for 2 years during college and right after I graduated. I don’t need a lot of sleep typically, so it was a better fit for me than for some people, but I didn’t realize how hard it was on my body until after I quit working night shifts. I felt SO much better all of the time. This was in my mid twenties and I seriously doubt my body could do it now, though, technically I’ve been having kids for the last 8 years… so I guess I work a lot of “night shifts” with newborns and nightmares and kids that are too hot, or too cold or need a glass of water! :)

I got this gift for my niece for Christmas, and when I read about Janae’s laugh I thought of it. https://urbangeneralstore.com/products/i-came-i-saw-i-made-it-awkward-mug?variant=12115096305733&utm_campaign=gs-2018-11-02&utm_source=google&utm_medium=smart_campaign&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIwvjJhtuL3wIVEr3sCh0zzQ2KEAQYBSABEgI_AvD_BwE

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Oh my goodness, I need that. I love making my family feel awkward haha. That is really interesting how much better you felt after you finished doing the night shifts! You really are still kind of doing the night shifts ha.. you are amazing! Have a beautiful day, Michele!

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Sundowning is terrible. I didn’t like what my dad became. He was the kindest person EVER…and yet in his final years he could be so mean to my mom. It was heartbreaking!

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Oh that is absolutely terrible. I am so so sorry you and your family went through all of that.

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Loved this post, Andrew! I trade the markets while living in Hawaii, so I am up at 2 am and done working by 6 am at the latest. I get myself awake and ready for serious brain activation by going out on a run. Sure I look pretty weird trucking around Diamond Head at 2 am but I generally feel like I am the only person awake at that time. :-) Crazy stuff we do when we love WHAT we do, right?

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My brother-in-law works the night shift as an RN. He got assigned there for his first job and it was a 7 (I think)% bump in pay. He liked it because he could be home to get the kids off to school, then he would go to sleep. He’d get up and go for a bike ride (cyclist) then be him for the kids when they got home from school, to fix snack, do home work, okay, and get dinner ready. Then he’d head off to work and my sister would get the kids ready for bed. He really appreciated how it let him spend time with the family (whereas if he were working the day shift the kids would have to go to before and after school care). Today both the kids are in college (10 years later), but he is still working nights despite being the senior nurse on staff – he loves it!

Races make me nervous whenever Family comes to see me in them.

Professional development only – I don’t want to spend the time for another degree…I’ve got a masters which I did in my early 20s.

I used to travel a lot for work, and if I was ever stuck in an airport for a long layover, especially after a red eye flight, I would run. Maybe 3:30 a.m. was the earliest.

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I worked night shift for three years in the NICU and while I didn’t love feeling like a zombie all day long, there can be a special kind of camaraderie at night. You’re all a little loopy and that delirious feeling where everything is funny can grow a great sense of community. You’re right that social media is much less…social during night shift! But the second you come to work with a book…you’ll never get the time to read it! Also, I don’t know why doctors get so angry—they know they are on call. As long as you’ve checked all your orders and maybe run the question by another nurse/peer you should always call! It’s always better to be conservative/safe in that situation! You’ll never regret calling (you may just get new material for some jokes), but you may regret not making the call if things turn for the worst. Thanks for this post!

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Been working shift work since 1999 (can’t believe I have been a nurse this long!!!!….and still love it!). Things always seem more funny at 3am :) My body is so used to adapting to the changes in my schedule. I am currently doing my favourite schedule 3 days and 1 night with 5 days off….love this rotation.

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Andrew! If you can do an Iron Man, you can do a 50 miler easy :)

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I AGREE!!!!

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I agree 100% about the “Q” word. In fact – I resort to saying calm, less hectic, or even a bit slow. MInd you – Slow can be close (if not equivalent) to the Q word.

Best of luck on your final rotation and thanks for the update!

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Congrats on making it to yout capstone! My husband just presented his capstone for his MBA last night. These last few weeks are a grind (for everyone) but you can do it!

Night nurses truly are a special and kind breed. Went into L&D at night with all of my kids, except one, and I’d take the night shift every time. Plus my youngest has had some scary medical stuff over his life and the night nurses have ALWAYS been the most amazing to him and me. I still remember a sweet nurse 3 days into an emergency stay where his pain level and my exhaustion were both through the roof. Probably right about “sundowning” time. Anyway, he was being kind to the nurses and the rest of our family who came by but a monster to me and I was on the verge of tears…this amazing night nurse just put her arm around me and said, “It’s okay mama, you’re doing great, you just need a break. I heard they had some cake in the Ronald McDonald House lounge…kids, take mama for some cake, okay?” I sobbed the whole way down the hall but the slice of cake really did make me feel better and my son was in a much better mood when I came back. Night nurses ARE angels!

Also, one of my son’s regular nurses now (he gets weekly infusions) told me she started out in ICU, then burn unit. I asked if that was difficult and she said “no, not at all. The patients don’t talk back to you, so it’s usually pretty peaceful.” 😂

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I worked the night shift while in college. I worked for a bakery one summer and packaged started at 3am and worked at Target the following summer and worked at 4am. Since I was young, it was summer, not married, no children, and it was temporary… I handled it pretty well. I am running a marathon in the spring and am going for a PR. My goal is 6 minutes faster than my fastest marathon. It is a fast course, so fingers crossed. I have a masters in Mathematics Education and have no intentions of going back to school. I have never been running the middle of the night (unless you count my early 5am runs). But one night a few years ago my husband couldn’t sleep. He was training for a marathon so he went out and ran a 6 mile loop close to home three times to get in 18 miles. He got home and slept like a rock. Best of luck training and you will rock the ultra! Enjoy all the eating :) I told my husband I am excited for the eating I have in my future when marathon training starts.

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Congrats on finishing your degree while maintaining such a busy and active home life! I a doctor and I think sometimes nurses forget that while they might be working a night shift that started at 11pm, the grumpy doctor has been working since 7am and our call shifts are 24 hours long, sometimes 36 hours. So while i would never be grumpy when a nurse is concerned about a sick patient I do get grumpy with the “fyi, the blood work is low normal” key word fyi and normal, pages when I have been up for 20 hours.

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I’m in nursing school right now. I finish in May 2019 and I start my capstone in January. So excited for you! Nursing school is hard work. You’ll have to let us know how your capstone is going. It’s awesome that you and Janae are training together for the ultra!

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Oh that is so exciting Amanda, keep us updated on your capstone too. You are almost there!!!

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Nurse and former night-shift worker here! Oh you got so many things dead on here! The Q word!! We had docs who would jokingly say the word, and all the nurses would get angry. Because we knew what was coming! I am a school nurse in a high school now and my nurse co-workers and I still don’t allow anyone to say the Q word! Being starving on night shift…yup! I used to eat so much when I worked at night. Everything is hilarious! I used to think I worked with the funniest group of people I ever met…until i realized that we were all so tired, we just thought we were funny!

It’s so funny that these things don’t change . Congrats on finishing up your BSN degree and enjoy nursing!

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This is great Andrew. And it almost seems like you might be nervous for this 50 miler :) I’m confident that you’re going to do great. Didn’t you run a marathon once on very little training? This 50 miler sounds right up your alley. Not saying that it won’t hurt… but you and Janae will get each other through that. Good luck with this last phase of school!

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Thank you for reminding him about his marathon after only one ten mile long run… I just read him your comment and that was a huge boost of confidence for him. THANK YOU! Have a great evening, Michelle!

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Ahhhh yes, the night shift 😂 So many fun times! That “calling the doctor roulette” thing had me rolling! I usually ask five other nurses if I should call before I’m confident enough that it’s a good idea 😂 Also it’s amazing to me how many healthcare providers still say the “Q” word. Congrats on choosing the absolute best career! Good luck on those 50 miles, definitely crazy but awesome that you’re doing it together!

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All so true!! L&D night nurse here :) Its hard with a baby, but I am lucky that I get to spend his waking hours with him. You’ll find that night shift staff will always have the strongest teamwork, too! Congrats on being so close to the finish!

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Former ICU nurse and I worked night shift for a few years and yes the eating thing is so true! Don’t ever say the Q word and look out for full moon nights!! A different breed of nurses on the night shift! More laid back and although it’s usually not as hectic as days, that early morning rush can be crazy as ever! You’ll love ICU and you’ll do great on your ultra ‘cause nurses are tough! Nervous about running my first marathon in April and at age 42!, but I’m gonna put in the training and see what happens. I will most likely be running in the middle of the night doing the Chicago to Madison Ragnar race next May so that should be interesting! Congrats on your 3rd degree! You can never go wrong with education!

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I’m a little disappointed in the gremlin meme. My dad died of early on-set Alzheimer’s in his early 60s. He experienced sundowning a lot in the end (very common with the disease) which we experienced with him before we couldn’t care for him ourselves anymore and he went into a memory care facility. It was a struggle to care for him and to deal with things like sundowning but it was way beyond his control and he still deserved nothing more than respect. If i knew his care workers felt this way about him or that it affected how they treated him when no one was around, I’d be so devestated and angry. I want to believe the posting of that meme here is meant lightheartedly, but I just can’t see it that way.

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Ash, I am so incredibly sorry about this. I cannot even begin to imagine what you and your family went through. I am so sorry. I took it off and feel terrible that it hurt people. I am so so sorry.

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Ash, I am so so so sorry about that. I 1000% meant that lightheartedly, BUT I can now see that it was very insensitive and misleading on my part. I think I use humor to get through the hard things, which can be most of my job/rotations now a days. It was not my intention to make fun or belittle those who deal with that, just to show the difference that can be seen between the two. Definitely not appropriate or what I wanted to communicate.. Please accept my apologies and have a great night. I am truly sorry for your loss and having to cope with that.

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Thank you for understanding. I appreciate your speedy replies and sincerity.

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Thank you, Andrew, for understanding how that item could hurt people. I had several relatives suffer from dementia as they aged, and I was taken aback by the meme. I do understand how stressful it can be to work in the medical field and that humor does help with coping; however, some humor is best kept personal and not shared. I am glad that you and Janae realized this and took it off. Thank you.

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Some of my best memories are from years of night shift. I’ve never laughed harder then watching a cartoon of an elephant farting then at 3am. Tears. Only ones that understand are night shift workers. Listen to your body and hydrate a lot. Nursing is way cool! 🚁🚁

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Cardiac/telemetry unit RN here! I work day shift and I have for the almost 2 years that I’ve been a nurse. However, during orientation everyone has to work 2 weeks of night shift. It was an absolute nightmare for me. I was the opposite of Andrew with the hunger. I was nauseous the whole time from lack of sleep and couldn’t eat more than a few bites of anything. I couldn’t sleep during the day at all, the most I would get was 3-4 hours. I tried everything including Benadryl and sleeping in the basement bedroom where it was super dark. Thankfully it only was 2 weeks for me. Great job Andrew for getting through the night shift insanity and good luck on finishing your degree!

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I sometimes work night shifts as a Lab Tech in a small hospital…. so its just me doing all the lab work, collecting blood, EKG’s, etc. While its kind of cool to be working overnight, I definitely do NOT like the shift work. Switching back and forth is HARD! and I get the hunger things. I can’t tell if it’s just boredom or actually hunger, but I swear I need to eat like every hour or two. Except I can’t eat meals- just snacks.
I’m so excited for you guys to experience the awesomeness/pain of running a 50 miler. and then a 100 miler! hehe IT WILL HAPPEN!
This past summer I ran a 100 mile race, so I was in the middle of the night running (or maybe more like walking). My next goal is a 120 mile race, which terrifies me even more!

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My husband and I just laughed so hard as we read through your 13 random thoughts. He is a doctor and agreed with literally everything! He specifically resonated with drinking soda and eating sour worms on night shifts, and totally finished the sentence as I was reading about the Q word! Haha! So great!

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Kudos for a) working nights and becoming a nurse and b) signing up for a 50 miler because your wife thought it would be fun. You seem like one great husband, everyone already knew Janae is a wonderful person!

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I’ve been an RN for 11 years so congratulations on being so close to being done!!

I worked nights for ten years and I loved it. I said I would never go to day shift. Less activity, less management, less people, more laid back… sometimes I miss it. It would be hard with kids though, they don’t understand.

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I’m so glad my nightshift years are behind me…good luck on boards!

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Love your post Andrew. I work nightshift in the ED and it’s always a struggle to get non-night shifters to understand that lack of sleep that seems to be rather persistent.

A few things I’ve learned after 5 years of working nights:
– it gets easier. You find a routine to sleep and eat (ways to eat less in the day and eat normal meals at 2 am so you don’t starve at work)
-clustering multiple night shifts together is life saving for sleep. Eventually your body will get so tired that you sleep a bit more during the day. Flip flopping between days and nights is literally the worst so clustering shifts together can make a huge difference which is tough in school but pretty easy as a staff member
-I run as soon as I get off night shift at 7:30 am. My coworkers and family think I’m absolutely nuts but I’ve actually found it’a perfect for training. I change in the hospital bathroom and drive directly to the nearest running spot. It’s never easy and I don’t run more than 12 miles but it ends up waking me up enough to make my 45 minute commute home without caffeine. It also leads to utter exhaustion which has helped me sleep better. This really paid off for me my last marathon cycle… I think it helped me develop some mental can do that when I got tired during the race i knew I’d be able to keep going because I had trained tired.

Lastly… life can be a bit tough but night shift is the best shift (just find an ICU with an intensivitst 24/7 or EDs with plenty of docs at night and then you wake up fewer physicians 🤣)

Congrats on finishing school!

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Hi Andrew!! Looks like you are handling it well! I am nervous about my half in january… i am accidentally not training for it cause i dont feel like it hahaha I haven’t run more than 5 miles in….. a long time..

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I have worked nights in healthcare for 7 years and your take is very accurate! Never say the “Q” word! I also joke that I wear a watch to tell me what day it is…. but it’s not really a joke. I can’t remember what day it is!

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Night shift nurse here! All of these comments are 100% the truth! It’s a rough life!

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Oh man, I can relate to so much of what Andrew said…do not put your head down! Never say the Q word! I get it. I’ve worked nights at a behavioral/mental hospital for about a year now. I work 4 nights in a row from 10p-6a, and luckily it isn’t too bad for me. I still have my nights free and because the patients (teenage boys) are sleeping I can get a lot of my homework done while I’m at work. It’s awesome, actually. I just have to remind myself that this schedule won’t last forever. Hopefully I get into PA school then I’ll only be busy with that 🥴 (jk, my family takes up a lot of my time, as they should.)

I’ve run in the middle of the night…I used to do it a lot in college. I really like the tranquility the night brings. One time my roommate and I ran in a snowstorm about 1 AM. The crazy thing is I saw the boy that I was crushing on out running at the same time.

Have a good weekend! And congrats to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel Andrew!

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