(Closed) Nurse/Night shift bees: What schedule works best?

posted 5 years ago in Career
Post # 2
257 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

I work rotating 12s. One week I work: Sunday, Monday, Thursday, Friday and the next is Tues, Wednesday and Saturday. Keep them bunched together because you will be forcing your body into a routine. When you work one day, take a day off, then work another, your body will fight you. I’ve been on nights for almost 10 years and it takes some getting used to.




Post # 3
82 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: April 2016 - Granberry Hills

I’m not a nurse but my in my current job, we work 12 hour night shifts. We used to work 4 on, 4 off (2 twelve hour day shifts and then 2 twelve hour night shifts, followed by 4 days off) but now we are on a panama schedule. Week one you work Monday and Tuesday nights, off Wednesday and Thursday, and work Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. Week two you are off Monday and Tuesday nights, work Wednesday and Thursday nights, and off Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Week three is the same as week one and week four is the same as week 2. After four weeks, we switch back to day shifts.

I like the panama schedule so much more because your body is able to adjust to working one shift for a month. I would work a few days in a row before having a day off. Like PP said, your body will fight you when you change back and forth so swiftly; I know mine did!

Post # 4
378 posts
Helper bee

I am a Registered Nurse. I usually avoid night shifts at all costs! I hate them…. 

Definately get them all out of the way at once, do not split them. Do you have to do nights?



Post # 5
1937 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I work nights consistently and do 8 hrs 10-6am five days a week. Not as crazy as your schedule but definitely, DEFINITELY at least schedule them together as much as you can. Weekends are hard on me because switching from nights to days is difficult. When you do need to switch over, get a three or four hour nap in total darkness (I put foil over my windows) before your shift starts. It’s much easier than relying on coffee to keep you up all night. 

Post # 6
121 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

I’m not a nurse, but I work 11p to 7a. I love it. I take as much OT as I can get and work 7p to 7a often. We do 5 days, off 2, 4 days, off 2. Then every 3 months we do a month of 5 days, off 2, 5 days, off 1. 

Post # 7
3898 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

I’m a nurse too and at my last job I was working only nights for 7 months. Definatelly do them in a row instead of working on and off all the time. Do like 3-5 nights on, then have 2-3 offs. Cause swihich to “normal” hours us hard and you want to do that as least often as possible. When you sleep after night shift make sure you have VERY good blinds, your room has to be as close to pitch black as possible, keep your room cool and have a fan or a white noise mashine to block out the hustle and bustle if you live in a city. I also wore and eye mask and earplugs. I worked 11pm to 7am so i was asleep by 9am and slept till about 3-330. And I let my landlord know my schedule so if they ever had to do some work at my place they knew to schedule it for 3 and not earlier, if anyone woke me up earlier would be dead lol. Also phone has to be on silent and gave like 3 alarms set 5 mins apart lol. Loud ones if u gonna use earplugs. 

After working nights for 6 months I developed vertigo… and after 7 months i coulndt do it anymore which was awesome cause i got laid off tgat month. Long story short i was prescribed special vitamins by my ear doctor that help a lot by increasing bloodflow to the inner ear. Let me know if you need the name of those in case this happens to u.

Post # 8
152 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I’m a night shift RN and I schedule mine in a row. I work 6 12 hr shifts in a row when I can and then have 8 days off. Its doable if you can sleep during the day and basically go to work, come home, shower and sleep, wake up and repeat for those 6 days. If you are not going to be able to sleep without interruptions then do like 3 on and a few off. Just know that your first day off after your nights is completely wasted due to transitioning to what I call “normal person hours”.


Post # 9
1552 posts
Bumble bee

I’m also a night shift RN, working 3 12-hour shifts each week. I usually like to have my shifts all in a row, and depending on how the schedule turns out, I can usually have anywhere from 3 to 6 days off in between each group of 3. I’ve been working nights for over 2 years and I don’t find the transition difficult on my days off.  It depends on the person though, and you might have to work nights for a while before you find out what’s best for you. 

Post # 10
1552 posts
Bumble bee

Oh yeah, and blackout curtains are your friend! Even if I didn’t work nights, I’d still love my blackout curtains! 

Post # 11
47 posts
  • Wedding: June 2015

I have been a night nurse for over 10 years. I used to bunch them all together. Now I split them, such as sun, mon and thurs.  3 straight nights away from my family is just too much. I also often attend meeting during the day and it’s much harder on me to schedule them when working 3 straight.  If I don’t return to work the following night, I am usually asleep by 830 and up by 130 so I can adjust to a normal sleep routine on the 1st night. 

Post # 13
343 posts
Helper bee

When I worked 12 hour days my favorite schedule was a rotating 2 week schedule. I would work Thursday, Friday, Saturday, then Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. It left me with at least 2 days off in a row always, and with 2 5-day mini vacations every month. I hated doing Thursday, Friday, Saturday in a row on a regular basis.

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