Night shift work

(8 Posts)
Loucuth Fri 03-Jun-16 19:19:57

Hi I need some advice about night working. This is long winded so bear with me...

I'm 27 weeks pregnant with my second baby. I have a very active toddler. I have recently started a full time job in a children's home which is a new role for me. The staff used to do sleeping night shifts but they recently changed to waking nights. The young people have very good sleeping routines and are in bed for almost all of the shift. However during the day they have occasional violent outbursts.

As we get paid for the full shift and are not allowed to leave the home during shift, we do not get an official break. However we are expected to do computer work and light cleaning duties during the 10 hour shift but stay awake.

I'm new to night work and have done some night shifts but I'm finding them horrendous. I feel exhausted during the shift, eyes sting and my back hurts off sitting at the computer. I'm struggling to adjust my sleeping pattern (do on average 2 night shifts a week as well as days) I've been grumpy with my toddler because I'm so tired and I hate the thought of going into work.

Another problem is the actual staff as well. Many of them have been there 20 odd years and are very much set in their ways and resentful of new staff starting. They are unhelpful to say the least! I don't like they thought of being given special treatment especially because I am new (and new to the role)

What I want to know is am I allowed to say I don't want to work nights? When I first started I discussed with my manager that I was unsure about them but willing to give them a go. I don't want to feel like I'm trying to skive but I'm close to tears thinking about work. I'm planning on starting mat leave a month early and using holidays for another month. I worked right up to having my dd but was in a lovely and supportive team. Now I just feel like leaving as early as I can because I can't cope! My oh is encouraging me to stay as long as possible because I was bored on mat leave last time round. However I have an active toddler to keep me busy this time!

Sorry for the essay! I hope you can help and put my mind at rest. I feel like going to my gp with stress!

Princesspeach1980 Fri 03-Jun-16 19:26:24

Where I work, a lot of people in late pregnancy change to earlier shifts, usually with the help of a note from the doctor. It might be difficult where you work though as you not covering nights will mean other staff will have to cover your night shifts. Where I work it's a much bigger department so 1 or 2 people doing an adjusted earlier shift isn't a problem. Maybe the adjustment could be to allow a break for a power nap?

I'm not surprised you're struggling though, night shifts are a killer if you aren't busy enough to keep you going.

Loucuth Fri 03-Jun-16 19:40:55

Exactly I wouldn't mind so much if I had 10 hours worth of work to do and the shift would go faster.

I think the old staff will sneak sleeps in but I'm too much of a scaredy cat to do that. I'm not sure if they will let me nap but I'm going to ask. You just feel like your being dramatic don't you.

Yeah see that's the thing I don't know how that would work because it would mean someone doing my shift and no one wants to do the nights anymore because you can't sleep.

Do you know why people tend to go on to days (other than the obvious but I'd like to be prepared with other reasons before I speak to my manager) I feel I'm being dramatic by saying it's because I'm tired. I've already been told that pregnancy is not an illness (I find this an insult because I'm a very hardworker and never play the pregnancy card - until now)

Thanks for the reply

Thanks for the reply

Bellatrixandstrange Fri 03-Jun-16 20:19:40

In my place you have a note from the doctor's and a meeting with occupational health and you can be signed off nights. Speak to your doctor and they might help.

AprilSkies44 Fri 03-Jun-16 20:23:34

i work shifts but since telling them im pregnant my line manager has said basically work whatever hours suit. i know ive been very lucky but there are others in my profession who havent had such an understanding manager and theyve simply got a doctors note and adjusted the shifts through occy health.
id try that. my midwife said although there is no evidence to suggest night shifts cause problems in pregnancy i really wouldnt want to be trying them at the moment and im only 10 weeks.

Loucuth Fri 03-Jun-16 20:36:24

Thanks ladies. I'm going to speak to my manager first - she seemed lovely when I first started but then again they always do don't they! Then try the GP. I'd be willing to stay on longer until closer to my due date if I don't have to work the nights. My oh is suggesting that I use my holidays for the night shifts but I don't know if I should have to do that.

Bellatrixandstrange - Love the name! grin

SockQueen Fri 03-Jun-16 20:57:27

Have you had a pregnancy risk assessment? This should cover things like shift work, nights and potential exposure to violence. Should be done with your manager and occupational health. If they're not helpful, go to your GP and they can give you a fit note which says you're fit for work but not night duties.

I've just finished doing nights at 25/40 (I'm a doctor) - I planned it in advance with my head of department as they said they'd rather take me off the night rota a bit earlier than strictly necessary, so they can plan to cover my shifts, rather than have me push on through and have to drop out at the last minute.

Loucuth Fri 03-Jun-16 21:23:56

I have had a risk assessment re: shift work it says I will continue in my duties unless there is an increased risk to me and will be reviewed as pregnancy progresses and risk changes. I suppose moving to waking nights is enough of a 'risk change'

I don't think they have made any provisions for covering my shifts, they are very understaffed as it is but use temporary workers where necessary.

Thank you, I've made up my mind that I'm going to ask to come off nights. I've been scared of looking like a shirker and using my pregnancy to get preferential treatment

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