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To ask if i can come off nights?

(34 Posts)
EachandEveryone Sat 22-Apr-17 16:56:07

Ive been a nurse for over twenty years and im fifty. Ive already cut my hours down to 33. Im doing two weeks of nights a month. Ive come to hate them. My blood pressurecis going up my weight is spiralling amd im getting about four hours sleep a day. They are short on nights and ive written complaints for the past two nights were we have got by without doing and proper nursing care just going through the motions and keeping our fingers crossed. They arent short on days because thats when the managers are around. They say we need less staff on a night but the patients are the same!. When people come back from mat leave they more or less demand their hours which is fair enough. I dont have a family. I feel like everythings getting on top of me and i would be much better going to bed at a normal time. AIBU to ask if i can do days for afew weeks? Or should i look for another job?

Lelloteddy Sat 22-Apr-17 16:57:38

Of course YANBU.
If nights are adversely affecting your health, you can get occ health on board to support your request.

EachandEveryone Sat 22-Apr-17 17:06:14

What's the first step?

Andrewofgg Sat 22-Apr-17 17:32:06

How would it affect others? Would they have to do more nights?

Babyroobs Sat 22-Apr-17 17:45:49

I am in a similar situation, nearly 50 and struggling to cope with 12 hour nights on an extremely busy stressful unit where we sometimes run around the whole time with one hour break.
A lot of people have come off nights for a variety of reasons- mainly health issues, problems sleeping, unable to leave their dog for 12 hours , no childcare ( lone parents) etc etc.
They have gone to occupational health and got their support and then if they recommend coming off nights, management have to listen.
It does mean others have to do more nights, but to be honest there are not a shortage of people wanting to do them- it is better money, it fits around their kids, it gives them more days off etc.
I hate nights, I find it increasingly hard to sleep ( bloody noisy kids next door, dogs barking, lawnmowers going etc) and I end up sleep deprived and feeling totally ratty. I also have anxiety issues which are so much worse at night.
I have managed to reduce my hours right down so only now do about 2 x 12 hour nightshifts a month so it's not too bad.
if I were you I would speak to occupational health, I'm sure they would support you. Then put a request in writing to your manager. get support from your GP if possible too.
Good luck !

Floralnomad Sat 22-Apr-17 17:50:15

Go to your GP and tell them that nights are affecting your health , get any medication offered , ask them to write a note saying you cannot work nights . Then go to your manager with all the information , if they won't comply get a referral or self refer to occupational health and take it that route . Before I retired ( early at 49) , half the staff on the ward I worked on had got occ health on board to get out of night shifts .

Floralnomad Sat 22-Apr-17 17:52:07

As for how it affects other people if you don't do them - seriously who cares , the NHS is the absolute pits for caring about its own staff and it's definitely a case of look after your own interests and don't worry about the rest however harsh that sounds .

AgathaMystery Sat 22-Apr-17 17:54:50

Fist step is to go to your GP & ask the to write an open letter for you supporting a 6mth break from nights.

Then fill in an 'improving working lives' request which you can download from your Trust intranet.

Tell your union rep what you are doing.

Put in your IWL paperwork and await results. In the request mention what you have put here & add your GP letter (not the original) & also ask for an occy health referral.

If you aren't granted it then do the informal appeal. If you lose that then do an informal grievance with your union rep. If that fails go for a full HR appeal.

The GP letter should do it though.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Sat 22-Apr-17 17:55:33

I don't think you are being entirely unreasonable, OCC health is the route you should take. Without their support for the impact on your health, management may take no notice of your requests.

I used to do permanent nights and now fucking hate them. I do about 1 week every 6 weeks though so I can't complain at all. Occ health is the only way to get out of them in our workplace.

Out trust stopped giving night contracts years ago and everyone had to rotate, days and nights. Those already on permanent nights were able to continue but they won't recruit to nights only which is a shame as for some people, it really suits.

AtiaoftheJulii Sat 22-Apr-17 17:58:50

Would you be interested in a job in the community?

SauvignonBlanche Sat 22-Apr-17 18:12:38

If nights are having an adverse effect on your health you could ask to be referred to Occupational Health but if it's just that you don't like them, and most people don't, why not look for a post that doesn't involve night shifts?

EachandEveryone Sat 22-Apr-17 18:25:05

No i don't drive so community is no god of for me.

There's plenty of younger ones wanting nights and they won't officially give them. It's the two lots of four over two weeks that's doing me in. I don't recognise myself anymore. I've already been to the GP regarding my menopause which has started so this could be part of managing that. Financially it will kill me no more trips to nyc! It will take some budgeting but if I could do some weekends I should be ok.

Andrewofgg Sat 22-Apr-17 18:32:20

Before I retired ( early at 49) , half the staff on the ward I worked on had got occ health on board to get out of night shifts .

So who did them Floralnomad - the people who did not know the Right Strings to Pull or the people who lived up to their obligations?

honeyfull Sat 22-Apr-17 18:40:36

What is the "recovery time" allotted after nights in your case? That could be a factor.

My neighbour is a nurse in a geriatric unit. She works seven on nights, and seven off. Works for her. She is 53.

Depends on the roster I suppose. I really feel people who work nights need a lot of time to re adjust to daytime.

user1471439240 Sat 22-Apr-17 18:43:09

It is usually bank staff who cover the nights/ weekends/ lates.
The cost the Nhs is ridiculous.
It is a major reason the Nhs "can't cover shifts", is "understaffed" etc, behind the soundbitten political dogma lies the fact that people do not like working shifts.
The job is 24/7

Orangesox Sat 22-Apr-17 18:43:53

I'm really sorry to burst people's bubbles here... but it's not quite as simple as tell occupational health and they'll let you do what you want.

If it's negatively impacting on your health, and your GP can present documentary evidence to back this up, then they can make a RECOMMENDATION that you do less or no nights... it's up to your manager to decide if they can reasonably accommodate that on your ward. If they can't or won't because of operational issues, staffing concerns etc then I'm afraid you will have reached a point where you may be out of a job.

Unfortunately many employers are reaching a point where they can no longer meet these requests anymore...

LumpySpaceCow Sat 22-Apr-17 18:45:26

If there's plenty of others who want to do them can't you just swap with them when you receive your off duty? That's what I do as I hate them!
If they are adversely affecting your health then go to occupational health - they will usually try to accommodate, especially if there is a risk that you may go off sick.

Andrewofgg Sat 22-Apr-17 18:48:51

Swaps are fine as long as people are free to swap. Free: not expected, pressured, guilt-tripped, bullied, or made to feel unsafe in their jobs if they don't.

The same applies to weekends, and holidays wherever the work has to go on regardless.

Babyroobs Sat 22-Apr-17 18:48:51

My employers reached a point where they can't afford to refuse these requests. They have such a problem recruiting and retaining qualified nurses that they tend to grant people's requests but then like I said we don't really have any shortage of staff willing to do nights.
Most of the younger Nurses prefer to do them for the money and it seems to have less impact on their health.

LavenderRains Sat 22-Apr-17 18:54:23

You have my sympathy. A few people in my unit have come off nights for health reasons.(diabetes, pregnant, epileptic etc) They have all started by going to occ health I really hate nights but have no (as yet) real reason not to do them so I asked my manager if I could just do 1 night at a time. They were happy for me to do this. I do 30 hours a week and usually 4-5 nights a month.
By doing one night it doesn't matter if I don't sleep very well.
There are plenty of youngsters who want nights fortunatelysmile

Ellapaella Sat 22-Apr-17 19:05:18

Part of the problem is that when staffing levels used to be better everyone got a chance to safely have a decent break on nights and often get their heads down for an hour or two (when there were safe staffing levels). Staffing levels have got so bad over the last few years this is no longer possible. It makes a huge difference, often there isn't a chance to even take a break on nights now and in my opinion it's unsafe. I often finished a night shift so delirious with tiredness I could barely talk and often I'd been expected to do an early morning IV drug round like that before the day staff arrived.
It's all good saying that others are somehow better for 'fulfilling' their obligations and carrying on regardless despite the detrimental effects to their own health and the safety of their patients but frankly it's not helpful to patients in the long run if the nurse responsible for them is in poor health.
OP maybe it's time to consider other options - practice nursing? Walk in centre? Research? There really are lots of other options.

MichaelSheensNextDW Sat 22-Apr-17 19:50:30

YANBU and those making sarky remarks about 'it's a 24/7 service' have clearly never worked 20 years of alternating nursing shifts.
In my experience you will find that a GP assessment and letter and an occupational health assessment will at least give you a breathing space (probably six months) before looking at the situation afresh. They can also recommend redeployment to a day-only role which could work well.
They will want to keep you at work somewhere in your Trust rather than risk you going off sick and potentially leaving altogether.

Musicaltheatremum Sat 22-Apr-17 20:04:10

When I started as a junior Doctor the nurses used to work in 3 different shift patterns. Early (7-3or 7.30-3.30) late which was 2-10 or similar and night shift which was a something like 9-7 or 10-7. I don't remember exactly so shorter days and nights but more of them. I remember when the intensive care nurses changed to 12 hour shifts doing 3 or 4 a week. Many of them hated the intensity of them. There is good evidence that shift work is bad for your health. Whether in the health sector or other sectors. 30 years ago you used to get a block of nights then several days off to recover but now it is much more jumbled up.
Agree, maybe a temporary change from nights might help.

Floralnomad Sat 22-Apr-17 20:13:48

andrewofg , mostly the people who wanted to do them , I actually was a night worker for over 20 years , and because I am a ft carer had managed to keep my night only contract whereas lots of my colleagues who had been working nights with me for 15-20 years were being made to do day shifts whilst people like the OP who didn't want the nights were equally forced to do them . The reasons we were given for not being allowed to stay as purely night staff was being kept updated etc yet this is totally opposing the theory that the NHS is a 24/7 business - it is unless you are a staff nurse wanting a night only job . Working nights only is bad enough for your health , working ridiculous mixed shifts where you don't have enough time to recover in between is even worse and that's what happens if you are on ft hours . It's not knowing what strings to pull it's about taking care of your own health because as I said before the NHS don't care . I agree with pp that lots of bank shifts are nights / weekends but if the NHS would go back to being more flexible about handing out night / weekend contracts or even just listen to the staff about what they would like to do these shifts would be covered by people who want them .

Pippa12 Sat 22-Apr-17 20:15:11

Im an icu nurse. We are contracted to 50% days and 50% nights. Above poster was correct when saying a letter from gp may not be enough, my friend was redeployed to daycase when he said he couldn't work nights, despite a gp letter.

We work nights and 14 hour shifts in the same week. For example next week im on mon&tues night shift sleep day Wednesday with a 14 hour shift friday and 8 hour shift saturday. Its gruelling and exhausting. By the time i see my kids i ratty and irritable. Practice nurse is looking very appealing...

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