Embracing My Inner Night Owl

Do you remember January and the early part of February, when I was doing what seemed to be a never-ending series of nights? Well, I’m back on them tomorrow. Back to dinner at breakfast time, murdering the postman with my bare hands, being fed tea by the wonderful lovely nurses on Cardiology, and all that jazz.

There are a lot of reasons to hate nights, but, once I’m over the inevitable icky jetlag feeling, I actually really don’t.

So, as I try to nudge my body clock back in the direction of being awake all night and asleep all day, these are my top ten reasons to not hate nights.

*

1.  On the days that I start work at 8am, I am the undisputed queen of throwing some clothes on, spilling some food into the cat bowls while brushing my teeth, and racing out of the door with a travel mug and a toast sandwich in hand. Somehow, on the days that I start work at 8pm, I get up in time to make real dinner and have cuddles with the cats.

Just because I have to go to work, doesn't mean she has to go to work.

Just because I have to go to work, doesn’t mean she has to go to work.

2. I never get stuck in traffic.

3. I don’t spend half of my shift on a ward round.

4. I can wear pyjamas to work.

I do need bigger pockets, though.

I do need bigger pockets, though.

5. A cream cheese sandwich at three o’clock in the morning will never not taste amazing.

6. I get to spend most of my shift seeing new patients, and I have fantastic medical registrars and SHOs who trust my clinical judgement but also give me actual feedback on my differentials and management plans.

6b. And then offer to turn that feedback into stuff for ePortfolio. (I hate ePortfolio.)

7. The bed managers are a lot more Zen. This is important because I work in a department where the doctors share an office with the bed managers.

8. It’s nice to work with a smaller team and we have fun, a bit.

9. The difference between weekends on ward cover and nights on ward cover is that, at night, there is a nurse practitioner who holds a triage page and consequently a lot of the crap gets filtered out.

10. I sleep really well during the day, which means that I generally don’t have as much to complain about as most people who work nights.

10b. And even less to complain about than that, because I don’t have a partner or kids who think that “working nights” means “days off”.

And, bonus:

+1. I am already fantasising about my post-nights breakfast on Monday morning.

Credit where it's due to Eat Cafe in Shawlands, whose staff will someday see me not looking like I've been awake all night.

Credit where it’s due to Eat Cafe in Shawlands, whose staff will someday see me not looking like I’ve been awake all night.

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5 comments

  1. I think I could embrace working night shifts, too – it’s just that one hour and a half right in the middle of shift where it’s all a little yuck, and then, it gets better. Of course, I worked desk jobs at night, D. worked emergency dispatch at nights – he at least got emergencies which kept him wakeful. Not me! But, definitely the breakfast at the end is worth it, and so is sleeping during the day, which I rarely do now, but oh, those great university night jobs!

    I hope it is calm and peaceful for you on nights.

    1. I tend to hit the wall at about 4am, which is far enough in that I’ve done an eight hour day but still dark outside and still four hours before the day team arrive to take over. And then I’ve usually perked back up again by 5am, because with 5am comes the challenge of it being two hours until the canteen opens, and, if we can clear the board in those two hours and there’s time, we can run for coffee and a potato scone sandwich before handover.

  2. No, I never got used to nights and when the roof was being completely renovated, in sheer desperation I rented a bedroom in a ‘sheltered housing complex’ nearby which was very quiet and at least I had a good sleep for those nights. Love the cuddly cat-blanket.

    1. My flat is thankfully in a usually very quiet spot. I’ve only had the one day when I came home from work and the upstairs neighbours were doing something with an electric saw, which didn’t bother me after five minutes because, also thankfully, I could sleep on a log and through the world ending — if I ever had any tendencies in the other direction, which my mother will probably tell you I didn’t, five years of a bedroom window that overlooked the Clydebank Expressway cured me of them.

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