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medic429

No Sleep 24's

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Sorry to hear you having it so rough. It took me years to get adjusted. But not all days is so easy still either. I did several things. One of which was quite easy, but I see yours has a no sleep policy, as well as ours...how-ever, they would rather us have a power nap between calls then to injure someone or make critical calls on a groggy head. 15 minute power nap is alot better then none at all, but if you know your going to have a long night ( as it always happens for us,lol) do it in the day time, not rush hour etc. Go to your ambulance and lay down if you have to (we do that alot,lol..cardiac pad sucks, but better then nothing). You know you don't want to overload on caffeine either to try n stay up, you know the effects of that. I never sleep on a 24 anyways, i'm used to it,,basically im up 36 as i have a life later as well, then sleep that night( if I have the option,lol). The day before my duty, I always go to bed earlier then I normally would, simply do to the fact, when I'm not prepared, I will get slammed. So I'll get 2 additional hours of sleep before my duty (too much will make u feel as bad). I don't drink any caffeine products, until night time when I have too, and always keep my mind busy so I don;t think of sleep. Every time I go to sleep on my shift,, I always feel worse simply because we always have a call during the night,,, and I hate waking up, going on call all groggy etc... this is why I trained my body to stay up for 36 automatically. Your situation is a little difficult simply cuz it is a no sleep policy at all till 10.....try sleeping extra hours before ur shift starts just in case you end up with those awful hours again. I do 48-72 hour shifts now,,, between stations...but I make it very clear if I pulled long hours on one of the nights, I WILL need some rest before I hurt someone accidentally. We also switch who goes,, ex: a call comes in,,, and we are suppose to take that call, but I haven't had any rest, instead, the next team would take it to give me a good hour (hopefully another call doesn't come in),,, but if a call does,, then at least I had a power nap. Good rule of thumb is this.......(as dr's do as well) take a 5-15 minute power nap during the day... 5 minutes= every 4 hours you work... keeps you revitalized. Did you tell them you didn't have any sleep the next day? I hope this helps, but as you know, every bodies body responds to lack of sleep differently,, so the way I do it may not work for you, I hoe you did get some help though...bless your heart......

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I'm really fortunate to work for a service that value's their employee's well being. We work 24 on and 48 off at our station. We are each provided with our own private bedroom, bathroom (with showers) and yes, we are allowed to sleep as long as our station duties are done. We also have a fully fuctional living room and kitchen. They pay for everything (coffee, cream, sugar, condiments etc that are used by all crews) I can't complain at all.

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039_20147~Chuck-Norris-Posters.jpg

We should follow his lead. On call, 24/7.

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Hi there;

Just joined this forum,,actually found it today and glad I did.

I work a 24/48 shift,,it went from being a busy service to insane,,the population has doubled in the last few years and our call volume is not getting any lighter. Last shift my truck did 20 calls and I only managed 18mins of sleep,,thats right 18 mins. I was so tired after restocking the truck after every call and getting all the paperwork done. I dont really remember my last 3 calls.

I know this is not safe by any standard,,but I work for a company who has a boss who likes to say,,"Tough,I dont pay you to sleep" Nice attitude buddy,,hope I dont run on any of your family members at 3 am when I am so tired I cant think straight.

The sad thing with this company is the Owner used to be a paramedic,,he didnt like the way the company he was working for was treating the crews so he started his own company.He had the right idea when it all started.Now he has resorted to type..its all about the money now...He just sits in his office and acts like he doesnt care. Alot of us have been with this company for years and remember better days,when being loyal meant something.Now we are all frustrated and tired.

This company wont add any more trucks,,they figure if they can make X number of calls with 8 trucks,why pay for 9...they dont take into concideration these 8 trucks are making about 15 to 20 calls per truck.And the moral is in the toilet.

I could be on here forever telling you how it has become at a company I cared about. We all feel we are nothing more than a blue shirt. Experience means nothing,,you can come staight out of school and make the same money I make after 8 years with this company.

Both my husband and I work there,both paramedics,,me with 8 years,hubby with 12.Now we are looking to relocate to another state and go into rural ems.

We have asked this company to look into going to 12 hour shifts,,but they dont want to spend the extra money to add another shift..so we are stuck doing 24's with no sleep.The call volume is increasing and now we get the crap kicked out of us almost every shift,,we are allowed to nap when we are not making calls as long as our duties are done and the truck is stocked and the paper work is done...But even that is hard to do,,sometimes I will have 7 run reports on the dash board and not see base for 10 hours. Its all very frustrating not to mention not very safe for either me or the patients I am treating.

Sorry to seem like I am venting,but you can see the frustation...thanks for listening.

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Nice to meet you Bamamedic.

When I started this thread I was at my wits end. I know how you feel running 24s with little or no sleep. At least you are allowed to 'nap'. We were not allowed to close our eyes unitl 10pm...and then sure enough, calls would come in all night. And, my boss at the time, had the exact same attitude "I don't pay you to sleep". I also worked 24/48 and I started to hate what I was becoming...angry, tired, resentful. Even on days off when I was supposed to regroup...

So, I left. I had to for my peace of mind, my family's sake, and my health. After searching, I found a service that does not do 24's at all (16 is the most you can do) and (now) requires 8hrs rest between shifts. The money isn't quite as good but my attitude sure is! :)

I hope you find what you're looking for. It's not easy being tired all the time. Keep searching....

Good luck!

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To answer the original question of how best to handle coming off a shift like this is to catch a two hour nap as soon as you get home (no longer than 4 hours). Then get up and carry on with a normal off duty day and go to bed about 2 hours prior to normal and resting then for atleast 8 hours. This is suppose to give you maximum recovery. I use this tactic often and it works good for me. If you have an EAP, try talking to them and see if they can provide some other alternatives.

As for sleeping at a place that won't let you sleep (policy manual or direct order), just rember one word if you are caught "Amen!"

Michael

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A bit off topic, but has anyone had a chance to read the Sleep Deprivation study by Univ. Oregon that was published a couple of months ago? Though partnered with the IAFC it is still very relevant to us ambulance folks. i think you can still find it through the JEMS archives or I could upload it with admins approval?

Anywho is it just me or does it seem archaic that some employers still don't understand the need for downtime? Isn't it cheaper to have you inspect your eyelids between calls than pay out a settlement or worse a death benefit after wreck or med error? Regardless the read the study if you can as it might help, i found it quite enlightening. The video is a yawner though it did assist me in a 30min power nap :lol:

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I understand what you are all saying. I feel the same way,,my shifts are really bad and are not going to improve,,the city I work in is averaging 10 new roads a month,,its growing like crazy and the call volume with it. We work 24/48 everyone is tired. We still have only 3 shift trucks running and the rest are day trucks. Needless to say we are up all night long. I have had more than my share of no sleep during work.Last shift was 20 calls for me with only 18 mins of sleep,,I don't remember fully my last three patients,and the boss tells us he doesn't pay us to sleep. Ok,,maybe he is going to wake up and smell the coffee when one of us drives off the road and wrecks or god forbid gives the wrong drug.

Not to mention the moral at work is really bad,,,there are a few of us long term folks left,but not many,,most of the new ones leave after less than two years,,they just cant take the bullcrap from the boss or the run volume..Whats really sad is the boss used to be a paramedic,,started the company cause he didn't like the way the company he worked for treated the crews..guess they all resort to type...

I myself am going to put my house up for sale after the new year and relocate to a rural community..the big city stuff is wearing me out. I want to stay in EMS,,but cant last long with this type of run volume.Burn out is just around the corner and I know it,,I am probably already there...

Stay safe out there during the holidays,,Merry Christmas...

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One advantage I've had is that I've fought insomnia my entire life. My mother said I was five years old before I slept for more than two hours at a time. It was nothing for me to go 32+ hours with no sleep, lay down for about four hours, and go for another 24, and not think anything about it. But I have paid a price for it. I've got more gray hair than my grandmother, migraines, nerves totally shot, and I've been admitted to the hospital three times for exhaustion. It's not fun. Even though I'm no longer in the field I still have insomnia. Have you ever been so exhausted that when you do get down time and you're so relieved that you can finally get laid down that you get excited, then you can't relax?

My best advice is...Respect your body, don't push it to where it is detrimental to your health, physically and mentally. Know your limitations, and respect them. If sleeping is still a problem try OTC Melatonin. It's very effective and much more safe than scripts like Ambien. And PLEASE don't come dependant on meds or even alcohol to help "unwind". This is a subject I've counseled others in the past. If anyone does have further questions or need someone hear them out, PM or e-mail me anytime.

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Hello All you Sleepless People,

As a nurse who over the years worked many different shifts I can sympathize with you.

I agree with FireDoc5 advice to AVOID sleeping medications (only work for brief time, many are addictive) and Alcohol (actually makes sleep worse).

I am a psychiatric NP and Melatonin works well for many of my patients. My suggestion is start at the lowest dose and go up. Most people use between 1.5 to 5 mg. I also suggest the long acting or time release type ,as it helps you stay asleep. Here are some other hints. Get some ZZZZZs

Bedtime Rituals

It will help you to have a consistent bedtime ritual. Start to prepare for bed about 1/2 hour before you intend to sleep. Don't just jump in to bed after a hard shift. I know this is tempting.

A warm shower or bath before bed will help you relax you. You may wish to do something special such as apply moisturizer to your body. A few minutes to read (something calming) or pray or meditate is a good practice.

Recent research has shown that napping can be good for you. However you should avoid naps until you get your insomnia under control. After that you can try adding short naps a little at a time in the early afternoon.

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