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MidWestMedicWife

Night Shift

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So I've decided that I officially HATE the night shift. My husband's two-week rotation goes like this:

M - 6p - 6a

T - 6p - 6a

W - off

Th - off

F - 6p - 6a

S - 6p - 6a

S - 6p - 6a

M - off

T - off

W - 6p - 6a

Th - 6p - 6a

F, S, S - off

So, although he does have every-other weekend off and he gets to spend a bit more time with the boys, I miss him terribly in the evenings that he's gone. I think it finally hit me last night that after the quiet sets in that all I really want is for him to be there with me. I know he loves the night shift - different runs - not as many transports, etc. But I really REALLY wish he was on the day shift. He says that if he were on days he's not have as much time with the boys - which is true, I guess. But he'd have almost as much time as I do. I don't get off until 5pm. By the time I get the boys picked up and home, it's close to 6pm. Not much different than the time I have with them. But he'd be here with me as well.

I support his change in career. He truly is happier in serving than in the business world. From what I can see and hear from others he's a very good medic. (I never doubted he would be - he's amazingly smart and does well in crisis.) I guess I just didn't realize the effect this choice would have on me. I don't mean to sound selfish, because I know he's out there doing things that are so under appreciated that it's not even funny. I just wish he was on a different shift. I miss him.

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That is nice you care so much for your spouse and I do understand the feeling of absence. For a 2 week rotation that is not too bad. Most healthcare professionals are routinely assigned night shifts until they have reached seniority, to get a day time position. I know at some places this may take several years, or even work 24 hr shifts. In the nursing world it is not unusual to work night shifts more than 5 ears before even being considered for a daytime position.

Some helpful, hints from one whom worked nights for a while. Let him have some peace time.. and sleep. Try to have activities at night, when he is awake. It is hard for the circadian cycle to change to adapt to family life. Be patient.. he might be more moody than usual.. deep down he may not like it much too but aware there is not much he can do about it.

Hang in there.. goo luck !

R/r 911

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I know how you feel my wife works 11p until at least 6am. If I'm lucky I work till 10p and can be home to say hi and give her a kiss good bye as she walks out the door, but most nights I don't get home till after 11p. then when I get up to go to work she is asleep. So we don't really get to see each other during the week. her week ends on Friday am and she goes back in Sunday pm. and I'm off Sunday and Monday so we spend a few hours together on Sunday before she goes back to sleep in the evening for a few hours before going to work. It can be hard but you know what they say Absence makes the heart grow fonder. let me tell you the weekend get aways are great!!

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I'm sorry you're in the position you're in. Working nights is never easy for both the person working and the family at home. Invariably, someone is not happy with the arrangement. And in many cases it's harder than working days as you're finding out. And this does nothing to address the physical efforts needed to work a night shift.

But one thing both you and your husband need to do is keep your lines of communication open. It could become very easy, after a while, for you to resent him for his work schedule. It could become easy for him to resent you for what he could perceive to be nagging by you about his work schedule (I'm not saying that you're nagging him). If you can communicate well, both of you, then that can help go a long way to alleviate a lot of the stress from him working nights and you hating the night shift.

That's good that he has time to spend with your kids. But also make sure that the two of you make time for just the two of you. That's just as important.

This industry can create a lot of havoc for otherwise stable relationships. Work schedules, things witnessed while at work, near misses with patients (Your husband's right. Night shift brings just a different world of patients and situations.)...all contribute to stressors that most people aren't quite sure how to handle. It can take a lot of work to keep things going. But if you keep talking, make time for the important things (i.e. "each other") then hopefully you can work through whatever troubles you face.

Hang in there. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask us. Many of us have been there. Many of us know what worked and didn't work for us. We're more than happy to offer any suggestions we can.

Good luck!

-be safe.

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I'm sorry you're in the position you're in. Working nights is never easy for both the person working and the family at home. Invariably, someone is not happy with the arrangement. And in many cases it's harder than working days as you're finding out. And this does nothing to address the physical efforts needed to work a night shift.

But one thing both you and your husband need to do is keep your lines of communication open. It could become very easy, after a while, for you to resent him for his work schedule. It could become easy for him to resent you for what he could perceive to be nagging by you about his work schedule (I'm not saying that you're nagging him). If you can communicate well, both of you, then that can help go a long way to alleviate a lot of the stress from him working nights and you hating the night shift.

That's good that he has time to spend with your kids. But also make sure that the two of you make time for just the two of you. That's just as important.

This industry can create a lot of havoc for otherwise stable relationships. Work schedules, things witnessed while at work, near misses with patients (Your husband's right. Night shift brings just a different world of patients and situations.)...all contribute to stressors that most people aren't quite sure how to handle. It can take a lot of work to keep things going. But if you keep talking, make time for the important things (i.e. "each other") then hopefully you can work through whatever troubles you face.

Hang in there. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask us. Many of us have been there. Many of us know what worked and didn't work for us. We're more than happy to offer any suggestions we can.

Good luck!

-be safe.

I truly appreciate the feedback from each of you. And yes, I know it could be much worse than what it is. Sometimes, I just need a place to vent...to let go of the frustrations so that I do NOT become angry or resentful. As a spouse new to this (after several years of him working M-F 8-5 type job) it does take some getting use to. Sometimes I feel as if I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. I want him to be happy. He sacrificed his career of choice (Nat'l Park Ranger) nearly 10 years ago to move here and to be with me. And I always worried that he might become resentful of that. So when he decided to become a paramedic, I was all for it! I wanted to make sure he knew that I supported him in what he was doing. I wish I had been prepared for the other things that come with that choice.

Communication is a vital part of any relationship. And we are striving to keep those lines open. We're trying to have 'date' nights - but sometimes life gets in the way... (his job...my job...my church stuff... our kids' schedules, etc.) But we both do realize the importance of making the time for one another. It's something we weren't doing for a while - and realized that it was a critical piece of the puzzle that we were missing.

I can keep my fingers crossed that one day he'll choose days (and the opportunity will be there for him as well) and things can get back to a semi-normal routine.

Thanks again!

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something else to think about (as i did, reading through this forum), how about starting a "wives/spouses" group, or at least a phone group with the other spouses. i doubt seriously that your the only one feeling this way. It is a difficult field for our spouses to get used to, trust ME! I know! LOL! It sounds as if you have a lot going on, but just to have others that can share similar ideas (or as you said, vent), may help. I'd have to agree with what the others have said as well, good communication, and sacrifices on both sides of the fence are key.

good luck, and hang in there!!

madmedic

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Try this rotation :

4 on

4 off

6 on

4 off

4 on

6 off

THAT... sucks..

I miss night shift, but it is still slightly better than days. When I was on nights, I actually feel I got more time with my kids because I could wake up and have dinner or whatever then go to work. But my days off sucked. I had to get out of that mentality each time I had off, so my first day was spent being tired and miserable, then the remainder of my days off I could do things. Now I'm on days and aside from not having to get out of the swing of night shift, I'd rather be back on nights. The only shift available was 8a-8p so now when I get home, everyone is getting ready for bed so I see my kids less now then on nights.

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Wow. I didn't even realize this post was still up!

Lots has changed during the past year. He actually did make a bid and was awarded the 6a-6p day shift for 6 months. It was wonderful for me, but he HATED it. Lot of patient transfers to and from nursing homes, etc. The past 6 months he's been on nights again. This time, however, he is on 8p-8a. It's GREAT! He's home for the kids after school. He's home for dinner and until the kids are getting ready for bed. And he's likes the fact that the runs are more EMS related. He'll be on the 8p-8a for the next 6 months as well. It's been a great compromise that has worked well for our family!

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