I worked C shifts this weekend for the first and possibly last time in my career. A C-shift is 11am-11pm and it has many advantages and disadvantages. Let me say this; it’s an interesting experience!!
There are many different shifts in nursing-land, some of which I’ve talked about before. When we get our schedule (still on paper in 2013), we have our name and then under each day a blank or a letter or symbol. There are about 60 letters and symbols signifying different amounts of time worked, excuses for time not worked, orientation etc etc.
I have worked D or day shift (7am-3pm), E or evening (3pm-11pm), A or “all day” (7am-7pm), and M or as I like to think of it “midnight” (7 pm-7am). I’ve never heard of anyone working a B (9am-9pm) but that’s on the list too.
Advantages to a C shift are:
1) Waking up late! None of that 5 in the morning business.
2) Working during “normal awake” hours (for a nurse) and thus being able to return to a normal schedule during the week.
3) Normally on a weekend shift you take 1 45minute -hour long break, but with a C shift most units are very accommodating and will give you 2 30 minute breaks so you can keep up your energy level (mealtimes were something I was worried about but it turns out it’s not an issue!)
4) For me, C shifts apparently meant Cardiac as I went to two different cardiac units this weekend. I can’t read strips but I do enjoy cardiac units. Hearts are cool!
1) At 11 am you’re usually taking a patient from someone who has only been there for 4 hours, and then often you’re only there for 4 hours… it can be a little confusing for the patient!
2) You have to wait on that assessment. We normally assess first thing in the morning and sometime in the afternoon/ evening, so with a C shift you’re usually waiting at least 5 hours before doing an official assessment (sometimes more like 10 hours)
3) No one else is working a C shift so at 7 you lose your “crew” and have to make new alliances.
Finally, like all other 12 hour shifts, a C shift is draining and takes up the entire day. But it’s a fun experience and I would do it again! Is it better than an A? Not in my opinion, because after an A shift you can go hang out with your friends until bedtime. With a C shift, you sleep, work, sleep.
So that’s the skinny on C shift! Now back to normal – E’s, A’s, and M’s!