What They Didn’t Teach You in Nursing School Series 2: Shift Workers are a Strange Breed

Catch up on Series 1 here. Topics include, How to Duck Punches. People Die. and How to Listen, Not Assume.


It takes a special type of person to work shifts in a hospital. Imagine dealing with sickness, death, body fluids, and pain all day every day at work. And those are the tame things that happen in hospitals. Shift workers work all hours of the night and day sacrificing family time, social lives, and sanity. Some don’t make it past their first year, and those who survive, do so for a reason.

Speaking from personal experience:

We are are generally nice, but jaded.

We use sarcasm as a coping mechanism.

We are tired. Always.

We drink coffee continuously, even without creamer.

We find humor in sick things.

We view out of the ordinary as normal.

We are never shocked.

Good veins top the list of our favorite things.

We thrive on adrenaline.

Wenckebach is sexy. (These med students think so too)


A good day is when no one dies.




8 Comments on “What They Didn’t Teach You in Nursing School Series 2: Shift Workers are a Strange Breed

  1. My first job in a hospital was at a VA hospital working the 3 to 11 shift. I would say your list describes most of the folks I worked with pretty well. Except for that whole Wenckebach thing …

  2. Here of late ( last several months ) a good day is going home on time!

  3. Just came across your blog today. And love it! Although I am now a day shift nurse *gasp*, I worked nights for 7 years. And I have held on to the quirkiness. I miss nights…except for the lack of sleep :).

  4. hi! i’m totally in love w/ your blog.. just stumbled upon it through twitter..i’m a nurse from the Philippines by the way! =)

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