Do Night Shift Workers Die Sooner? Nurses, you do.

Welcome to the night shift, new nurse! Many people in different professions think you are nuts for even accepting that you will work third shift after going to school for nursing. “Good luck with that”, you may have heard. Well, new evidence shows night shift does not only feel bad on your body when you wake up, but it is increasing your risk of cancer and heart disease…woo hoo.

The Nurses’ Health Study released information and it was recently published in an article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, proving that those women who have been on rotating night shift work (OK, those who work nights, unless you live in a cave, are rotating on their days off), have a significantly higher rate of cardiovascular disease. Those who worked longer than that had even higher rates. Lung cancer is also 25% higher in those who worked rotating shifts, but generally not all cancers.

Tips to help your health on night shift

Well, unfortunately, nothing has been proven to help (like sleep aids), but we have no choice but to work it as a nurse, most of the time. So, night shift workers need to try to lower their risk in other ways. How?

  • If you smoke – quit!
  • Exercise – Yes, move!
  • Stop the night shift cravings – learn to eat a healthy diet.
  • Go to the doctor – As nurses we are the worst when it comes to being a patient. GO to the doctor for regular screening to help avoid problems.

Working night shift is not easy for anyone. Check out how to get through the night shift in the nerdy nurse Brittany’s blog.
Those who work night shift do not usually do it because we want to. If you have a chance to get off the shift, do it, it’s the best decision. Most nurses after coming to dayshift do not realize how bad they were until they started to feel good.
Tip for those who think your kids want you on the shift: they don’t. Most kids understand that you won’t be there at night, but they don’t see you “there” when you have 2 hours of sleep either. Rest for your kids. Put them in daycare if you need to sleep a little bit, don’t feel guilty. You need to take care of yourself, they sleep at night, you should be able to sleep during the day.

In the meantime, she says that shift workers concerned about their risk should do everything they can to lower their risk of heart and cancer risk in other ways — by quitting smoking, getting enough exercise, eating a healthy diet and getting regular cancer screenings.

10 Survival Tips for Nurse Orientation

Have you heard of the high turnover rates for new grads? How awful would it be to go through a 12 week nurse orientation, go out on your own, and realize after all that training, that it is not for you. Quitting your first nursing job is not an ego booster. It hurts you and the department who paid you to train.

How can we change that? Hospitals across the Nation are looking at ways to revamp their nursing orientations to retain nurse, but you can help as the new nurse.

How to get the best orientation


  • Read a book –  Your orientation is not the only place you need to keep learning. Keep your nursing school book of whatever specialty you are focusing by your bed at night. Anything you came across that day that you didn’t understand, look it up. Nowadays, you can always Google it and inform yourself even more with scholarly resources.
  • Prove you know it –  Orientation is the time to perfect your skills and learn new ones. You have someone monitoring you now, so perform! Lacking at IV skills? Start every IV in the unit that day with your preceptor, and by the end, you will be the one they will call!
  • Don’t be cocky –  Simple. We all know you went through nursing school, no need to talk about how smart you are. Put it to use. Those who are book smart, are not always the best in the clinical setting. Take it in, but show you know it through your work, not through your mouth.
  • Don’t fake it –  On the other hand, if you don’t know something, ASK! Even if you already learned it once. Your preceptor knows you are taking in so much information, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • “New preceptor, please”- This is one of the hardest things to deal with. Are you and your preceptor not a good fit? You need to be the one to act. Talk to your unit director to possibly switch you to someone like you. This orientation needs to train you, don’t let your preceptor make you a bad nurse.
  • Being overwhelmed is normal. – Every nurse will tell you they were overwhelmed in the beginning of their orientation. We expect it. If we covered way too much for your brain to take in anything else that day, stop the preceptor and ask to focus on one thing.
  • You will mess up. – Believe it or not, you’re human. You will mess up, not only in orientation, but in nursing generally. Don’t be afraid, you have someone by your side at this time. Again, never feel stupid for asking questions to do something right.
  • Give feedback –  Orientation processes can always grow and change. Preceptors and Directors of your unit need feedback on what works, and what doesn’t work. Help them create the best orientation for all nurses. Afterall, they will be your colleagues after their orientation.
  • Weekly Meetings –  Make sure your weekly meetings with your preceptor and director/educator are not overlooked. You need to hear constructive criticism and be able to focus on what is working, and what is not working.
  • Be ready to work –  Come to work prepared, even if it is a little early in the shift. Find out your assignment and prepare for your day. Impress your preceptor with our excitement to work on the unit.


With these tips, you are bound to succeed through your orientation and career. Remember to acknowledge the new nurses in your unit and care for them. We know the feeling of “nurses eating their young”. Change that perception to embrace everyone who chose this caring profession.