Monday, December 03, 2007

sleepless in tasmania

I have a pet theory. In truth I have many pet theories, but this is one I was able to test last night. At this stage I'm still drawing my conclusions.

At my hospital we work what are called 'late-earlies'. I hate them with a passion. To finish after 10pm, only to turn around and come back at 7am to do it all again is inhumane. The only thing I find in its favour is that two shifts are made short work of in very quick time. Where I worked in Newcastle we called this short change a 'quick shift' in honour of the speedy turn over of hours. (They were worse there because the late shift finished at 11pm)

A late-early usually involves lack of sleep courtesy of forcing the body into bed before the mind has calmed or unwinding for two hours after running around frantically; restless work-focused dreams; bleary eyes; and post-work nana naps designed to reinvigorate oneself prior to cooking tea. Add a few snarls at the spouse, a sharp word or two thrown at that particularly demanding or irritating patient and you about have it. Late-earlies are not good.

My theory is that staying to work a double shift overnight is better than rushing home, slumbering fitfully and trotting dazedly into work the next morning. Staying on means running on adrenalin, pushing through the four am drowsiness and dropping into a deep, dead sleep as soon as you stumble home the next morning. Sleep for a few hours, get up, then have an early night and you're ready to go without the torturous late-early. It sounds like a fair exchange to me.

There are a few caveats I would add to this however. A double shift is only worth doing if you have space to rest plenty in the next day or two. If you're on a late shift that afternoon, don't bother... for one you won't have escaped a late-early, and two, you'll have to come to work at 4pm and somehow stay awake until 10pm without killing anybody with a medication error. It's just not worth it! As I said, the best way is to agree to a double if you are rostered for an early followed by a few days off.

Yesterday I almost fulfilled my double-shift criteria. I was on a late last night, an early this morning, and a late tomorrow followed by three weeks of holidays.

Hmmm, was there anything else that might cause me to acquiesce to a double? Yes, oh yes there was!

The extra sweetener in the sting of a double shift is the money: normal pay for the first rostered shift, double time for the extra shift and (wait for it, wait for it) if you are then rostered for an early shift but can't work it because you were required by your employer to work the double... you get paid normal pay for that too! We affectionately call this the 'glory shift' - triple time for the double worked overnight. Woohoo.

So I did it. Last night I worked a double, this morning while I should have been at work I was sweetly dreaming, and the cash register went 'ker-ching'.

And the pet theory? Hmmmm, as I said the jury is still out. Yes I skipped that late-early but man, I am tired tonight! I have a sneaking suspicion my theory is wrong... but with that kind of income explosion, who really cares?



At 6:21 am, December 04, 2007, Blogger Dublin City Girl said...

You must be exhausted after a double shift! How do you cope with the changing shift thing all the time (early, late, night)? I had some summer jobs that required irregular working hours and yes, it did pay well because of that, but I found that my biorythm went insane...

At 8:13 am, December 04, 2007, Blogger Deanna said...

Um...can I have a loan?

At 1:03 pm, December 05, 2007, Blogger Robyn said...

I'd take a doubler over a quick shift any day....BUT my happy thought right now is that I don't have to do either anymore!!! Yippee and hooray!!!! Enjoy your break! :)


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