Ambulance shifts and sleep habits [Archive] - Glock Talk

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MissAmericanPie
11-27-2007, 21:29
Hi guys/gals,

So I was wondering what the most common shifts for private ambulance services are. I know some do twelves, and even 24s. How do you learn to sleep?

I have sleep problems and it is the only part of the job that worries me. I have just tried to readjust my sleep clock as I seem to revert back to sleeping 4:00 to 10:00 a.m. if I permit myself to. And to make things worse, my job this winter (part-time) will be starting at noon. It has been a struggle my whole adult life, but more when my employment is screwy or irregular.

I am finally back on a normal schedule, but I am wondering how the ambulance job will affect my sleep when I get one and how more seasoned EMTs such as yourselves handle it.

Thanks. :)

swatmed4
11-27-2007, 21:50
I do 24 hour shifts. Sleep as I would at home unless we get a call. The next day is an off day so I catch a nap if I am not at the Sheriff's office.

I used to work 12 hour night shifts. It took a couple of months to get a pattern down. I was going to college in the day also.

Rest when you can and try to get some sleep the day before your shift. Coming into work tried will really hurt you.

Good luck

gruntmedik
11-27-2007, 22:10
I also work 24hr shifts. We sleep at night unless we're flying. Then there is the occasional "safety nap" :supergrin:

swatmed4
11-27-2007, 22:12
I also work 24hr shifts. We sleep at night unless we're flying. Then there is the occasional "safety nap" :supergrin:

That is a good one. Tried to take one today. Got sent on a fire alarm, go figure

MissAmericanPie
11-27-2007, 22:23
I also work 24hr shifts. We sleep at night unless we're flying. Then there is the occasional "safety nap" :supergrin:

Safety nap?

Do you find it hard to fall asleep thinking you might be running out any moment? Or is it just something that takes time to get used to?

You see, I do worry about going to work tired since I spend much of my time that way and clearly you are not at your best in such a condition. Not good for an EMT I would think.

swatmed4
11-28-2007, 10:23
[QUOTE=MissAmericanPie;9339427]Safety nap?

Do you find it hard to fall asleep thinking you might be running out any moment? Or is it just something that takes time to get used to?

I go to sleep without any problems. It takes time I guess. Just dont sleep through a call.

RyanNREMTP
11-28-2007, 10:40
Sleep is one of the reasons I went through medic school. Here the EMTs do most of the driving. If I happen to doze off in the passenger seat while posting, who knows.

I don't think I snore.


Sleep when you can. I've had partners sleep during the daytime but I just can't do that very well. Most of the time just resting in a comfortable recliner is close enough to sleep for me.

CDNGlock
11-28-2007, 13:59
It depends on the hours you work. Specifically on 24hr shifts you have NO choice, U grab sleep when you can or when "lights out" personally why EMS hasn't adopted similar hours to law enforcement (10,10 & 8 hour shifts) is beyond me since our call volume is VERY comparable. As for the 12 hours the way I do it is like this. I stay up for the 12 hours shift. Even the nights, then when I get off shift I try to do something active like a jog since that can be done throughout the year, or get a treadmill or stationary bike. Abstain from coffee's/cafiene after 0400hrs. Try to eat fruits or veggies or a canned soup if you have the munchies. Don't immediatly hit the sack once you get off shift, stay up for a bit, go for a jog, bike, kayak, ski whatever... Have a light meal: ceral, yogurt, toast. wake up a few hours prior to shift start, go for a jog, run whatever have your larger meal before shift start.
For me doing this works, I feel more refreshed and ready. I dunno about all you out there but I tell ya if my first call is crummy casue Im half a sleep or not in my "A" game it takes me AT LEAST the other half of the shift to get focused again. Similar thing goes for days, wake up EARLY BUT go for a run, come in for brekie have a HOT shower and your UP and ready so you can start your day with a VSA!!!

Hope this helps
Also, try getting blackout curtains at home, turn the ringer off the phone. If you have noisy neighbors let them know you work shift work, if that doesn't do it nothin wrong with the 3am airhorn blast thru the neighborhood.

D25
11-30-2007, 22:13
I work 48s. I sleep when I can- sometimes that happens at hour 49. I used to not be able to sleep during the day, but that has changed. I try to eat well, stay hydrated, and carry a good pair of earplugs for the ambulance or plane ride home, or at the station. Just remember to put your pager on vibrate if you have earplugs in! I also have 4 days off after my shift, and can devote the first day after a shift to rest.

paramediclane
12-01-2007, 07:10
my sleep pattern has been messed up since ive been in ems (13 years now) i take ambien on the nights that i am at home. i cant even sleep in my own bed anymore without it. i really only get a good night sleep when im at home. even if we are slow i dont sleep well at the station.

Lynn D
12-02-2007, 19:54
Mmm...RN and vollie EMT-B....

I am required to work nights at the hospital (D/E/N), and I dread them. That said, here's what I've learned. Sleeping for shifts like this is totally individual. I cannot plan on doing anything requiring any degree of complex thinking/motor skills the first day after an overnight. I am so "out of it" that I generally don't even attempt to cook a meal on the stove.

That said, I do work into a routine. I try not to stay up past 11 am. I'll sleep for a few hours, get up and do a few things, then eat a good meal and catch a nap for a few (if I'm lucky). I sometimes use Benadryl to help me sleep during the day going in to a night shift and I take 2 Sudafed when I get to the hospital the first night. I also drink plenty of liquid on the overnight as well (hard to sleep with a full bladder!).....

When I overnight at the ambulance, we have sleeping rooms. First time, I was worried I'd miss a call. First night call I had, I don't remember hearing the klaxon, but the lights in my room were on and I was up, so I guess that's good!

Best of luck to ya!

MissAmericanPie
12-02-2007, 23:48
Thanks, everyone.

I've been taking melatonin to regulate my sleep, however, I can't do that with shift work. I'll figure it out when I get a job, I guess.

Right now I'm just hoping to get some responses about ride time for some experience first.

swatmed4
12-03-2007, 13:05
Thanks, everyone.

I've been taking melatonin to regulate my sleep, however, I can't do that with shift work. I'll figure it out when I get a job, I guess.

Right now I'm just hoping to get some responses about ride time for some experience first.

What do you want to know about responses? The best tips I can give is never get away for your ABC's nothing else matters. Also it is there emergency not yours, so try to remain calm. That will help you and your patient.

Well off for an interview with the helicopter EMS service. They are finally putting medics on.
Good luck with your job.

MissAmericanPie
12-03-2007, 16:48
What do you want to know about responses? The best tips I can give is never get away for your ABC's nothing else matters. Also it is there emergency not yours, so try to remain calm. That will help you and your patient.

Well off for an interview with the helicopter EMS service. They are finally putting medics on.
Good luck with your job.

D'oh. :embarassed: I worded that very poorly. I meant responses from my inquiries to ambulance companies. But thanks very much for the "response".

Good luck with your interview. :)

swatmed4
12-04-2007, 09:01
D'oh. :embarassed: I worded that very poorly. I meant responses from my inquiries to ambulance companies. But thanks very much for the "response".

Good luck with your interview. :)
I hope I get it. There were only 3 spots open, and alot of people who applied. I knew all of the folks doing the interview so maybe that will help. If not oh well. I am busy with other things too.

Have a good one

Bravo6
12-10-2007, 23:18
I work three to five 13 hour shifts a week that usually end up being more like 15 hour shifts. If I am off the next day, I allow myself to sleep in somewhat. If I am working consecutive shifts, I get about 5 to 6 hours the night before if I am lucky.

swatmed4
12-11-2007, 08:27
D'oh. :embarassed: I worded that very poorly. I meant responses from my inquiries to ambulance companies. But thanks very much for the "response".

Good luck with your interview. :)

Good news I got hired as one of the flight medics. It is a first for this service. In the past only RN's would fly. I am excited. Have to do my drug test and physical tomorrow. Cant wait to start flying.

Hunca Munca
12-14-2007, 13:51
A safety nap is something flight crews do to prevent themselves from walking into the tail rotor at 430 am after flying all day.



:wavey:

lthrbound
12-14-2007, 20:16
Im a full-time medic who works 24's at my full-time job and 10's at my part time gig. My sleep schedule is so messed up It's not even funny.

MissAmericanPie
12-15-2007, 00:26
Congrats, Swatmed4!! I hope you like it and the best of luck to you.

Well, the ambulance service I was inquiring about getting some ride time with does 48s, so even if I do ride time there I will avoid applying for a job there. Uggh. I am not into that, so if I can get something at the other area service, I'm doing it. They do 12s, 24s and 36s. Since I do not want full time while I go for my intermediate, it shouldn't be a big deal.

One thing that would really suck about doing 48s is that you are stuck in a SMALL house with a bunch of coworkers and it seems like trying not to kill each other would be an effort. I'm not around my husband EVER for that long.

DScottHewitt
12-15-2007, 22:44
We have four shifts Monday through Friday, usually.

A Shift is 24 hour crew. 0700-0700
B Shift is 0900-1730
C Shift is 1100-1930
D Shift is 1300-2130


A Shift gets paid for 20 hours minimum and works two days a week. If they have less than five hours to sleep at night, they get paid for the full 24.....

Scott

DScottHewitt
12-15-2007, 22:45
You see, I do worry about going to work tired since I spend much of my time that way and clearly you are not at your best in such a condition. Not good for an EMT I would think.



Do a lot less hours than ER docs in a lot of hospitals. Some are on for like 48 hours at a go.....


Scott

MissAmericanPie
12-16-2007, 00:10
Do a lot less hours than ER docs in a lot of hospitals. Some are on for like 48 hours at a go.....


Scott

:shocked:

MissAmericanPie
12-16-2007, 00:11
We have four shifts Monday through Friday, usually.

A Shift is 24 hour crew. 0700-0700
B Shift is 0900-1730
C Shift is 1100-1930
D Shift is 1300-2130


A Shift gets paid for 20 hours minimum and works two days a week. If they have less than five hours to sleep at night, they get paid for the full 24.....

Scott

That sounds good to me!!!

Any of those shifts are fine. It's the 48s I'm not into.

swatmed4
12-16-2007, 09:43
Congrats, Swatmed4!! I hope you like it and the best of luck to you.

Well, the ambulance service I was inquiring about getting some ride time with does 48s, so even if I do ride time there I will avoid applying for a job there. Uggh. I am not into that, so if I can get something at the other area service, I'm doing it. They do 12s, 24s and 36s. Since I do not want full time while I go for my intermediate, it shouldn't be a big deal.

One thing that would really suck about doing 48s is that you are stuck in a SMALL house with a bunch of coworkers and it seems like trying not to kill each other would be an effort. I'm not around my husband EVER for that long.

Thanks it is going to be fun working with this group. We will be on 24 then off. We will work 2 days one week and 3 the next. Not to bad.

I would stay away from 48 hour shifts. It can wear on you very fast. Especially in a high volume area. 36 hours is long enough. And if the crews dont get along then it can be tough.

Good luck

DScottHewitt
12-22-2007, 18:10
That sounds good to me!!!

Any of those shifts are fine. It's the 48s I'm not into.



I went in at 1245 and finished a 24 Thursday. We had an ER transfer to Va Baptist at 0445. We got to the ER at like 0520. Sergeant wanted to know why. Simple answer was: My partner was sick when I woke him up to take the call. He called her and dispatch trying to get the call pushed back to after 0700. 24s are the best shift we got. IF you can do it.

We had TWO ambulances wrecked this month (within the last two weeks) because of fatigue in the middle of the night. ALMOST three. Friday morning coming back from Lynchburg, my partner suddenly said "SLAM RIGHT INTO THAT *****!!" and hit the airhorn. I had drifted off, and never saw the car that came down the ramp and cut us off. I stopped at the next store and got a VAULT and some chocolate.....


Scott

MissAmericanPie
12-25-2007, 22:23
:shocked:

DScottHewitt
12-27-2007, 10:49
Where is this place that has 48 hour shifts?!?!?

And how many vehicles have been in accidents there between 0300 and 0700?!?!?


Scott

D25
12-29-2007, 09:45
Where is this place that has 48 hour shifts?!?!?

And how many vehicles have been in accidents there between 0300 and 0700?!?!?


Scott

48s are relatively common in Oregon. In the last 10 years, my current outfit has had 1 MVA involving one of our ambulances when it was hit by a DUI @ 1800 hrs. At the FD that I used to work for (that runs 48s) hasn't crashed anything that I know of in 5 years. It's not that bad.

jdfire43
12-29-2007, 13:30
We work 24 on & 48 off. I sleep like I normally do at home unless we are running all night, then I'm good for almost the whole next day....I just go to bed a little earlier than normal at home. Sometimes I can catch a nap the day I get off for 30 to 45 minutes & be good to go again.

DepChief
01-14-2008, 08:37
I also work 24hr shifts. We sleep at night unless we're flying. Then there is the occasional "safety nap" :supergrin:

And Grunt is one of the "safest" medics out there!!!

:rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:

Short Bus
01-15-2008, 19:50
I work a very screwed up 12 hour shift. I switch days and nights every week. You get used to any shift after you do it for a while. I have done 24/48s too. That is not a bad shift, but the way better 24 hour shift is a 24/72. Several counties around me do that shift and I would love to do that. I get a week off in a row every month though.

Many places on the west coast do 48/96s. If you are with a FD I could see it, but not with EMS. :dunno:

MissAmericanPie
01-15-2008, 20:47
One thing that I fear is that if I work really crammed burn-out shifts, that I'll look so forward to my days off that I'll dread it when I have to work again. I'm going into this for the love of it, not simply to work.

I do not want to be so tired when I am working that I'm miserable. I guess I'll figure out how to sleep and when when the time comes.

I have some ride time scheduled for two weeks from now. I'll see how each person handles their shift work since I've already become acquainted with some of them through regional training and working at the ski area. This service that I am interested in transports for us.

Thanks for the replies. :)

Short Bus
01-16-2008, 21:02
If you are like me, you will learn to take naps. I can fall asleep at the base super fast. Some days, they are what gets you through. Also, if you are coming back from a long transfer, you can always crash on the stretcher :yawn: