I like the night shift job, though. It's definitely hard work, very physical, but by being there at night I can avoid any contact with management (often a plus at Assisted Living facilities where there's usually a conflict between nursing staff who want good care for residents and corporate management who want to cut costs). Also, I'm much more able to manage my own time - most of the residents are sleeping so while I must answer any call lights promptly, the rest of the timing is up to me.
During night shift, my work falls into 3 main categories:
1. Toileting and changing people, which is physically difficult and the hardest part of my job.
2. Cleaning and doing laundry, which I actually like doing.
3. Keeping an eye on the wanderers and trying to re-orient them and put them back to bed if possible (this is the dementia facility, remember?), which is the funniest part of my job by far.
The dementia facility is divided into two wings, each with 3 halls in them, and 8 rooms per hall. Some rooms are doubles, some are singles, and the whole facility isn't full right now. On night shift, each wing has one aide (me and this douchey guy that I'm so glad I don't have to actually see during work) and then there's a med tech there to give pain pills if needed, and cover our breaks, and clean the main areas of the building.
That means I'm responsible for about 30 residents during my shift, which sounds like a lot but in general is doable.
I arrive at 10pm and do quick rounds with evening staff, so that they can update me on all the residents, and if they didn't do their jobs, I have the chance to bully them into doing it before they can go home. More on that part later.
After they go, I read the shift reports, sign any care plan updates, and start my own rounds, changing and toileting everyone who needs it. This can take anywhere from 45 minutes to about 2 hours, depending on what state they're all in. Trying to change a fully grown person's diaper in bed when they are stiff and/or resisting isn't easy, and most of the residents have pull-up type briefs instead of side-tab, so there's a lot of rolling side-to-side involved. And frequently changing the waterproof pads underneath them. And occasionally, a full bedding change. Sheesh.
I do 3 rounds per shift, typically at 10:30pm, 2am, and 5am. In between rounds I do the laundry (sheets, towels, resident clothes), mop the dining room, fold the dining room linens and bibs, and answer call bells. It's enough to keep me pretty busy. If there's a really calm night, I may have the chance to sit and read for 15 minutes here and there, but mainly I'm up and moving the whole time. Which is good for keeping me awake all night long!
Ironically, as soon as I'd accepted the job at the dementia facility, the skilled nursing facility I've wanted to work at for MONTHS called me for an interview! I'm still not certified, or even in the course to get certified, but they have one wing I'm qualified for. So I go interview there tomorrow, and if they offer me the job I'll come up with a pro/con list between the skilled facility and the dementia facility to help me decide. I'll feel kind of stupid if I end up only working at the dementia one for 3 weeks, but like I've said before, there's massive turnover in this field so it's not like nurse managers are unused to it.
Wish me luck at my interview tomorrow!