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Blog Feature

By: Jocelyn Zakri on February 4th, 2016

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Day Staff or Night Staff in The Sleep Center? We’re All Sleep Nerds

Events | Sleep Technologist Advice


How to integrate your night and day staff to create a cohesive team that works well together day or night

Night staff and day staff in a sleep center have a unique relationship in the realm of healthcare.  For some healthcare professionals, it’s a bit of a torch passing situation during shift changes.  However we know working in a sleep center is different.  Many times the two shifts do not intermingle at all and when they do the interaction is brief, because the night technologist has had enough of the control room and rightly so.  A true symbiotic relationship exists between the shifts in a sleep center; helpful to each other, sometimes not so helpful, but each in need of the other to run a successful sleep center.  There are times when the relationship can get sticky so it’s important to remind oneself of how to keep things in good working order between both shifts.

Let’s begin with clear, concise communication.

The communication book is probably my favorite tool.  It’s old school so some sleep centers may not even use one anymore.

Often written cryptically, the notations from night technologists look something like this, “Sensor broken and not working.”  Or “Out of this (arrow pointing to an empty Ten20 tube) order more please.”  And sometimes the message isn’t even legible which adds another layer of mystery.  To make everyone’s job easier it’s best to write clearly and explain how item x is broken.  Is it damaged?  Blinking?  On strike for the night?  When the day staff has to call for repair or test the item it helps to know and details will result in a quicker resolution.  The faster it can be remedied, the faster the night staff will have properly working equipment.

Mutual respect.

There’s a rumor in many sleep centers that goes something like this: A night technologist training on days returns to the night shift proclaiming that day staff has an easy gig.  There are no grumpy patients refusing to put on pajamas (even though that was clearly instructed upon scheduling), there are no call bells going off for needed bathroom breaks and there is nothing to clean, wipe or soak.  The day staff has it made!  There’s also a rumor that goes like this: A day technologist has to work a night and returns to days proclaiming that the night staff has it made in the shade. There are no phones ringing, there are no impromptu meetings, interruptions or spontaneous management appearances.  And they have snacks.  Good snacks.  The night staff has it made!  Wait…what?

Each shift has its advantages, but in the end neither is “easy”.  For every cranky patient dealt with on nights, there’s an equally cranky person on days (trust me on this one).  Respect that notion and the team morale will always remain in proper balance.

And maybe share some of those snacks.  That wouldn’t hurt either.

Sleep technologists, how do you make sure that your day and night staff are working well together?

To read more of Jocelyn's articles click here.

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