As a practicing EP who, like most of us, prefers to work as few nights as possible, I read with interest Gina Shaw's article on night shifts in the latest issue. (Special Report: “Surviving the Struggle: Nights in the ED,” EMN 2016;38:14; http://emn.online/Apr16SR.)
I thought the casino shift model sounded quite promising, though the example of the schedule at the chemical plant in Germany sounded truly exhausting. Even with an extra day off in between, switching back and forth every shift between days and nights sounds truly torturous!
I would like to give an emphatic recommendation not to wear dark sunglasses while driving home in the morning after a night shift. As in Ms. Shaw's article, I was advised to do this early on in my residency during one of our wellness lectures. Unfortunately, the first time I tried it, I fell asleep while driving home and totaled my car. Luckily, I had only just entered an intersection from a stop and ended up colliding with a traffic signal at a relatively low speed. Thank God I didn't hit anyone, and I wasn't injured. It could have been much, much worse. I never wore sunglasses while driving home from a night shift again, and since then I've never fallen asleep while driving home from a night shift, either.
I understand the rationale for wearing sunglasses (avoiding those wake-up messages from sunlight), but not dying and not killing anyone are higher priority goals, I think. I strongly advocate removing the “wear sunglasses on the way home” advice from all future articles and expert recommendations on shift worker wellness.
Moses Graubard, MD