When the Cake is Gone: Night Shift Crumbs During Nurses WeekOnce upon a time, I use to work the units in various hospitals, different cities and traveled nationally as a nurse. To celebrate National Nurses Week, nurse managers would sometimes be thoughtful enough to provide food and a sheet cake in the break room to nursing staff. For day shift this was thoughtful, appreciated and enjoyed multiple times throughout the course of a 12-hour shift.

How could such a thoughtful gesture by a manager have just the opposite effect on night shift?

I have had the rewarding experience of working both days and nights for many years. I’ve been fortunate to observe the perspectives from both sides. I can tell you that hard-working night shift nurses coming in to work during National Nurses Week to observe left over, stale donuts, partially eaten cookies, a few pieces left of a sheet cake that had been large enough to feed a small army and empty boxes of all the goodies they did not get to partake of, is no way to show night shift that you appreciate them.

Never once, in all my years of working nights, did a single manager arrange to have a new spread of food, a new sheet cake brought in and the break room set up in appreciation for us. All we ever saw were crumbs in a wrecked lounge, leaving a poor taste in the mouths of those who work so hard to give their all to your hospital, your unit.

It’s like accidentally discovering a party that we weren’t invited to. It only serves to set day and night shift in opposition of each other, yet again, and this time over a celebration we’re both entitled to share.

Night shift works every bit as hard as day shift and they deserve to be properly recognized as hard working professionals during National Nurses Week.

This is not meant to blame day shift for partaking and enjoying what has been supplied to them by the manager. Of course they should enjoy it! But I hope that as the celebration to recognize and honor nurses continues, managers will make a concerted effort to recognize the staff that they rarely see, which perhaps makes them easier to forget.

I’m sure it’s just an oversight on the part of the manager, but one that can easily be corrected to leave night shift staff feeling proud of their efforts and grateful to be recognized by their superiors. This is an excellent opportunity for charge nurses or team leaders to bring this information to the attention of the nurse manager and change this insensitive tradition of inadvertently leaving night shift out of an honor and celebration they deserve.