NIght shifts

Hi, I returned to work as a theatre nurse in June after having a mastectomy followed by breast reconstruction in June 2014. Does anybody know if I am now exempt from doing on calls and nights?


Talk to your manager and HR. I have had BC 3 times and had double mastectomy and reconstruction last Sept. I no longer do nights. I work in a Mental Health Crisis Team. They may be willing to omit nights as reasonable adjustments!

Hello,  I work in the theatre recovery room and I’m afraid I’m not exempt from nights.  I tried to argue my case against working nights - that was about 7yrs ago, and the Royal College of Nursing website was featuring a Swedish report at that time, purported to show a link between breast cancer and working nights. 


However, that report now seems to have been shown to have flaws in it, and as there’s no proven link between breast cancer and night shift patterns, then I’ve always had to work nights.


I’ve had two different breast cancer primaries, one in 2001 and the second in 2010 - my treatment has left me with localised nerve damage to my mastectomy site,  and damage to my pec muscle.  I have a moving and handling assessment, and my Boss is good, but the assessment is not worth the paper it’s written on to be honest.  They know I find it painful to handle a particular small piece of equipment, because of how I need to hold it, but they still rota me to place it in storage after use, and it’s largely up to me to negotiate swapping to a different duty. 


If I were to damage this equipment, I would be in trouble for handling it, when my moving and handling assessment states to work within my capabilities, but no-one takes responsibility for just giving that task to someone else, and letting me do something else instead.  It’s up to me to swap the task, and it makes me feel stupid that I can’t do it, and fearful that pain would make me drop the machine.  In all other ways, I’m able to do my job normally.


So, my advice to you is to please talk to your Occupational Health Dept about your concerns/worries about working nights/on call, and anything else that may come up - they’ve been much more supportive of me than my Colleagues, who I know don’t actually mean to be insensitive or hurtful, but that’s how I see it at times, when I’m already embarrassed about not being easily able to do that particular task.


With much love to you!




Hi Doobie,

Have just come across your post, so I may too late to offer advice. I am a biomedical scientist who worked nights as part of a shift pattern for over 20 years. I was required to lone work on night shift, and to be honest, the work load had increased to the point that trying to fit in even one of the two breaks we were supposed to have on a 9.5 hour shift was impossible. I would regularly work till 4 in the morning without even a drink of water. I was permanently stressed while on nights and when I was diagnosed last November I asked my boss if I could be excused night shift because of the possibility that my shift pattern could have contributed to my BC. He agreed initially, then changed his mind and asked that I attend OH to clarify my position. I was pretty upset and went to my GP for advice. She said that she wasn’t qualified to back my claim, but would contact my oncologist to see if he could clarify the situation. He wrote a letter saying, that in his opinion, working night shifts in a varying shift pattern may well be a contributory factor for many different cancers, and so backed my request to be excused from working nights. My boss hasn’t responded to this letter as yet, but I reckon that I’ll no longer be on the night rota,

Not sure if this is of any use to you, but if you feel as I do that the stress of chopping and changing working hours is detrimental to your health, perhaps it’s worth contacting your GP or oncologist for backing?

Wishing you all the best, Ann x x

Oops! Sorry, just realised that you’ve been to see your GP. Hope sense has prevailed and you’re no longer required to work night shifts.

Ann x x