Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Lunar Effect

One of my least liked tasks at work is trying to roster about forty staff to additional shifts on weekends and at night, and then pay them back with rostered days off. I've just done the next three months and within seconds of putting it up on the roster board the hoards descended on my carefully constructed roster.

Anguished groans, cries of despair, even swearing greeted me as I braved the masses. How could I have committed such a heinous crime - rostering staff to work the night of our hospital ball? It's OK, I said, just swap out. The phones ran hot as staff jostled for position on the roster. Despite the fact its a "swap" system, at the end of the stampede some shifts were mysteriously vacant.

No worries, I thought, I can just slot in and fill the gaps. And then I started copying the dates into my diary.

Oh no! Every empty shift was the night of the full moon!

Anyone who's working in a hospital has heard of the Lunar Effect - an increase in lunatic behaviour on the night of a full moon. And when you run a phone service for the general public (as we do), you can pick a full moon evening without ever looking at the sky or a calendar. Some police stations roster extra staff on the night of a full moon. Not us, we just make do with normal staffing. But does the lunar effect really exist?

There's been heaps of research, but the scientific evidence says no. There's been a multitude of theories to explain it - electrical energy, effects on waves and water, effects on brain functioning. I've got a much simpler theory. It's much lighter overnight on full moon - harder to get to sleep, easier to stay out late, better visibility to get into strife in the middle of the night. As evidenced by the large number of people we see every full moon.

What's your experience of the Lunar Effect? And how do you explain it?

1 comment:

Eleni Konstantine said...

Fascinating Fi. And yep, the full moon tends to bring people out & people who want to talk to you even if they don't know you & continue talking to you even when you are on your way to something else or talking to someone else.... I don't know what it is because it happens even when the night is cloudy...

Hope the empty shifts are covered & not only by you. :)

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