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This is a discussion on Can't decide: Best shift for a new nurse? in First Year After Nursing Licensure, part of Nursing Career Advice ... I've recently graduated from nursing school as an RN. Aside from the NCLEX-RN, I'm out and looking...by Brekka Jun 12, '12I've recently graduated from nursing school as an RN. Aside from the NCLEX-RN, I'm out and looking for jobs. Unfortunately my options are limited due to the large number of local nursing graduates, certain locations that handed out scholarships must give their scholarship graduates priority so there's not a whole lot left. I know I could try non-local jobs, but for my first year or so out of the starting gate I'd rather try and remain near home.
Anyway, one location that has openings is the location I precepted at, a LTC facility. They even continually asked if I planned on sticking around after preceptorship, and I'm fairly certain they wanted badly to hire me. I'm one of the few that wants to work in LTC as a nurse, so it's not all bad. My dilemma is the shift, which is why I'm after experienced opinions.
The facility gives a basic two week orientation before you're expected to work on your own. The day shift responsibilities cover all aspects patient care of up to 25 residents, and throughout preceptorship I worked 13-14 hour days with 20 minutes for lunch tops and still rarely got everything done that needed to be done. I hate the day shift and actually find myself a natural night owl, but the nursing coverage during the day includes up to 8 experienced nurses that are available for helping me and answering any questions as a new nurse. Spending a month in preceptorship I came to the realization that what I learned to do through nursing school was only the tip of the iceberg, and there was so much more out there that I'd never done or heard of, hence a lot more questions.
Now the night shift has increased expectations, you are responsible for all aspects of patient care of up to 50 residents, granted most of the resident care is done during the daytime. Instead of one single hall with 25 people, you take an entire side of the building with two CNA's. Now the shift is easier for me as it is a night shift, not to mention the night time differential pay, less family/administration/doctors to deal with, most residents sleep through the night, etc. A huge downside for me is the fact that along with an added 25 residents to care for, there is also a huge loss in support. There is another experienced nurse in the building, however they are also responsible for their own 50 residents.
The way I see this, it will be trial by fire regardless of which shift I take. Which shift would likely benefit me the most: the autonomy and independence of slower night shift, or the hectic day shift with a lot of staff? Thank you in advance for taking the time to share your input.
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- Jun 15, '12 by shygurlRN2BEI am not a nurse yet but , a doctor once told me " the more you learn the more valuable you are , and the more a company will need you. So learn all you can " at first it will be difficult but once you get the hang of it im sure you will be glad you took the challenge. It is a personal choice though do you prefer to be busy or calm and steady
- Jun 16, '12 by not.done.yetI think in this kind of a scenario the shift that works best with your natural biological rhythms is going to free up your mind for optimal learning. Honestly neither of those sound like safe ratios and both sound like a massive learning curve. If you have been there, worked your preceptorship and can see yourself surviving, then take the shift that will optimize your ability to rest and refresh your mind and body. For some that is day shift. For others that is nights.
- Jun 16, '12 by PneumothoraxI'd say days for learning bc of the resources, however being a night owl & not being able to get out of bed before 9a I'd say nights.
Realistically you should also go on nights because that's when you function the best. Maybe they can have an RN with you during orientation or the month to help you. I think that would be a good outcome for everyone
- Jun 16, '12 by turnforthenurseRNI agree with not.done.yet. Some people just cannot do nights for whatever reason...others cannot do days. I am a night owl, but I will admit the first couple of night shifts were rough because I wasn't used to those hours. After I got past those couple of shifts, nights became really easy for me. I have been an RN for a year and I am still on nights and I love it. I personally felt more comfortable going on nights as a new grad. It's busy but it's a different kind of busy. It's good for getting your time management skills down pat.
- Jun 16, '12 by bayareastudent0711If possible, ask to be on days for a bit because of the extra resources, and ask if you can switch to nights later on. You will learn so much more, and move quick. Which will help enable you to care for double amt of patients. As a new grad, you should take the opportunity to learn as much as you can.
If you feel you don't need the support, then go straight to NOC. But remember as new grads we usually don't start out with what we want. You got 1/2. You got a job fresh out of school close to home. some new grads don't even have jobs.
I oriented on all shifts, NOC taught me how to chart, and how a system is good, but when I was the only RN in the building I was hanging IV atb and sticking IVs- and boy as a new grad sticking IVs with no support is nerve wracking.
If you're confident in your ASSESSMENT and CRITICAL THINKING and SKILLS, then go for NOCS. If you need more support, go on days. But also, on NOC if you're not sure.. just go ahead and call the 911 and send the patient out.
Best of luck to you!!