better to work rotating shifts or full time nights?

  1. I am a new grad and am deciding between two jobs (different hospitals). One is 12 hour night shifts (7p - 7a) but no rotating shifts. The other one is 8 hr days/nights/evening rotations.

    I am a person who values good sleep so I would rather work the night shift and working 3 days a week sounds great to me. However, since I am a new grad, I also heard that you don't learn as much since the patients are asleep and that there is also less support.

    Is it true that I wouldn't learn as much working on the night shift? Would it be better to take the job with rotating shifts so I can gain better experience?
    The other alternative would be to look for a full-time days job but I know that would be impossible to find as a new grad. Full-time evenings (3-11) don't work so well for me either as I take classes in the afternoon 3 x a week.

    Thanks in advance for any advice
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    I was always tired when i worked rotating shifts, since i was sleeping at different times in the week.
  4. by   Jolie
    I would strongly recommend working a straight shift if one is available and all other considerations are equal. The human body is not meant to adapt to new waking/sleeping hours every few weeks, and it takes a toll on one's health and quality of life.

    As a new grad, you will learn plenty, regardless of the shift!

    Good luck!
  5. by   bellehill
    Definitely work straight nights. I would never be able to work a rotating shift, I have trouble getting up before noon on my days off! You will learn plenty on nights; the patients don't sleep all night and you have to learn quicker and be more independent because the support staff isnt' there. I love my nights!
  6. by   TooterIA
    I have worked both second shift and night shift in the past and although I may not get many oppurtunities to start IVs on nights, I think I have been able to learn able to learn the same amount of info on each shift. As long as you make sure your coworkers know you want all the experience you can get, you will get it. I now work full time nights and I like it. How often do the shift switches happen?
    Jessica
  7. by   babynursewannab
    I'm a new grad in orientation right now. I am also the only new grad in the hosp orienting on nights at this point. This means that I have to accomodate for all of the "classes" and labs we have and come in during the day for those....so every few weeks I am technically rotating. I am a complete mess on those weeks. For half the week I'm days and for half I'm nights. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. It took me 2 weeks to recover from the last stint of rotating.

    I think my advice is apparent here. :chuckle

    -Alyssa
  8. by   Dixielee
    I worked rotating shifts one time in my career and it drove me crazy. I could be scheduled day, evening, and night in the same 7 day week. Now, that is just plain stupid! Set shifts are so much easier on the body and soul.

    12 hour night shifts are not too bad if you can get them all in a row. Splitting them makes it hard to have any kind of life outside of the hospital. Most schedulers will work with you. I have done 6 on and 8 off, but that can be a killer by then 5 shift. I try to work 3 on then 3-4 off and it is a more sane schedule.

    As far as not learning on night shift......hint, hint....sick people do not sleep all night. They continually need monitoring, meds, procedures etc. You will not be bored. If you are working 7p-7a, you will have plenty of time to learn. You will still be getting patients back from PACU, admissions from ER, transfers out of ICU etc. Do not be fooled by the fact that "normal" people sleep at night. All bets are off in the hospital.
    Work with your NM to give you reasonable time to accomodate those classes. Good luck. While day shift may be easier on your body, night shift gives you more opportunity to learn at a decent pace. You don't have management poking their nose where they have no idea what is going on, and the staff in general is more laid back.
  9. by   Blackcat99
    Full-time nights is much better than rotating shifts. There's plenty to do. The patients don't sleep at night especially in LTC. Good luck.
  10. by   barefootlady
    Rotating shifts gets old fast. Like so many others have said, there is plenty to learn and do on night shift. Good luck.
  11. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    And if you rotated shifts, you might spend your days off feeling tired, and not very rested.
  12. by   RN4NICU
    Another vote for straight nights. I would like to see rotating shifts banned altogether.
  13. by   stidget99
    I've done the rotating thing. NEVER AGAIN! Circadian rhythms get totally messed up and one tends to become more irritable, depressed, etc. I've done the noc shift for 3+ years now. And, just in passing, I maintain my noc schedule on my off days as well but I can switch to the day shift prn.

    As far as skills goes. I think that the only skills that you wouldn't get on the noc shift would be things like the whole concept of the multidisciplinary team, less 1:1 interactions w/ the docs, discharges, etc.

    However, when ppl are in the hospital, whether they are A&O x3 or not, they don't sleep well. They still are awake w/ pain, nervousness, etc not to mention routine nursing cares (IV pumps alarming, vital signs, turns, positioning, meds, etc) . Rare is the time that I have a pt who says "Ok, I am going to sleep now and I don't expect to wake up all noc". When pts are sleeping, IVs get pulled out or infiltrate, dyspnea occurs......pretty much, anything that happens on days happens on the noc shift. Let's not forget to mention the paperwork. It's all the same on nocs. We still have to sign off on orders, transcribe orders, and lets not forget about those 24 hour chart checks! We also consult the docs frequently on the noc shift. It is beyond my comprehension why they don't write prn orders for OTC meds/treatments. And then they have the nerve to get upset w/ us for waking them at 0300 for a tylenol order????? Ok, so I digress.

    IMO, doing straight shifts is better on your body, mind, and soul.
  14. by   Mommy2Katiebaby
    Not to mention that people on rotating shifts tend to EAT to make up for the sleep they're losing, and not be able to exercise because they're so darn tired. I gained like sixty pounds! Lost it all now, though...

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