Congratulations - in advance - for your up and coming graduation in December.
It goes without saying that no one can make this decision for you, but maybe we can shed some light on important things to consider based on our own experiences. And you are being wise in asking.
Probably the most crucial time period for any new grad is that first year of practice. You come out of school with a heavy theoretical foundation, from which you are going to build on from now on. You're going to take all that theory, and see how it applies in the real world of your work environment.
The first year out of the gate is a major adustment period on all fronts: honing clinical skills, absorbing an unending volume of new information which is in constant flux, adapting to the pace of your setting, forging alliances with new peers and colleagues, defining your best resources, claifying your strengths and identifying areas you need to work on, learning to prioritize, building self-confidence, sharpening critical thinking skills, making judgment calls, - just for starters.
A six week preceptorship, in my mind, is definitely not adequate time for a new grad to be expected to function comfortably in the more isolated setting of a night shift.
You would be doing yourself a huge favor to spend a minimum of a year concentrating on all of the above mentioned in a more supported environment.
Of course I don't know you personally, and you may be the exceptional person who can jump right in and get a handle on the "war zone" right away. If so - terrific!
Hospitals are under enormous pressue to fill the difficult "holes" in their staffing - which is the night shift - and they will tell you just about anything to get you to consent. That's just the stark truth. No matter how attractive they make it seem, your priority right now is your own need to adjust to this real world of Nursing. Can you do that in six weeks?
Ask yourself these questions:
1. Can I make the bio-rhythm adustment?
2. How many other Licensed Staff will there be?
3. Who, and/or what will be my primary resource for seeking information, and answering my questions?
4. Will I be in Charge if we are short-staffed?
5. What will my patient load be?
6. Is there a Unit Secretary on duty those hours?
7. Is night shift the shift I want?
8. Will my peers on that shift be supportive of me as a new grad?
9. Will they have, or even take, the time to teach me?
The risk is that you won't know the answers to many of these questions until you actually get there, if you do.
You don't mention any other options that might have been presented to you by your prospective employer, or whether the area in which you live has a variety of choices where you might work, but just be careful to not "jump" at the first thing that comes along on the basis that "it's what I'm most interested in."
It's what you "want", but maybe not what you "need" so immediately.
Just my thoughts Mia.......I'm certainly not telling you what you should do.
A very wise person once said: "To thine own self be true."
It applies to the choices we make for ourselves in our professional growth as well.
Good luck, welcome aboard, and keep us posted!
Bonnie Creighton, RN