Why do you work night shift?

  1. 0
    I just started working Monday through Friday as the 11-7 supervisor in my 120 bed LTC/sub-acute rehab facility. I know this isn't true for hospitals, but *most* of our residents sleep through the night. The most resident/nurse interaction is during the smaller 12MN and 6a med passes. There's work to be done, like chart checks and notes, and things always do happen, like a change in mental status or a fall, but there is a good amount of "down-time". Everyone keeps telling me "Oh you'll be thankful for this position when you're back in school," (I'm going back to finish my MSN in the spring.) but I can't help feeling a little guilty. Obviously I'm finding things for myself to do, like re-working the supervisor's book, thinking about policy tweaks, frequent rounding, and helping the nursing assistants PRN, but what do you do when you're not passing meds, doing treatments or charting? I started off as a new grad, working 7p-7a in psych and we had 2-3 nurses on the floor at night, because we always got so many admissions overnight and that definitely kept us busy. Also, psych patients never sleep at night, lol.

    I work with people who said they worked nights for 20+ years, but it's usually followed up by, "Yeah it was really great because I was able to make time for my kid's soccer games, dance recitals, etc," but I don't have kids yet.

    I do love having my days free and spending time with DH (he's an "off shift" worker too). I like having time to go to my yoga classes during the day and sleeping in the morning and afternoon has never been a problem for me. I would never go back to working 12's (7p-7a), but I really do like working 11-7.

    Why do you work night shift? Is it because you like the hours, you like the work, you like spending your "off" time with your kids, or is it something else?

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  3. 16 Comments...

  4. 3
    The calamity is unparalleled to days . No doctors, no case managers, no unit managers, no family members, no ancillary staff. It's mostly very calm also because less meds to pass out compared to days.
    prnqday, pinkiepieRN, and KelRN215 like this.
  5. 1
    I worked nights for a while, it was so I had flexibility to be at all my older sons games and be there for my younger son's appointments, and was available for the school at all times. My youngest is special needs, I didn't like working overnights though as I didn't get much sleep so I found a M-F 7-3 position. I'm no longer available for the school or appts but my Husband is and it works. I am now with my kids and hubby every weekend which is nice! I work with people who love nights, if it works for you great. I agree the daytime freedom was nice but it just wasn't for me...
    pinkiepieRN likes this.
  6. 3
    I work nights because I can't stand dayshift.

    To me, night shift is more patient and team focused. Still a lot of family (ICU) but I have never minded that. Less people around to bug you about whiteboards and the endless checklists...
    nrsang97, poppycat, and pinkiepieRN like this.
  7. 3
    I don't work nights anymore but if I were to ever go back to the hospital (which I have no intentions of doing), it would only be for nights. Nights are simply more tolerable and big brother isn't around to yell at you about everything.
    nrsang97, poppycat, and pinkiepieRN like this.
  8. 8
    I work nights because:
    - I get paid a lot more (17% differential)
    - better teamwork
    -same acuity, fewer extraneous people to work around
    - I'm wired for night work

    But most importantly - it's my ticket into the Cool Kids' Club!
    nrsang97, prnqday, cardiacfreak, and 5 others like this.
  9. 2
    I'm just now heading into nights next week. I want to work nights in order to sleep while my kids are at school
    And wake to help with homework and after school
    Activities and be available for appts and every thing in between. Plus I'm wired to work nights!
    My body protests 5 am every single day!
    nrsang97 and pinkiepieRN like this.
  10. 2
    I'm moody and easily violated in the mornings and have more energy at night.

    Night shifts are not always as easy as some people think and in one place, we did not even have time for our breaks.
    nrsang97 and pinkiepieRN like this.
  11. 1
    I love nights. There is more of a team player mentality and most of my night co-workers have better attitudes than the day shifters; and it seems like all hell breaks loose at 0630 (lights, alarms, chatter, wheels, heels, and a little bit of crazy). On nights, I have time to research my patient's history, study their labs and vitals trends, and help my co-workers.

    I believe each shift has its own different set of dynamics that not only serve to benefit the patient, but to set up for the next shift, or setting the tone.
    pinkiepieRN likes this.
  12. 0
    I worked days and nights on the same unit. The teamwork was very good on both shifts. I believe this is a function of unit leadership, not something special about one shift or another.

    I worked nights because I was a new nurse out of a critical care internship and my unit manager wanted me to learn as much as possible without all the diversions which occur during day shift. That was a great thing for me.

    Eventually I had to switch to days because my body was clearly wired for it. Just couldn't handle the night shift. I'd get lightheaded and nauseated every morning at around 2 am, and I was a dangerous driver on the way home.

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