I would have to say half of the time is charting/documenting in the computer. Ugh, it takes up so much time, but will come in handy to protect your butt. Shift starts off with a 30 min report. Claim med cart, briefly look at your patients. I prefer to check the charts in the beginning of the shift, just in case the dayshift nurse missed something or made a mistake. I don't know how many times I've come on shift, to find a Now order that was ordered 3 hours prior. Check the lab work, x-ray, etc for results, because one of the worst things to happen, is a patient or family member ask you a question, and you don't know. Check the scheduled medications and vital signs. Fully assess your patients. All this could take 2 hours, it depends. If you start your shift with a discharge and/or admission, that can push you back 3-4 hours, depending on how difficulty the discharge/admission is. Med pass can take between 1-2 hours. Once you give meds, start blood transfusions, do dressing and wound vac changes, insert a foley catheter or NGT, start IVs, you may be able to finally chart by midnight. (night shift perspective) Then you have PRN pain or BP meds to give and the reassessment of those. Not to mention the many MD calls you need to make, or back and forth with pharmacy.
Dayshift kills me when they claim nightshift is easy because all the patients sleep. That's bs. Yeah, that dementia patient slept throughout the entire day, guess who is going to require a sitter for the night. That Sundowner's patient that is a fall risk, constantly trying to jump out the bed at night. There are less MDs rounding and less family at night, usually. But, they do still come, and there are still issues. Even if it is a slow night, we are the ones that have to pick up the slack from the previous shift.
I could go on and on. Anywho, bottom line, it depends on the assignment/acuity level and organizational skills.