Best shift for a new CNA?

Nursing Students CNA/MA


Hi all! By reading several threads it sounds like just about every shift is very busy. Is there any advice as to what shift is the most favorable one for a brand new CNA? I know there's going to be a learning curve, just as there is with any new job. I'm ready to dive right in, but if there's a shift that is better to "ease into", I'd really like to know which one it is. Thank you for any advice!! :D

Specializes in PACU, LTC, Med-Surg, Telemetry, Psych.

LTC/Hospital: Overnight shift. No big brass around, not as many families, more downtime (usually), more relaxed co-workers and atmosphere.

Psych unit: Daytime. Everyone is in group meetings. Once you get everyone out of bed, it is all guard duty and 15 minute behavior monitoring sheets.

Specializes in LTC.

I started out on 2nd shift as a CNA. I loved that shift so much! You come in and don't have to hit the floor running, you can spend a little time w/your residents: passing ice, etc. then you get everyone up and changed/toileted, dinner, then lay em all down. The shift picks up around 4 (at least where I worked). I've worked nocs and IMO isn't the best for a newbie, cause you have a skeleton crew and if an emergency happens it can get scary! Days isn't the best either, cause you hit the floor running and also where I work the day shift ladies had been there forever and things can get a little dramatic!

As a nurse I work days now (in the same facility, I've worked there 6 years). I work days and LOVE it! I get to go home at 2 and have the rest of the evening w/my family. Administration is there most of my day (this is a bonus for me, if I have ?? or what ever). However I have to say I miss my evening crew and would go back there if given the chance (as a nurse)/

I would say day shift is by far the hardest, followed by nights, and afternoons or 2nd shift a distant third, which means 2nd shift would be the best for a newbie. Some places might have fewer CNAs working 2nd shift, so theyd have more people to take care of, compensating for the fact its just an easier shift, this is not the case where I work.

There has been some tension between days and afternoons where I work, as the 2nd shift has time to kill when they first start, so they go over the place with a fine tooth comb and report every little thing they find that isnt right. I'm not sure if this is done to make themselves look good, or because they have it out for some people on days, but its starting to get old. Management where I work is apparently oblivious to the fact days has to do twice as much work in the same amount of time as afternoons and simply doesnt have the time to make everything perfect, especially at the end of our shift when were scrambling to get everyone toileted, cleaned up and im bed before doing our charting.

Sorry I couldnt resist the opportunity to vent, but this might be useful info to you.

Specializes in LTC.

^ I can relate to that. I started off on 2nd shift and I know exactly what it's like. There is plenty of downtime at the end of shift to get things in order; however, I'm constantly finding messes from the night before. It never bothered me until they started complaining about every little thing 1st shift does or doesn't do. When I was on 2nds and someone *gasp* left a brief in the trash, I just took it with me when I emptied my own trash. OMG! What a huge inconvenience! Sheesh.

Where I work, 2nd shift is actually the hardest shift. It's a children's home, so most of the kids go out to school or workshop, so once days gets them up, by 9 a.m. at the latest, they only have 3 residents each for the rest of the day. Days also has 2 showers each per day, while 2nd shift has 6 showers each per day. I've also never worked 2nds someplace where you have downtime at the end of your shift - we always finish bathing and laying them down just in time to do our bedcheck and go home. So, as you can tell, every facility is different.

However, I do think 2nds is best for a new aide. There's less management around so you can learn in a less stressful atmosphere.

Specializes in Geriatric.

You know, I think alot of it depends on the facility and it's routines. 1st shift seems like it's pretty maddening everywhere.... You've got two meals to get people to and from. Squeezing in showers and other things makes the pace pretty frantic. I really enjoyed 2nd shift, but it can be impractical hours - especially for people who have kids. Third shift at my facility is no piece of cake. They go from 12 CNA's during the day down to just four. I can't imagine having a round of, like, over 30 people. Also, alot of odds and ends tasks get put on third shift - cleaning wheelchairs/shower rooms, etc... I don't know how they get it all done. On the other hand, I don't know how I get everything done on first shift either.

After all that rambling, I will suggest 2nd shift.

Specializes in LTC.

Why do all these third shift people have to clean wheelchairs? Our housekeepers are supposed to do that. Same with laundry and cleaning the dining room, etc. All we have to do is fold washcloths stock linen carts for the next shift. It seems like mixing all these duties could be an infection control issue.

3rd shift doesn't stock the carts because there's no linen for them to do it with (which doesn't stop a certain coworker of mine from making comments :banghead: ) so laundry does it. And we used to have to wash leftover dishes on 3-11 after the kitchen staff left, but that state put an end to that.

Why do all these third shift people have to clean wheelchairs? Our housekeepers are supposed to do that. Same with laundry and cleaning the dining room, etc. All we have to do is fold washcloths stock linen carts for the next shift. It seems like mixing all these duties could be an infection control issue.


I agree with that, but I've had to clean chairs everyplace I've worked. At a former workplace, we had to clean the fridge and oven, run the dishwasher, feed the fish and birds, and clean the litter box. And yes, they had housekeepers.

I've always kind of disliked that we aides have to do things like take out trash and put away laundry...just seems like that's the sort of stuff housekeeping and laundry should be doing.

This fourm has help me when it is time for me to choose a shift. Good job

Specializes in Nursing Assistant.

I appreciate all the feedback! It was an overwhelming vote for 2nd shift. I ended up getting hired for my first CNA job for 2nd shift. I'm VERY excited!!! Thanks again for taking the time to reply......all those answers really helped me as well as others. :yeah:

I also say 2nd shift is best.

It's horrible; it ruins your sleep pattern and makes you lazy (or at least it did that to me- I couldn't go to bed at night, couldn't get up for classes, couldn't get motivated to do anything before work), but some people like it. It's the easiest shift to learn on because it's not as busy as 1st shift but it's not like nights where all you do is change people. I'm on 1st now but I'm glad I started on second shift because of the crappier staffing and the downtime at the end- both of those things allow you to work on your time management.

2nd shift made me gain weight !! I ended up eating 4 meals a usual breakfast, lunch, then a meal break at work....then I'd come home by 11 pm and my husband will have made me a nice dinner. My body clock doesn't really want me to eat much after 9 pm or I'll start packing on the pounds. Maybe because I'm 40-something. :lol2: Perhaps the younger crowd doesn't have this problem !!! :eek:

I was wondering the same thing. I want to get into a hospital or nursing facility. I work in home health care right now. My hours are flexible. Like, It's only Monday, and I finished half my patients today. I work Tuesday and Friday then that's it for the week. haha But, I would like another job to keep me busy.

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