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Day nurses who switched from nights, is it better?


Has 1 years experience.

Hey all, merry soon coming holidays, hope you are working hard for present monies :) I have been working as night nurse since my graduation yr and half ago and I must say life hasn't been all that great. I have been hating my job, apathetic at work and patients, always tired, barely have a social life, insomnia has worsened with night shift, irritated/angry at my situation, stressed, under pressure, no energy to workout, and so on.

I really want to improve my situation, and I was wondering if switching to day shift ever provided somewhat of an improvement for anyone. I will have better sleeping schedule, regular human lifestyle, more energy, less tired, hopefully less angry, better social life, much better staffing, and so on. Of course there are downsides, and the biggest one would be not getting extra $4/hr night diffs, but if my life can significantly improve and give me a chance for happier life, decrease in money is only an expandable luxury.

So for those who made the switch from nights to day shift, have you noticed any big change for the better? Thanks!


I worked night shift for about 6 months before I got the opportunity to move to days. I moved to days because of the physical reasons you mentioned. It all boiled down to having to listen to my body.

The night shift culture is a lot different than that of days.

There are several positives that I found about days, however--1) the flow on days is a LOT busier than on nights, and I like to stay busy. 2) The primary doctors are in the building, and they round during the day. I feel I have a better understanding of the patient's total picture by talking with them, and that makes me a better nurse. 3) Management is there during days. When I was working nights, I only saw my manager once. 4) The obvious physical implications--I am less tired, have less insomnia, and find it easier to wake up and go to bed. 5) NO SUNDOWNERS! 😉

Best of luck with your decision.

Amanda, RN, BSN

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 14 years experience.

I had a huge physical and mental improvement when I switched from nights to days. Had more energy, thus I was able to sustain a workout regimen that allowed me to lose 30 lbs. Fewer feelings of general malaise, slept better, had more patience with husband and children.

joanna73, BSN, RN

Specializes in geriatrics.

I enjoyed my permanent night rotation. I am now working days, not by choice, it's required for my role. I have held many day jobs and no matter what they were, I've always felt worse on days.

Some people don't adjust well to nights, and some don't adjust to days. It varies.

Blue_Moon, BSN, RN

Has 18 years experience.

Yes! I tried nights and just couldn't handle them at all! I always felt like a zombie who had the flu. I would literally get lost on the way to work and fall asleep at stop lights on the way home because I was so tired! I was miserable because I felt so bad! I just could not get used to them so I switched. It helped so much. We were so much busier on days but I could handle it because I wasn't exhausted. However, after switching if you still aren't happy then change floors!

firstinfamily, RN

Has 33 years experience.

I have worked both shifts. I like nights because I seem to actually spend more time with the patients, I learn how to prioritize better and feel confident in calling the MD when I need things. Day shift was better for my sleep pattern, and normal family life. But, I didn't like the pace and the busy part of the shift. It just seemed there was too much going on for the patients. I didn't feel like I had as much control over situations as I do on nights. It does help now because my adult children are not needy, and I can sleep during the day without too much difficulty. Good Luck!!


Has 1 years experience.

So for those who made the switch from nights to day shift, have you noticed any big change for the better? Thanks!
It is worse. Day shift has more work and much less money to be made.


Has 1 years experience.

Thanks everyone for your inputs so far. In fact, I decided to continue doing nights shift but NEVER EVER do 4 nights a week ever again. I have been doing lots of 4/wk lately and those weeks literally kill me, but I can withstand 3/wk. I wouldn't sign up for all weekends either because of weekend diffs since I am going to enjoy my weekends as well. I think balance is utmost importance when doing night shift. I need to enjoy my life enough to withstand work.


Has 10+ years experience.

I recently worked a full time noc position. I hated it! I always felt tired, worn down, and unwell. Not only that I was always irritated and short tempered, my house was in shambles because I couldn't keep up with the laundry and daily chores. And I felt disconnected from my family, things like family movie night went on without me. :-( I took a $3/hr cut in pay to return to "the land of living" and went back to full time days. Initially I was dreading my paycheck with that hefty pay cut but in all actuality my checks have been the same, I've had enough energy that I pick up some extra hours every pay period. I've had no regrets.

Pro: better sleep, more energy, less sick time. cons: way, way more work, more politics, more managers and corporate suits wandering the halls, more families, more doctors and families blaming YOU for the shortcomings of the night shift nurse.

Well, having done both and had good times and bad times with each, I guess I can comment :)

I never hated nights. Actually, being something of a 'night owl', the hours never bothered me, I never hit that 3-4am 'wall' that so many of the staff seemed to run up against. So the nightshift itself was never bad (as a shift, in general). However, for me, it was always an issue to get enough sleep: I always had to plan SO far out if I needed time off for a daytime appointment of some kind, because I couldn't just run out and do it. I had to plan when to sleep, when to get up, how much time I needed to adjust for whatever. And while I was oftentimes available for stuff with the kids, it was NOT without suffering loss of sleep, or feeling like I'd been hit with a brick I was so 'off'!

Now, daytime schedule is absolutely 100% easier in terms of managing a day off for an appointment (just need the day, no finagling about it). It's also easier to get enough sleep (at least in theory, LOL, I still have insomnia and family obligations!!); I don't have to clock in my head how much time I have before having to pull the blinds/blackouts and force some sleep.

Nights is busy. Days is busy. Anyone telling you either shift is busier than the other is speaking about his or her own facility, as it varies greatly. When I worked nights, there was never enough staff, and patients DID NOT SLEEP. They hit call bells constantly, they wanted PRNs constantly, they wanted....EVERYTHING.....and the hour did not matter. We still had a pile of meds and charting and recovering late-in-the-day post-op patients and ED admits (at shift change, naturally) and prepping the surgical patients, so definately busy! Days had more tests and procedures and more visitors and more white coats walking around grabbing charts and generally getting in the way but they also had enough people to cover for a decent lunch break and patients WERE gone for tests and procedures for a bit at a time. So....different paces at different times.

OP, you're going to have to really just figure out what your priority is: if a more normalized sleep/social schedule is worth less money and (perhaps) a busier day, then go with that. If you want more money and don't mind the night scheduling (busy or not), then there's your answer.

Good news is nothing is permanent except death and taxes ;)

Good luck!

NickiLaughs, ADN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Trauma, Critical Care. Has 11 years experience.

One thing people do wrong is they dont take sleep seriously during the day. You have to block out your windows, run a fan or some other white noise. Everyone else is up but you must sleep. Everytime I talk to a nurse who hates nights its little things like this that can make a huge impact. Also you must have a family that lets you sleep when you need to. If im coming off night shift and have a stretch of shifts off, the following is how Id sleep. I sleep for about 4 hours until 1230 or 1pm and am tired all day, but can get by. Then I sleep normal hours that night but not until 11 pm or else ill wake up at 4am. You do kind of have to play around and see what works for you.

Personally though, I switched to days for quality of life with my son. I prefer to be super busy so the day shift is better for me.

As weird as it sounds, I am almost glad to hear someone else questioning this. I've only been working nights for about four months now, but it's really starting to get to me. I feel like I never get to see, or even talk, to anyone I really care about anymore because they're usually sleeping when I'm wide awake. Plus, it's started to feel like I never get an actual day off since I don't leave work until about 8 am on the day I'm off. It also doesn't help that I am required to work every other weekend, which I actually really liked initially but now has limited my social life to practically nothing. Yes, I know it sounds petty but I do miss being able to see my friends or get away for a couple days without thinking that "couple days" is really just one night.

Right now I'm trying to decide if I can tough it out eight more months and look for opportunities elsewhere or if I need to make the jump sooner. I really love one of the units I work on and probably wouldn't consider leaving at all if there was a chance of switching to days, but that isn't an option.

Does anyone know if rotating shifts work better? I would consider that, especially since I do love some of the quality time I get to spend with patients at night, but I've never known someone who did that consistently. Where I work, those who rotate are required to work something like 5 nights per four week schedule, but I know other places do it on a three week rotation (three weeks on days then three on nights). From what people who I work with have told me, the 5 nights is brutal since they usually can't do them all in a row but I am curious if a longer rotation is nicer.

I honestly would appreciate any advice people have about this!


Specializes in ER/SICU/House Float.

Pro: better sleep, more energy, less sick time. cons: way, way more work, more politics, more managers and corporate suits wandering the halls, more families, more doctors and families blaming YOU for the shortcomings of the night shift nurse.

I've worked evening - nights for about 18 of my 22 years. I've a night owl and just feel full of energy. I'm also very independent and do not like the whole day shift culture. There are just to many people. There are actual doctors that prefer evening rounds because funny enough they don't like all the loud busy day mess. I've also had many nights of MD in the ICU with me. Which I don't' mind at all but I've never had to put up with administration and joint commission which is a winner

The bolded part goes both ways hate to tell you. I've spent the first 4 hours of my 12 hour shift finishing day shift crap or fixing day shift crap. Then the patients are all about I've been asking for such and such for hours. There are tons of orders that haven't been check off or initiated The statement was inflammatory IMO. I really hate how nurse are demeaning of other nurse usually by hey ICU better than floor or day shift nurses are better than nights. It really tells me why as a profession we are still treated like school children when it comes to pay and respect by the powers to be.

I didn't hate my 4 years of day shift but honestly my favorite shift is 3p to 3A