Day shift or night shift

Nurses General Nursing


Hi ,

I will be graduating in May and received two job offers. One at a level one trauma hospital as night shift trauma/surgical resident at a magnet accredited hospital. The other at as a day shift Neurology/Pulmonary nurse resident at a hospital that should be gaining magnet status by June. Both jobs offer the same pay and 12 month residency. The trauma PCU offers a bonus (doesn't say how much) after 6 months. 

I've always been interested in psychiatric nursing but I did not get offered that unit. I'm also getting married next March so this is also what's conflicting me. I don't necessarily have a preference since I have no experience in either but I do realize trauma can be an excellent experience and sounds very interesting , just not sure how a new marriage and life will be affected.

If you had a dream unit on nights vs. day shift med surg in my position how would you make the decision ?

Days! (Unless your future husband works nights)

You'll be glad to have evenings together and the energy to stay awake on your off days. I worked a really odd shift as a newlywed, and I didn't like how our schedules were misaligned.  

These both sound like great residency opportunities.  Congrats!

Specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU.

I agree with the other poster, these both sound like good residency programs which is a rarity it seems these days. If you truly don't have a preference for unit, then I would decide based on shift and what would work best for you and your future husband. I would also want to know if that bonus that comes with the trauma residency has an expectation of staying for X amount of months/years or if it truly is a no-strings-attached bonus.

Thank you both ! And no there is no contract or anything with either. I definitely am leaning towards the day shift my fiancé wouldn't mind either way assuming I could eventually work days. I was going to see if there was a time requirement to be on nights for the trauma offer or if you could be put on a waitlist or something for days eventually. If not I think I'll just take the day shift offer.

Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC.

You have a great conundrum there with two really good offers! I don't think you can go wrong with either one. I found that night shift is a great way to get started for a few reasons. There is some more down time on nights, which allows for some research time that just isn't available on days. On my nights shifts I had time to read through all of the progress notes, which gave me an idea of how other nurses and consulting MDs write notes, what information people are looking for and a really good grasp of the patient course. For me it was very helpful to follow the progress of a patient and gain the understanding of tests that were ordered, lab results, medication changes, etc. There is also some more autonomy on nights. With hospitalists cross covering almost 200 patients, when I encountered an issue, I needed to provide much more information and sometimes just come out and ask for the interventions that I wanted. It can really help build some skills and confidence.

Day shift is great because you will have excellent time management skills with the heavier physical workload.  You will have more direct interaction with other team members, but your ability to take the time to look things up will definitely be very limited. By the time I got to the end of a day shift I was lucky if my report could include anything other than the bare minimum because there wasn't time to look up those extras. However, that's also not the main priority, so it's not really a big deal. You will have constantly changing orders, and there isn't always as much need for the nurse to drive interventions. Providers will certainly find you and discuss the case, but there is a little less autonomy with a whole lot more action. (and distraction)

As far as work life balance, I transitioned to nights without much trouble, but I also need less sleep than some people. I can fine on 5-6 hours for many days until I get a full night every now and then. I have a family and kids so I switched my schedule fully back to dayshift life when I'm off. For some people, though, night shift doesn't doesn't work for their body or their life. Unfortunately that's something you can't really know until you give it a try.

Good luck with your decision, sounds like a pretty great deal either way. 

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis.

Dayshift if you can. Once you are stuck on  nights, it's hard to get off. And if you plan to have kids in the future, sleep is EVERYthing.

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