My name is Brianna and I am a new grad. I am taking the NCLEX end of February and will start a new job in March.
I have a question to poll: I have 2 job offers (same hospital). One is in pediatrics (my love) on night shift, and the other is general medicine on day shift. Both full time. The night shift has a pay differential that amounts to around $10,000 more per year. BUT I am very much a morning person, usually fall asleep between 10-11pm every night, and I'm very affected (mentally/emotionally) by daylight / having time to be outside. So it would be a big adjustment for sure. I'm also getting married this year (and have 5 other weddings to attend, 3 of which I am in). And I'm a part-time yoga instructor, and planning to remain teaching at least occasional classes. Work/life balance is important to me.
I'm trying to decide which position to accept. I made a pro/con list for each unit, and I'm really torn. I definitely prefer day shift, but I've heard from seasoned nurses that you can learn a lot on night shift. I also really love pedi and would love to start on that unit (it's an inpatient unit).
What are your thoughts & suggestions??
I would definitely choose the pedi night shift -- but that might not be the right choice for you. To me, doing work that I enjoy is VERY important and I am just not a general med/surg type of nurse. I would be miserable if I didn't like the work itself -- and would rather make some compromised in my personal life to get the chance to launch a career doing work that I wanted to do. For me, the difference between peds and adults is so huge that it would outweigh the other considerations.
However for you, that might not be the case. If you don't perceive the "job satisfaction" differences between having adult and peds patients to be all that huge, then go with the job that will give you the best working hours for you.
If you choose the peds job .... night shift won't last forever -- and it is not a death sentence. In order to make nights work for you, you will have to make some personal sacrifices and commit whole-heartedly to living a "night shift" lifestyle. But if you do that for a year or two, you'll have a great chance of launching your career in the right direction. A few personal sacrifices would be worth that to me -- but it might not be that big of a deal for you.
Good luck with whatever you decide.
I'd go with your passion. If you ever decide you want to switch to peds, you'll likely have to start out on night shift anyway. So I say, "pay your dues" now and then work until you can transition to a day shift position in peds.
I've worked night shift for 12 years and I've seen nurses like you. Prefering day shift is one thing, eventually a day shift position will open up (could take a year or longer). If it was just a mater of preference I would say take the night shift job. But you used the words "mental" and "emotional" when describing this and for that reason I would strongly suggest the general medical job. I've found that when people say they are morning people, they mean it. They can't handle night shift. It's hard to adjust even for people who claim to be night owls. You could always switch floors and work peds at a later time. But if you start with the night job and find that it is unbearable, you have little choices. Having to quit immediately would burn bridges there. At least the gen medical job would be bearable while waiting for a peds position to open up. And in time you may find that you like it more than you thought anyway.
General medicine day shift is brutal. The workload is barely doable on a good day, and crushing on a bad day. They are hiring new grads into a day shift for a reason, and that reason is staff turnover.
Peds is harder to break into. The department is smaller and there are fewer jobs. Most hospitals in my area don't even have a peds department. If you work nights for a while, you might adjust better than you think. Falling asleep between 10-11pm puts you closer to a night person (I can barely make it past 9pm) that a lot of people. Give it a try.
Speaking as a pedi nurse for my entire nursing career, I'd take the pedi night job. If pedi is your love, you should take the job when it's available. While I have encountered nurses throughout my career who started in Med/Surg and were able to get a pedi job once a position was available, I strongly disagree with the notion that everyone should start with Med/Surg.
Is this a 12 hr night shift 36 hr position? If so, try to work your shifts back to back and then you'll have plenty of days or evenings free to teach yoga.
If the only reason you are considering the general medicine position is because it is day shift, DON'T DO IT.
The pediatric position is obviously where your passion and interests are, so why would you waste those things on a job you really don't want? Go for what you really want, and the rest will fall into place.
As another poster stated, pediatric jobs don't open up often, so don't squander an opportunity because it is night shift.
If you are already being offered a job on a unit that you want to end up on, go for that. Day shifts will likely eventually open up.
Go for the Peds. Dayshift will come eventually and believe me you'll get somewhat used to nights. I hated nights and I was able to deal with it for a year until days came up.
Coming from someone who has bipolar disorder & is also very much affected by day/night switching, take the DAY shift.
I know I'm the odd one out here but what happens if you take the night shift position & you can't sleep? What if your mood changes? What if you go into a horrible depression? I've read a bunch of posts on here. You have to do what's right for your physica/emotional/mental well being first.
Take the day shift position, learn your skills, wait until a day shift opens up in peds & then transfer.
It would be horrible to start on nights & then have to leave the unit because you can't deal with night shift & there is no day shift available. It's okay to know you're a dayshift person, I am. I have had to turn down many jobs because of it. It is best to take the day shift that is currently available & then wait for day shift to open up on the peds floor. You don't want to start on nights only to find out you have to leave.
Do you get the option to float in the hospital? If you do, I would try to float to peds & to see if you like it & have a good word put in for you during days.
Unfortunately I agree with the above posters. All of them. Only you know what you can handle. I would take the peds job, (Even if it were day shift and I HATE day shift. If it didn't involve kids. I don't really like most kids.) Ok, so I wouldn't take the peds job.
The first year of nursing is stressful. You know your body and your mental health better than anyone. I would take the job I wanted and suck it up about the hours, but I am good at setting boundaries with family that might wake me up and while I might hate the hours I could do an opposing shift. Some people can't.
We can advise you, but only you know how much you want to work in peds and how much you could handle night shift.
Thank you everyone!! I really appreciate all your feedback. It's helpful to get opinions from experienced nurses. I decided to accept the peds position, and while I know the adjustment to night shift will be tough to say the least, I think it was the right decision, and fortunately, I have lots of support at home!
It is 12 hour shifts, 36 hours/week and self-scheduling, which is nice.
Must Read Topics