ICU NURSES: In your opinion when is it less stressful working at ICU nights or days?

  1. I am new grad RN offered a position at ICU, and I can't decide whether I should take the day shift or night shift.
    I worked as a nurse extern at a tele floor and find the night shift less stressful. I dont know if this is the same on an ICU floor. In my experience on a tele floor on day shifts, preceptors have less time to teach new nurses due to the demand on days--where most procedures are done, demand from family members, pt is awake/more emotional complains.

    I would like to learn a lot from an ICU preceptor. Do you think the ICU preceptor can teach well at night or days given the work demand on the floor? Also, for me as a new grad, is it more stressful to work at nights OR days?


    Thank you so much for your help!
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    Joined: Jul '08; Posts: 12

    15 Comments

  3. by   NickiLaughs
    Days are probably a bit more stressful d/t more family visits then/the doctors are more in and out and tend to have more orders/etc. Even if you take a night position they do spend a couple weeks with you on day shift. Where I'm at, you spend your first 20 shifts on days so you know how the whole process is, then you switch to nights.

    Good luck on whatever you decide!
  4. by   Dalzac
    I always felt nights were far less stressful for several reasons. Firstmost less visitors. The patient care is not any less on nights I think There is still a lot of work in ICU. The other reason is less management. All the bosses go home. and the last reason Less medical There is just a couple of interns or residents. When you have a code it isn't wall to wall people much less stress!. I have always felt you could get a lot more done like reading the chart going over paperwork, chart checks, and giving a better bath even. If the patient is in ICU it really doesn't matter about the time you give daily personal care.
    I loved working nights.
  5. by   SandBetweenMyToes
    I too loved working nights in ICU. Less traveling with your patient, less bedside procedures by the specialists, less drama, in general. I was precepted on days by an awesome preceptor, and then I had a "resource person" assigned each night I worked for the first few months. I really enjoyed the autonomy too. I was very busy, but I liked not having so many eyes critiquing me. Best of luck!!
  6. by   bluejeanjunkie
    Thank you for your responses, fellow RNs.

    So far, I'm getting 3 votes for Night shifts.
    Anyone for ICU day shift?
    Keep the ball rolling...
  7. by   agilitydogs
    I vote nights. I just started as a new grad in a CVICU on nights for the exact same reasons you are considering. The night nurses have a bit more time to teach (not always the case, but most of the time). Also, in our case we don't have intensivists or residents on site, so our night nurses are the more experienced nurses (our surgeons are on call). They have a lot of autonomy, and have to be able to handle many different situations on their own, so I was told that they would better be able to teach me because they had more knowledge. Good luck in your new position.
  8. by   Be_Moore
    I also vote nights. But orient on days. That way you will be present for procedures, road trips, rounds, etc. A lot more opportunities for learning happen on days. But then after orientation go to nights. It pays better, if nothing else.
  9. by   kristikkc
    I've worked days and nights in by ccu. It's a smaller ccu so it doesn't really matter which you work. The most you get pt wise would be 4 since it is a 4 bedder. But I prefer nights because it's just more settled with fewer people in and out. Our doctors can be in and out till 1 or 2 in the morning so we can deal with MDS all the time. Just keep in mind that things get crazy at night, with crazy things happining in the er and codes (which one of the CCU nurses have to help with). Admits can come in at any time of the day or night. But I love nights because I don't sleep well at night. There is no way I can feel like getting up to be at work at 630 in the morning and feel like working.
  10. by   getoverit
    Hands down....nights is less stressful overall. It can get really busy sometimes just like days and there will always be shifts where 6-7 hours fly by without you even knowing it. But like some people posted, there is less travelling with your patient (although if you do, it'll usually be pretty critical) and the docs aren't there very often.
    In my unit, you have to do one year on days before you can switch to nights because the orienting on days is invaluable. You need to be comfortable with setting up central lines, chest tube trays, intubation trays, TEE/DCCV set ups, CRRT etc before you're alone at night and potentially don't have the resources you need to ask a question.
  11. by   catshowlady
    Overall, there is less going on at night. That said, when the crap hits the fan, there are often much fewer resources available at night, like extra hands, fewer Dr.'s available, etc. Of course, some of this depends on the makeup of the unit, e.g. is it a teaching hospital or not, how many beds, how big a hospital and what community does it serve? I think you need to be able to have a better working relationship w/ your co-workers, because you have to rely on each other more. This was my experience on med-surg nights too.
  12. by   Ruby Vee
    nights is far less stressful, and it's a good place to learn the basics. you won't see as many procedures, etc. but you'll learn. after you've soaked up what you can on the night shift, it will be plenty of time to move to days. good luck!
  13. by   RNperdiem
    Night shift was too stressful on my body and mind.
    Night workers tend to not get enough sleep and it takes a toll in the long run.
    On days,I do not have the stress associated with trying to stay awake on the road or the anger at neighbors who seem to love their leaf-blowers while I need to sleep.
  14. by   avbabygirl
    As a new grad, I would prefer dayshift, it may be a bit stressfull, however you learn time management,meet all the doctors,accompany pt. to a test, learn how to solve problems or rsolve issues befor they arise,see allot more,look for your charts
    night shift is for exp. nurses that can request what they need from the physician and review charts,actually did their bid on dayshift and are very independant thinkers, on night shift the pt. are pretty much in bed and you monitor them all night, review the chart, at times you have codes or have to attend codes,admit er pt.you have less physicians on nights

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