I've worked part-time 1445-2315 on Med/Surg the past 7 years and like evening shift best. As efiebke says, it can be the busiest shift and co-workers who've left evening shift for day or night shift positions all say how much harder 3-11 was. With all the post-ops, admissions, and monitoring post-procedures (arteriogram, ERCP, endoscopy, etc.) as well as all the bowel-preps, shave preps, pre-op teaching, it can get a bit overwhelming at times, to say the least. We also must deal with sun-downers and 3-11 gets the longest family/visitor visiting times which can sometimes be a "challenge", but I generally enjoy interacting with MOST family members.
I started out on night shift and thought it would always be my shift-- It was quiet, I didn't have to deal with doctors (much) or administration... But as a new nurse, I didn't learn as much as I should have. There was only one other RN as a resource person, and I had a LOT of questions and very little experience or self-confidence. It wasn't until working 3-11 that my assessment skills improved; I really began to distinguish breath sounds as I listened to awake people- sitting up in bed or a chair where I could more easily access their lungs, and dealing with all the fresh post-ops taught me a lot, too. Also, having more nurses and other resource people helped.
I don't have children so working these hours hasn't been a problem except for evening events-- get-togethers with friends and family, church and other social occassions have been missed. That's why I work part-time, but I still have to work every other weekend and holiday, and have missed many holiday eves.
However, like moonshadeau said, I like to sleep in, I never have to awaken to an alarm clock, and at work, it eventually gets quieter even if it's busy, once all the docs, social workers. case management, managers, PT, dieticians, visitors, etc. etc. head home. I like having only one meal to deal with, too, and on a personal note, I would HATE going to the cafeteria for lunch-- It's WAAAAY too crowded and noisy! If I'm able to get off the floor for dinner and we sit in the cafeteria, there's plenty of room at tables, it's fairly quiet, and peaceful. I would never be able to digest in that lunch-time atmosphere!
I also love my co-workers on this shift; we work together as a team and you almost always can get someone to help out; "stronger" personalities seem to gravitate to day shift from what I've observed over the years and at my hospital, there's less team-work on days than evenings or nights.
Let's hear it for second shift!