Mandatory Night Shifts?

  1. I'm still a pre-nursing student, but have been wondering about this. Are night shifts ever mandatory, especially as a new grad?? I know that pay is higher for nights and there are other benefits, but it is possible for new grads or even just RN's to pick their shifts? I'm scared to think that night shifts would be mandatory because I don't think I'd be able to handle it. My body does strange things without sleep and I can't seem to focus/be alert, which completely scares me when I think I would be responsible for patients at night. I know I sound like I wuss and people get use to it, but I'd really like to work days. Any input on how scheduling usually works for new grads? Are day shifts even available? Also, are shifts usually scheduled in a row? I guess I'm just confused on who decides the hours- the RN or the supervisor, and do you as the employee have much say?!

    Thanks in advance..this forum is awesome
  2. Visit RedHead85 profile page

    About RedHead85

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 35; Likes: 1

    14 Comments

  3. by   widi96
    Your options for employment will be much more limited if you say you won't do nights. Most places request you start on nights, but can earn your way to days. I know a couple of new grads that were offered day positions, so it is possible. Like I said though - you are going to be much more limited on employment. There was only one floor at our hospital willing to hire new grads directly into day shift. They already had too many regular night shifters wanting to go to days.
  4. by   BrnEyedGirl
    I think the answer to your question will depend on where you work. The hospital that I work for will hire new grads for whatever shifts they have open,.often that is nights. I choose to work nights and have for many years, and right now I'm doing mandatory day shifts because that's where they need me,.it's killing me,.I don't remember how to sleep at night!! On my "normal" schedule I can usually pick the nights I want to work,.8hrs, 10hrs or 12hrs,.all in a row or a day off in between,.I was hired to do three 12hr shifts but have recently changed to 4 10's and get every friday, saturday and sunday off.
    Hope that helps some,..good luck to you!!
  5. by   S.T.A.C.E.Y
    Most places I know have everyone start on a night/day schedule where almost everyone is required to work every other weekend. With the exception fo the people who have been around a long time (they get mostly or only days if they want it / need it) or those who request straight nights. Most people do 3 day shifts, off four days, 4 night shifts, off three days.....something like that. I thought night shifts would be terrible too, and they can be....but so long as you're kept busy its not really THAT bad. I mean, it still sucks, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.
  6. by   mamason
    Well, when I was a new grad, I applied for a 12 hour day shift and got it. That was about 4 years ago. So, it just depends on the place where you are applying. I do think that it's more common for new grads to get stuck with the night shift at a few places. Just know what you are looking for and sell yourself to the facility. I do know that the day shift is a little rough in certain areas compared to night shift. And before I get sandblasted with a bunch of negative comments, let me say that night shift can be a very busy shift also. So, just keep looking around. Nurses are still in demand and you can pretty much pick and choose what you would like to work. Good Luck.
  7. by   leosrain
    Embrace night shifts! They are wonderful!

    Nights are peaceful, calm, and pleasant (aside from definite exceptions). When I work nights, I actually have time to do my job without rushing, and I can actually have conversastions with my coworkers (both social and nursing relating). Even better, I often have time to read my patients charts in detail, or find a couple journals articles on their conditions. Sometimes, I actually have time to sit down with an anxious patient who can't sleep and *gasp* talk to them about it!!!

    Night shifts...nursing as it should be!

    The sleeping part is easy. When you go to bed at 9am and wake up at 5pm you aren't tired during the night. 3:00am feels just like 3:00pm. It's not the same as spontaneously pulling an "all-nighter."

    Anyway, I just thought someone needed to advocate for night shifts. People always say such bad things about them, but really...they are great!

    Sean
    Last edit by leosrain on Mar 28, '07
  8. by   oMerMero
    Night shift is the way to go! There are fewer people around the unit, fewer family members, a little more time to interact with your patients. From my experience, the night nurses are more of a team than the day shift. During the night shift you have more time to get to know your coworkers and help eachother out, whereas on the day shift everyone is so busy with patients going to tests, doctors coming in, etc. If you sleep during the day, then you are not tired at night. I love knowing I can sleep during the day when other people are working.
  9. by   RavenC
    Quote from RedHead85
    I'm still a pre-nursing student, but have been wondering about this. Are night shifts ever mandatory, especially as a new grad?? I know that pay is higher for nights and there are other benefits, but it is possible for new grads or even just RN's to pick their shifts? I'm scared to think that night shifts would be mandatory because I don't think I'd be able to handle it. My body does strange things without sleep and I can't seem to focus/be alert, which completely scares me when I think I would be responsible for patients at night. I know I sound like I wuss and people get use to it, but I'd really like to work days. Any input on how scheduling usually works for new grads? Are day shifts even available? Also, are shifts usually scheduled in a row? I guess I'm just confused on who decides the hours- the RN or the supervisor, and do you as the employee have much say?!

    Thanks in advance..this forum is awesome
    I've never heard of mandatory night shifts...they hire people for the shifts that are open. I have heard though of places that don't pay extra for nights or evenings, so know the answer to that before you take the job. Also, in the initial interview, make it clear that you want days and if not available, how soon might you hope to get that shift? Most people want days and don't give them up once they get them, but take what you can get and if you like the place, hang in there...something may open up. I know when I worked nights, I loved it. No families, no doctors, few phone calls, rarely had an admission...but when I moved here I just couldn't give up all the sunny days. If moving is possible, or if you live near other states, there are states that are desperate for nurses...look around.
  10. by   tencat
    Well......night shift kind of stinks for me, but I know there are many people who wouldn't work any other shift. Chances are good you'll have to start nights, but it's probably possible to find a day job. I work in a tiny hospital, and it wasn't possible to get a day job. However, if I want to commute 75 miles one way, I could have a day job. I like the time to get to really know my patients and to go thoroughly through the chart, which I wouldn't have time to do on days. But, I'm not a night person, and my body HATES it. I've given myself a deadline for how long I'll stay on nights, and after that I will probably drive 75 miles to get a day job, if I don't get onto days at my current hospital by then. If you can't get the day job you want, give nights a few months (it takes a few months to get acclimated to the big change) before you write it off totally. You might like it.
  11. by   RedHead85
    Thanks everyone, your answers are helpful and I have a better idea of what to expect. Nights don't seem that bad, but I still think my body will go nuts. Guess I'll have to figure it out when the time comes
  12. by   Gromit
    Oddly enough, night-positions usually expect you to be reasonably self-sufficient, because staffing is lighter, and the bosses are home, doctors prefer to sleep at night, etc etc. But it is true that more often than not, new nurses usually orient during day shifts, but once orientation is over, go to nights.
    For my part, I prefer nights -and before they asked, I actually asked to be hired to nights. Of course, I'm wierd, smoke cigars while riding my motorcycle, etc etc., but I prefer it when the boses are gone, and I can do my job with fewer hindrances. As was said earlier, if you don't like nights, you can always work toward going to days -and if they ask you if you have a preference, be HONEST with them. You can always say something like 'I prefer days, but will work whatever shift I'm needed on' or something like that -they love that stuff
  13. by   Imafloat
    I had the same fears as you as a student. When I graduated, the only position open in the unit I wanted to work in was nights. I took it, and was concerned, but it really isn't bad. The first couple of weeks were rough, but now I wonder if I want to go to days. I stay busy the entire night, but it is a pleasant busy, not a "oh my gosh I hope I haven't forgotten something" busy. As a new grad, I am happy to be on nights. I still have to prioritize and work on time management, but not at a breakneck pace. I do find time to read the patient charts and I have found some things that weren't supposed to be in there. As a result, I am getting a reputation for being thorough, which I know I wouldn't have if I were on days. As far as sleep, I work 12 hour shifts and I find that if I work 1 shift, have a day off, then work 2 more that I do fine. There is only one day a week I have to worry about getting adequate day sleep. Adequate day sleep is about 6.5 hours, and I am fine through the night. I am tired when I go home after that second shift, but I know I don't have to go back to work so it is no biggie. On the single day I work and the first day of my double I go to bed the night before at midnight, get up at 630 and get the kids off to school, I then go back to bed until about 1230 or so and get up and clean until the kids get home from school.

    I guess the point of this all is, don't borrow trouble, you will be surprised with what your body can get used to. If I can do it, most other people can. I am older and I have a large family. I used to say that I needed 9-10 hours of sleep to function, but I am finding that I am just fine with 6-8 hours.

    Best of luck to you!
  14. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Not all new grads have to start on nightshifts. And not all have to stay on them for years and years, either. It would depend on how picky you are about hospital/unit you prefer to work in. So-called "specialty areas" like OB, you can expect you will have to work nights (sometimes for years) before a dayshift position opens up----this is because nurses tend to stay in OB units for many years (where I work, some have been there in excess of 20-25 years!) and seniority usually rules most places. There are other units, like ED, Med-surg and CCU/ICU that have day shift positions open and you may luck into one of them. However as a new grad, look for a place that offers excellent orientation/residency (at least 6 months' duration if at all possible) before accepting any position. New graduates need plenty of time to transition from novice nurse to experienced one----and the more time you have, the better.

    Good luck and don't lose hope----lots of dayshift positions await the resourceful new graduate. I wish you the best.

close