Night Vs. Day Nursing

  1. Hi I was wondering if the time difference makes learning easier in day or night shift for a new nurse. I was wondering theres not that much activity at night like day shift. If you could learn better because its not at as fast pace as day shift is. But was also thinking that maybe there will be more things you see in the day that you will not get to see at night. Was just wondering if anyone thought one would be better fitting for a new nurse?
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    About Cherish

    Joined: Mar '04; Posts: 1,062; Likes: 143
    Specialty: Junior Year of BSN


  3. by   emeraldjay
    I think it all depends on what sort of time of day your body is best at. In my case, I really don't function well during the daytime, particularly the 7-3 shift. My body always wants to nap right about 9am or so, no matter how much sleep I get. When I was working days at a non nursing job, I still wanted to sleep about 3 or so. and that was after getting to work around 10.

    I have a night shift job as a CNA now and I love it. I don't feel groggy during my shift unless I am feeling ill or just didn't have much sleep. It all depends on when you feel the most functional/alert that will speed up or slow down your learning. Also to consider, if you learn at the fast pace, the slower pace will be much easier to adjust to, If you learn at the slower pace, you might have a tough time adjusting to the faster pace.
  4. by   INtoFL_RN
    I started out as an RN on day shift, and I think it is the best way to start, hands down! I switched to nights a year after graduation, and it was so boring. I really felt like I was "on my own" on night shift. Days have so many opportunities for learning. I'll just list some good things about being a new RN on day shift (of course these can be argued either way):

    1. You will develop good time management on days because of all the things going on - meds, meals, visiting family, am care, etc.
    2. Docs are available and willing to talk with you if you have questions
    3. Most meds are passed during the day, so you will develop a good knowledge base
    4. Starting nursing is difficult enough...adjusting to a new sleep schedule on top of the stress of a new job is really tough
    5. You can observe procedures during the day if your orientation includes this
    6. All departments are fully staffed during the day (like dietician, physical therapy, can learn a lot from these guys)

    That's all I can think of for now, I'm sure others can add more. Good luck to you!
  5. by   rn/writer
    The kind of unit can influence the activity level. Critical care units have crises round the clock. L&D and postpartum don't slow down all that much--the babies can't tell time. ER is probably busier on some nights. Plenty of opportunities to learn.
  6. by   neetnik461
    cherish wrote:

    Hi I was wondering if the time difference makes learning easier in day or night shift for a new nurse.
    I'm a new nurse, a little over a year out of school. The hospital where I work had a general policy that new grads could not start on night shift right away and had to do a majority of day shift while in orientation. Most NM's I interviewed with said that they didn't like to have new grads on straight night shift (or even straight evening shift) until at least 6 months out of school.

    I personally was hired for a swinging day/night rotation month on/off. I've found it to be a good experience for me as a new nurse to swing during this first year. Here's why:

    1. On day shift you will get to know the attendings and the residents and will participate in rounds. You will get a handle on different orders and treatments for various disease processes. You will get to see more bedside interventions (at least in ICU where I work) and learn how to care for a patient during bedside procedures and assist the physician. You will have more opportunity to interact with family members and develop your communication skills. You will see what it's like to be part of the interdisciplinary team through interactions with social work, PT, OT, dietitians etc. Days are generally busier than nights and will train you in good time management and prioritizing skills.

    2. On night shift you will generally see more admissions and learn how to handle and prioritize details of admissions (such as post-ops and emergencies from the ER). You will have the opportunity to do more bedside patient care (such as bathing, changing IV dressings etc.). You will have more time to learn and practice general nursing skills (such as drawing blood and starting an IV). You will learn what situations require a call to the resident and which ones can wait until morning rounds.

    I would recommend a swinging day/night shift rotation for new grads to get a grasp on the big picture of the 24 hour nursing world. It's not easy to swing, but I have found it to be a great way to start my nursing career!