Opinions about Shift Differentials

  1. Hi All,

    Yesterday I ran into a neighbor/friend I hadn't seen in awhile - she graduated from Nursing School last year and has been working since then at the same hospital my husband has been at for the last 18 years.

    She's a very nice person, knows I'm going back to school for Nursing and had loads of advice for me. I asked how she liked the hospital - she loves her job but has a HUGE problem with how certain shifts are paid (she never complains about anything, so I was interested to hear what she thought about all of this). This hospital usually gives the new Nurses the "worst shifts" - so she was very lucky to get the day-shift working 3 "12's" a week (no weekends, no nights, no rotating shifts" - she said it works out fantastic for her family.

    She said she was totally "ticked off" that the hospital just upped the "night shift diff for RN's" to $6.00 an hour and claims that the "night shift" has it easy compared to the day shift. This sort of made my hair stand on end because my husband is one of those people that she's saying has it "easier". For the last 18 years he's worked the most disgusting shift - 4 "12's" in a row -Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon - 7p - 7a. Not only is he absolutely "dead" at the end of it - but he misses out on all sorts of family things by working literally every weekend and most Holidays during the year.

    I tried to explain to her that He is constantly complaining that the day shift is over-staffed, have easy access to the Docs., Specialists, Admin., etc. and the Night Shift gets by on a "skeleton crew" and get just as many traumas at night, if not more in the (ER) where he works as they do during the day - and have to handle it all with fewer staff members.

    I think just the fact that so few people are willing to work weekends and nights (being away from family, friends, etc. at those odd hours) is the reason they have to offer more money for those shifts to get people to work them. With 3 kids, him trying to sleep during the day on the weekends in almost impossible and if the hospital is willing to pay the "zombies" a little extra money per hour for all they give up - I'm glad. I told her if it was the extra money she was after, I know there were plenty of night shift openings - she quickly said - no thanks, I want a life. So there you go - she's not willing to give up her nights and weekends, so can't see how she can complain about them getting paid a little better for the sacrifice.

    Being the wife of a night/weekend worker - I've spent all these years basically "sleeping alone" (hey, I think I deserve some compensation for that) :chuckle Those of you who work "nights" know that your body is used to sleeping during the day - so even when you have a "day/night off" - it's incredibly hard to re-adjust your little time clock to do things with the family during the day. When the hubby has a few days off, he can't sleep at night and is usually puttering around the house all night while the kids and I are asleep and then he nods off when we're getting up - it's a horrible shift for people with families.

    Sorry this was so long - any opinions about the shift-diffs?? Just from my many years living through this and all I've seen my husband and our family sacrifice for him to work these wacky hours - they certainly do deserve the little bit of extra income they get. If they had tons of people willing to work those hours they would be paid the same as the day shift. Thanks for listening and letting me vent.. Susan
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    About RNSuzq1

    Joined: Jan '04; Posts: 446; Likes: 48
    Registered Nurse
    Specialty: 7 year(s) of experience in Med/Surg.


  3. by   fergus51
    Sounds like she's just jealous. I have always said if night shift is so easy and pays so well people would be lining up for spots on the night shift. Night shift workers have their own sacrifices and should be compensated for it (it wreaks havoc on social lives, body clock is messed up, we die sooner, we are short staffed constantly, get sick more often, etc). If day shifters don't like it, I am sure there are plenty of openings for them to switch to nights. Something tells me that won't happen though....
  4. by   beausud
    hey, having worked both shifts (as do most RN's), i must agree w/ the above post. i literally feel sick to my stomach trying to get my body on a "day" schedule for the days that i have off. nights can be very busy depending on the floor. i guess some people might think that just because its night time, patient's sleep... if only that were true. each shift has its own drawbacks. theres a sacrifice that night shift give away to get the higher pay.
  5. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    If she wants the shift diff, then she needs to work the noc shift.

    Having worked surgical unit nocs, I can tell you there was not enough shift diff to compensate for being yelled at by surgeons when you have to call and wake them up in the middle of the noc.

    I worked both days and nocs at the unit, and days was by far easier, as far as work load and staffing. That goes for this particular unit, and my personal experience. By no means am I saying that one shift has it better than another in general.

    I think your friend would change her tune about the shift diff, if she worked noc shift. especially on a Saturday or on Christmas.

    Her statements reveal her ignorance.
    Last edit by Hellllllo Nurse on Nov 13, '06
  6. by   Tweety
    The differential is not because the night shift is busier or works harder, it's simply for working overnnight. Given the same rate of pay people choose day over night. So it's an incentive to work the hard to staff shifts, not a reward for working harder.

    Her complaint is not a valid complaint IMHO. BTW 6.00/hr is very generous. We get only $3.00
  7. by   fergus51
    Ha! Come to Canada where it's $1 an hour extra since we all have to rotate anyways.
  8. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Quote from fergus51
    Ha! Come to Canada where it's $1 an hour extra since we all have to rotate anyways.

    It's still a buck an hour in lots of places in the US, too. Highest shift diff I've ever gotten is $1.50/hr.
  9. by   Altra
    Quote from SusanNC
    I think just the fact that so few people are willing to work weekends and nights (being away from family, friends, etc. at those odd hours) is the reason they have to offer more money for those shifts to get people to work them. ...

    If they had tons of people willing to work those hours they would be paid the same as the day shift. Susan
    I think you summed it up right there ... everything in life is a trade-off.
  10. by   klone
    I'm planning on working NOCs after graduation (3 12s) because we want one of us to be home when the kids are home from school when they're younger. This way, we don't have to worry about childcare or what to do if one of the kids is sick. Our differential for NOCs is 18% (which translates to about $4). Evenings gets 10% and weekends gets 5%.

    I would have done NOCs even without the differential so it's a nice added benefit for me. I'm a little nervous about it, though, because I worked nights for a few months at the county jail, booking in inmates (we called the shift "dogwatch" or just "dogs") and I absolutely hated it. I constantly felt nauseated and just slightly unwell.

    Have any of you night-shifters used Provigil?
  11. by   Altra

    I also hope to work nights after graduation, for the same reasons you mentioned.

    What is Provigil? Just curious...
  12. by   klone
    Quote from MLOS
    What is Provigil? Just curious...
    It's a newly approved drug that's approved for narcolepsy and shift work sleep disorder. Basically, you take it when you need to be awake and it keeps you awake and alert to do what you need to do, but doesn't interfere with sleep when you need to sleep.

    Apparently they tested it on military troops that needed to stay awake for 24-36 hours at a time.
  13. by   kastas
    Thank you Susan for defending the night shift. I absolutely HATE it when I hear how easy we have it. Some of the girls with us had to orient on days 1st. Each was told that they won't like working nights b/c we never do anything. Just sit and read books and eat. Each was told they would gain weight b/c all we do is eat. Errrrrrrrrr :angryfire That ticks me off. I think the better reason would be that our bodies are so outta whack that our metabolism doesn't know which end is up. Like someone else said, if night shift was so easy we wouldn't need any extra compensation, anyone would be willing to do it just to get any easy paycheck. :angryfire
  14. by   mauser
    Just worth mentioning: At our hospital, CNAs were complaining that only the RNs were getting "bonuses" paid for working a specific shift/ward/etc., and why weren't they?

    Administrations answer: When we have a "shortage" of personnel (whoever that may be), we offer bonuses to fill those spots. No one group was valued more than another. It was simply of matter of incentive to fill a shortage.