Hate night shifts

Nurses General Nursing


Hi all!,

I am a newer nurse with 6 months of experience on a floor I love with a team I love. However, it is night shifts and I am hating them. I feel like my entire life either revolves around when I will sleep or work. Its also wreaking havoc on my health. I sleep well between shifts, but still feel like a zombie all the time. My floor has little turn over so the prospects of a day shift on my unit may be a year or more and the thought depresses me. So do I try applying to other units and hospitals. Will employers look badly on me for moving so quickly?

Specializes in NICU.

Day shifts are sought after by experienced nurses for the same reason you dislike them. What will changing dept solve. The other depts will probably have the same issue. You may have a hard time getting a day shift position until you have more experience. Essentially, you need to pay your dues like everyone else.

Specializes in Critical Care.

The reality of 24 hour staffing is that at least a third of the staff are going to have to work at night, there are the rare few that like it, but for the most part nobody likes it, it's just part of the deal.

Specializes in oncology, MS/tele/stepdown.

I love night shift but my body doesn't. Is it possible to rotate? When I worked nights and days and they gave me a block of weeks on each shift I was able to tolerate that better than straight nights. But that depends heavily on the schedule being straight days for a few weeks, then a couple days off, then straight nights, etc. You can always ask to be put on days. Obviously you are low on seniority but maybe your manager can make something happen.

I like 2 days/ 2 nights, 4-5 off. I don't think I could do all days or all nights

Just apply for day shift, and keep applying. I worked nights 17 years. I had no desire to switch to days and many of my fellow nighters had worked as long, or longer, on nights as me. We were all quite happy with our hours. I hated the few times I worked days.

It is not impossible to get a day shift job. Simply apply.

I had known for years about this wonderful unit called outpatient surgery. No nights, no weekends, no holidays, but thought it must be impossible to get a job there, there must be 100's of applicants.

I quite easily got a job there and much to my annoyance found new grads casually saying...."Oh I didn't like nights, or didn't like med/surg, so I applied here and got a job". Grrrrrrrrrrr!

Yep, night stink. I've worked them for years because of the shift differential and freeing up my days for NP clinicals. Otherwise they just stink

Specializes in Certified Medical Surgical Nurse.

RN&RDH, I feel for you. I truly do. I absolutely hate working nights, and am fortunate enough to have powered through this past year, and am really looking forward to stating days soon (fortunately on my same floor)! I chose not to change jobs to look for a days position because I absolutely love my location (about 2 blocks from my hospital), but it definitely crossed my mind. While many of the others commenting are correct in saying that days are coveted, don't fall for the line that you have to "pay your dues" on nights. While I am sure it varies depending on your area, I was able to find several day positions that were hiring when I was looking around. Some people are not cut out for nights, and while you may not get the exact floor you want if you are not willing to compromise, I assure you that the positions are out there if you keep searching. Good luck!

Specializes in Geriatrics, Dialysis.

You probably won't have much trouble finding a day position if you truly need to switch but it might end up being a trade you don't like. As long as you like everything about your job except the schedule try to work with your current manager first to see if there is any possibility of getting off nights anytime soon.

Because you only have 6 months of experience, I'd stick it out for at least a full year off of orientation. If you quit right off orientation, you will likely burn bridges with your manager. New grads are very expensive to train, and managers don't like investing all of that money just to have you leave. I left my first nursing job right at the one year mark, and when I gave my notice, my manager said she was "very disappointed in me" for leaving so soon after being trained; consequently, I was nervous to ever put her down as a reference. Some jobs will require that you put your current or most recent manager down as a reference. If you do stick it out for the full year, it may be your turn to move onto day shift by then.

You can try applying to day shift positions. However, unless you're looking at specialties that hire primarily to days (OR, IR, PACU, outpatient), you'll probably run into the same issue where you have to start out doing nights and transition to days.

In general, great units have lower turnover, and therefore building seniority takes longer. If you find an inpatient unit where you can apply directly to a day shift position, I'd be cautious moving forward. Part of the reason day positions are open could be that it's a terrible unit with high turnover, and they're looking for people to fill positions on every shift; that's not necessarily the case, but it is a possibility. I'd personally rather work a shift I don't like on a unit I love than a shift I love on a unit I hate. (I get the struggle; NICU has extremely low turnover, and on the units I've worked the wait for dayshift was 3-6 years).

I'd also approach rotating schedules with caution. Some people like them, but others have a much harder time with them than straight nights. A lot of units will put 'rotating' in the job description, but it will actually mean that you train to nights and days and then work straight nights until your seniority is high enough to move to days. If you look at apply for rotating jobs, I'd ask the manager about exactly what that means during your interview.

If you do decide to stick it out, there are a ton of forums on AN about surviving night shift. I'd also think about how you schedule yourself, and anticipating a day after you work to switch back to a normal schedule and recuperate.

Specializes in CMSRN, hospice.

There are day shift jobs out there - maybe not a ton, depending on where you are, but some. If you are truly miserable, apply. HOWEVER, it's only been six months, and there is probably more you can do to make nights fit into your life. Not one approach works for everyone, and you may just need to try something else and give yourself more time to adjust.

How do you schedule your shifts and your sleep currently? What obligations do you have outside of work and how flexible are they?

I feel like it took me a little over a year to not feel like a zombie all the time, which sounds like a lot of time but has been so worth it. If you love your unit and coworkers, I would advise not giving up on that so easily. Also, those night shift paychecks add up over time, which always comes in handy. There are a lot of great things about nights, so I really hope that you will consider sticking with it a bit longer if you can. There are plenty of day jobs, but not all of them offer a great team and work environment.

Specializes in NICU.

NO , no no.---"Obviously you are low on seniority but maybe your manager can make something happen."

I do not recommend that someone try to bypass seniority rules and get special treatment.Sorry, it is not right and disrespectful to those with more seniority.

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