ICU Days vs Nights - What's Your Experience?

Posted
by BiscuitStripes BiscuitStripes, BSN, RN Member Nurse

Specializes in ICU. Has 2 years experience.

Can anyone give me their honest comparison if they've worked days and nights in ICU? I've worked nights in the ED but only worked days in the ICU.

Not to discredit nights, but I feel like days has a lot more going on, such as sedation vacations, breathing trials, extubations, CT/MRI, scans and other procedures, PT/OT/ST, families, consults, elective procedures coming to the unit, etc. 

I'm looking to go to another hospital in the coming months which will likely require me to go to night shift, so just looking for some insight, thanks!

0.9%NormalSarah, ADN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 3 years experience. 242 Posts

I’ve done both and currently rotate working both. Yes days has a lot more going on, we get the bulk of the orders on days, often docs during rounds will decide on the need for new imaging, plan of care will change, ancillary staff are always coming by, family, meals....it’s overwhelming. But nights are a different type of busy. There are less people around to help when things go south, you may only have a resident or two to call for a change in condition, and you may be more judicious in your calls to attendings or specialties, making your assessment and troubleshooting skills with your standing orders very important. They are different, but both are crazy in their own ways. I’ll say I’ve had some super chill nights where nothing happened at all and I caught up on hospital training modules or even read content for school, but when stuff hits the fan it’s chaos just like it would be on days.