Midnights vs Day shift

Nurses General Nursing


Anybody who's ever worked/is working midnights: Is it just me, or do the darlings of the day shift breeze in and immediately act as if they're the boss. Some of us work nights because we genuinely like that shift, others use it as a place to"hide out" so they won't have to deal with so many bosses. Whatever the reason, somewhere along the line midnights got a bum rap. Where I work, anyway, we do paperwork in addition to patient care. Part of the paperwork consists of checking the work done/not done by day shift and evenings and correcting any errors. Yet so many people think we just sit up all night, drinking coffee, reading the Avon book, addressing bills to be paid, etc. I'd like to hear from anyone who is in a similar situation.


753 Posts

Specializes in Pediatric Rehabilitation.

I work nights, have worked days and evenings. Nights, by far is the easiest as far as work, the hardest physically (because of the stress of your body telling you "this isn't normal"). The day shift does blow in with an air of authority, but I hold no resentment. For one, the "bosses" ARE on day shift, which is why many choose to work nights. I think day shift comes in with a rushed attitude, partly because they NEED this attitude to survive. Days is a rushed enviroment compared to nights. Our day shift respects nights, not because they think we work harder, but because they know how tough it is to be awake and alert at 3am. We don't have much resentment between shifts, possibly because most of us have worked all shifts and can appreciate the pros and cons of each. When someone, usually someone who has not worked the other shift, begins fussing about the other shift, we will point out the negative aspects of that shift. That usually stops complaints from growing. It takes all shifts to run healthcare, not one is more necessary than the other. If days is coming in and seeing Avon books, coffee cups, knitting yarn, waste from paid bills, etc. scattered over the station, THIS may be where they are getting their opinions...ya think? ;) Yeah, we do it too! lol


566 Posts

Specializes in ER, Hospice, CCU, PCU.

As far as I'm concerned Day shift and Night shift people are two different breeds. I'm not sure either can understand the other, but we are all there for basically the same reason(s). We just go about it differently. Kinda like Moon vrs Sun. Can't have one without the other.


624 Posts

Specializes in ICU/CCU (PCCN); Heme/Onc/BMT.
Originally posted by mamabear

. . .Yet so many people think we just sit up all night, drinking coffee, reading the Avon book, addressing bills to be paid, etc. I'd like to hear from anyone who is in a similar situation.

I've never read the "Avon Book" while working nights! The "Musician's Best Friend", heck yes!!!. . . but the "Avon Book", no.

I'm with the crowd that works nights because I totally dislike working with the "Yucky-Yucks" that walk around in their happy little suits during the dayjust dreaming up more paper work to do, and making sure that the paper work gets done. Yea, sure I get the paper work done, but at my own speed and at my own time . . . it comes in way last . . .way past patient care, and certainly past reading the "Musician's Best Friend".


305 Posts

I worked nights for a year and a half but I agree with the post that said night people and day people are just different. I felt bad physically the whole time on nights.

I love the hustle and bustle of days; having nursing students, etc.

It takes all kinds and all of us, to take care of our patients. I wish more of us would always realize that nursing is a 24-hour continuity of care profession, and one shift takes up where the other left off.


367 Posts

I am agency, so I work all of the shifts.

Last week I worked the rehab unit for the first time on nights. I don't think I will EVER work that unit on nights again.

All of the patients are on PRN pain meds, and for some reason, NONE of them are on even the remotest idea of the same schedule. I was running pain meds every 5 minutes all night, plus trying to do my REGULAR work.

Most of the patients are sorta ok mentally, and ALL of them think they are the only one who lives there. :(

Most of the other units I work on have at least an hour of time when nobody is on the lights. That is when I get the extraneous charting, other paper work, labs and etc done.

On the rehab unit, I had to wait till the shift was over to do ANY of my regular work.

It was 10:00 before I got out of there, and I was trying to work around the day shift girls.

The unit I normally work on is almost all permanent LTC patients, whereas the rehab unit is almost always patients I have never seen before.

It sure would have helped if the night nurses would have left me some kind of a cheat sheet, like the other units do. At least I would have been prepared for hell.

The other day the unit manager of the rehab unit came up and asked me if I would work another night shift there, and I emphatically told her no. She looked at me and said, "Is it because you won't get any time to knit on my unit?" I almost slapped her. I didn't dignify her statement with an answer, and just walked away.

That shift needs 2 nurses, and more than 2 aides for 32 patients would be nice......

Other units the load isn't nearly as bad. I get out on time on ANY other unit.

I also work days and pms on all of the units, and I don't mind any of the shifts there.

I guess it depends on who is working when, and what kind of camaradarie is on the unit.

I don't mind any of the shifts, but prefer working pms. I am a night person for the most part, but changing shifts all the time gets confusing.



37 Posts

Where I work we have very few permanent night workers, we all rotate. I have just come off my '5 nights every 5 weeks' and am still trying to catch up with the world. Because of this set up, we have no aminosity between shifts, each can appreciate the work load and needs of the others.

I don't mind the work , yes it is quieter than the day shift rush on our busy surgical ward, its nice to not be so rushed.

I get a chance to catch up with ward correspondence and complete some inservice modules (we have continuous ed in our hospital, everyone is working on pain modules at the moment)

I just hate wiping a week off my life to do it!

I like rdhdnrs comment "nursing is a 24-hour continuity of care profession, and one shift takes up where the other left off" , this is so true so lets be a bit more supportive and understanding of each other.

jayna, RN

269 Posts

...in the hospital where i worked , we have three shifts and do shift rotations...i don't really like the night shift but the best part is the sleeping day..oh how i love that...but i like the day shift (7am to 3.30pm) more than the evening shift(3pm to 11pm)....:D :D


167 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, Emergency, Infusion.

I worked the night shift ICU for three years by my own choice. The few times I would work a day shift, I always left feeling I did not give my patients the time and attention they deserved. All the visitors, other disciplines, docs, managers, patients going to CT, etc. were distracting to me in my goal of patient care. Sure, there were some nights that were crazy like that too, but that was okay.

I only had a problem with one nurse. She had never worked a nightshift (a young nurse having lucked into dayshift positions her entire career.) She would be the only one to complain about the things that didn't get done on the previous shift, especially baths on the vent patients. I usually just ignored her and went home and slept like a baby.

During one period where we had several nurses leave the nightshift within a short period of time, our manager asked the dayshift nurses to pick up a couple of nights per schedule. As luck would have it, I got to work with this nurse on her first night shift ever. She buzzed in like she was going to show us how it was suppose to be done. She found out that patient's don't always sleep through the night; doctor's don't always answer their pages and when they do, they are crabby at 2am; it's not quite as easy as she thought to give a sedated/paralyzed patient a bath without care partners to help; putting in her own orders was a PIA because there was no nightshift secretary; and drawing AM labs on your patients, finishing charting, and trying to stay awake while one of your vent patients decides to extubate himself (doesn't that always seem to happen right before change of shift?) is a very tricky thing to accomplish. I never heard her complain about the nightshift again.

I have worked in a cath lab now for 3 yrs. The other day I floated to the ICU and worked an 8-hr day shift (keep in mind I have not done bedside nursing for at least a year) and even though I thoroughly enjoyed being at the bedside again, (had two vent patients, one we terminally weaned -- so lots of family issues), it made me again appreciate what dayshift nurses put up with. Our hospital is getting open heart within the next year and I plan on leaving the cath lab and going into open heart recovery. Returning to nights, of course!

I appreciate all of you hard working nurses -- no matter what shift you work!!!:D


94 Posts

I'm currently working night shift at a LTC facility for a variety of reasons..and finding it very hard to adjust to. But yes, every morning the day shift comes in and right away takes over, but i understand they have alot to do in a short period of time, soi can understand the attitude.. most mornings lol. However, i can say i am definitly busy most the night ,the paperwork is very heavy and i only have 2 aides for 60 residents and a float if i get very lucky so from 5a to 7a we are running the whole time, me giving meds and tx's and helping my aides get people up and ready for the day. In the Hospital where i was employed, the shift tended to go either way, some nights were very busy, others you had to roam the halls to stay awake. needless to say i tried very hard to stay on my regular 3-11 shift there. I have learned on every shift you do your share what you don't do on one ya gotta pick up on the other, it all evens out in the long run.


21 Posts

Thanks for the post!! Interesting


28 Posts

I work 7p-7a shift. We have plenty of ppl to work nights here..days has a hard time hanging on to nurses. We don't have the aggravation of numerous visitors...drs rnds...other depts taking our charts etc. However our DON at a nurses meeting stated we didn't need so much help since our patients go to sleep at 8:00. I stared open mouth at him...what a stupid statement! Well you know how these things come back to haunt you? Well a yr later he had to work 2 whole months on nights when we had 4 nurses quit. On his third night when we had no nurse assistants show up for work....he was running at full speed..it was 0100 am...I said aren't you glad they go to sleep at 8:00 and you can sit with your feet up? He turned purple and said he couldn't believe he had said that and no one corrected him. I said words like that usually come back to haunt you..and usually with a vengence. It didn't take long before he saw that everyone who was over 80..by themselves became nervous at being alone so called every 5 minutes for little stuff..others climbed bed rails or tried to find the kitchen to start breakfast ha ha etc. Nights is not a cake walk like others think. I tell dayshift all the time I realize how hard they work...it is not my fault more want to work nights than days. Maybe their personality change would help since days is usually the shift of choice everywhere else.

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