New Grad - Hired on days...appropriate to ask to switch to nights?

Specialties Med-Surg


Hello allnurses!

I was recently hired as a new grad (YAY!) on on a very busy med-surg unit (8 patients on days/8 on nights). I was offered a position for days, but I did mention to the nurse manager up-front how I would be very interested in working a night position (the funny thing is....I am a night owl and I prefer working 7p-7a). A friend of mine works on this particular floor on nights and she said she personally feels as though nights is much more tolerable. She has done both shifts and said days were extremely overwhelming for her.

I'm currently 3 weeks into my orientation and am currently taking 4 patients on my own. I am sooo nervous to be on my own in 3 weeks (orientation is 6 weeks long). I really want to mention to/remind my nurse manager how I would really love to switch to nights if something opens up but am not sure how to approach her on the manner? Granted I did mention this during the interview, but I am wondering how to bring up the topic without seeming ungrateful/demanding?

I know nights will still be extremely challenging, but from what the other nurses tell me, the pace is sometimes just a tad bit better for new-grads.

What do you all think? Is there an appropriate way to ask this without seeming ungrateful?

I did forget to mention that on my interview the nurse manager stated she would be open to switching me to the night shift once a position opens up. Since this was several weeks ago however, I did want to follow-up with her statement.

Wow, I feel like I'm on the same boat as you!! I also got hired for a day shift position on med surg. I really have been wanting to work nights (slower pace, more time to absorb what you are doing, less staff and families and physicians..basically less chaotic).

But when they told me only days was available I didn't want to say anything bad about it and didn't

want to make it seem like I couldn't

handle days (I'm not sure if I can

handle it but I need any job badly

and didn't want jeopardize chances

of getting the only day position

available). So I wasn't honest about

my hesitation bout day shift. I had first day of orientation and I still can't see myself ever feelin entirely comfortable on days. Of course I'm new and if I give it a chance I'll eventually do okay hopefully. But I just know it's not for me and how I work.

It's a totally different environment and culture on nights vs. days and I'd like to give days a try but I'm pretty sure nights is a better fit for me... I'm okay sticking with days for orientation but I'd love to switch to nights once I'm off!!! Unfortunately I know a few day nurses will be transferring to other units and they are in need of day nurses at this moment. I don't know when there will be night openings.

Should I be honest in my reason for wanting nights? Or will they let me go during 90 day probation if theres no night openings and if I share that I don't think days is for me and I can't handle it? How should I bring this up?

Specializes in MS, ED.

JME, but perhaps there is more to this than simply having a night position open. I too started as a new grad on days and remained on days for a good six months after orientation despite wanting to move to nights. My floor was hellish and I felt then that days were particularly bad - so much more to do with doctors, PT, OT, dietary, rehab evals, care managers, social work, etc writing notes and new orders along with your admissions, discharges and transfers. After six months of taking a beating on days, I began to work some evenings and eventually moved to nocs after a year or so (more convenient schedule for me with school).

In retrospect, my NM was right to keep me on days until I could get the hang of things. I needed to familiarize myself with policy, available resources and the usual flow of things, (for instance, what issues to anticipate getting someone ready for possible d/c to rehab in 1-3 days.) I needed to start thinking like a nurse and learn to care for my patients - meaning, thinking ahead, planning for their care, knowing who to call to get things done, having people to look to and turf things to when things needed to be escalated. I also needed assessment skills and lots of practice getting things done - IVs, caths, blood products, etc - over and over until I could accomplish them quickly and efficiently while juggling a full patient assignment...

because I didn't realize how difficult nights can be, flying with no net. You have less staff, more patients and fewer resources. Where I work now, I might be the only 'house' RN on a wing, with only an agency or traveler nurse flanking the adjoining wing. While there might be less meds to give overnight, you tend to get as many (or more) admissions and it seems nocs is when people somehow decide to bleed, vomit, seize, code or otherwise crump. You do need those skills you're learning and perfecting now; unfortunately, you may not get the experience you need moving so quickly to nights and you don't have as much help to make up for it.

Again - JME. Good luck, whatever you choose.

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