Night shift or Day shift as a new nurse?


Suggestions on choosing between day and night shift nursing positions as a new grad.

What are the pros and cons of both?

What are strategic ways to approach choosing one shift over the other?

From my understanding I have been told night shifts are typically more laid back, less chaotic and pay more. On the flip side I have been told day shifts are more hectic so it makes the shift go by quicker and regular sleep schedule.

Side note my speciality will be in women's health. 


MyAimIsTrue, BSN

201 Posts

You will learn more on days, especially time management. I started on days, and now am on nights at a different hospital. My learning has slowed way down, so I'm grateful for that first year on days.


bitter_betsy, BSN

Specializes in Emergency / Disaster. Has 3 years experience. 456 Posts

I am the opposite.  I started on nights and occasionally work days and hate days - for many reasons.

1.  Night shift doesn't have resources.  Need a pharmacist?  They left at 9pm so you have to call pharmacy and ask for what you need.  This is actually great because they will teach you if you ask.

2. Can't get an IV - no PICC team around.  Find a friend and get the ultrasound. You have no other options so you learn.

3. Doctors?  What doctors.  The hospitalists all left and are at home in bed.  Page them.  Keep your patient alive until they call back. This takes team work because you can't do it alone.

Not having the things makes you learn to be more resourceful.  It also gives you more freedom.  You work more closely with the docs you do have and you are a lot more responsible for things.  You have to act quickly to stabilize a patient because it may take 20 minutes to get the hospitalist on the phone.

Our day shift is all about themselves.  They have transport - so they just send up their people.  On Tele going to ICU?? - sure - send em with transport and let em code in the elevator - its all fine.  Night shift works closely together.  Patient comes in and 5 people are in the room getting it done. By the time the doc makes it to the room the patient has had an EKG, is on the monitor, has a line and labs.  

People who don't work night shift say that day shift is fast and night shift is slow.  That isn't my experience either.  Its just different.  I worked a day shift yesterday and it was easier than any night shift I worked.

I sleep tremendously better most of the time during the day than I do at night.  I have always been this way.  I actually flip back and forth and don't have problems.  It really depends on what works for you.  I won't give up my night shift though. 

Oh and night differentials aren't all that - usually just a couple dollars.  Its typically weekends where the money is at.



1 Article; 59 Posts

Thanks for providing so many wonderful points/perspectives ! I greatly appreciate it @bitter_betsy