Night shift vs. Day shift...

Nurses General Nursing


  • by jaxnRN
    Specializes in OB Labor & Delivery/PP/Nursery/Hospice.

Our hospital works all 12 hours shifts. 6-6:30's. I was wondering , in regard to day or night shifts, how many prefer one over the other. I am thinking about also changing shifts with this new position I have applied for and have always worked days. I like days for the fact that I get to sleep with the rest of my family but working nights is a different world, a USUALLY much milder pace. PLEASE note that I said USUALLY!!!

Also , there always that fringe benefit of shift differential!:)

Anyway, I would like anyone's opinion, the pros and the cons! Thanks!


Hellllllo Nurse, BSN, RN

3 Articles; 3,563 Posts

I have worked mostly nocs for years.

There is usually not as much noise as day shift, as there are not any ancillary employees around, no people in suits walking by talking, fewer family members around, etc.

However, the work load is just as heavy, imo. More pts per nurse, fewer aides.

No dietary (pt hungry or low bs? You'll have to scrounge something up, make sandwiches yourself, etc).

No housekeeping around for messes that occur, the nurses clean up. Batteries go dead in your glucometer, a lightbulb burns out, ink runs out in a copy machine, the nurses take care of it. No unit clerk, either.

In working nocs, I have learned valuable skills, such as how to unclog a toilet with a coat-hanger! lol

Also, at many facilities, pharmacy is closed on nocs. It is a struggle to get meds at times.

Docs who are pleasant enough during the day can be really nasty when you have to call and wake them during the noc.

I prefer nocs, as I am naturally a night person, and loathe to wake up in the dark and very early am!

I like driving to work in less traffic, and grocery shopping when the markets are not crowded, as well.

Some places pay shift diff, some don't.

Pts who are confused/demented have things like activities, meals, visitors, etc. to distract them and keep them busy during the day. Sometimes, these pts just go wild at night.

I do like having the phone ring less, and having fewer or no bosses around at night.

That's my 2 cents.

Best of luck to you in whatever you decide!


6,620 Posts

I prefer nights. I work L&D, so days and nights are the same workload, but I find there are less annoying visitors and less annoying admins on nights. I also love getting home in the morning and crashing for 8 hours straight. I sleep better after a night shift than any other time.

The real con is adjusting back to days on your days off and that night shoft workers die earlier than day shift workers.

BadBird, BSN, RN

1,126 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care.

I started working nights when my kids were born, ex worked days so we did not have to use a babysitter. I love night shift, I can't stand to travel in the am traffic and my poor hubby sleeps good the nights I work, on my nights off my snoring usually keeps him up, the other night at 3am the dog barked I thought he wanted to go out buy hubby said it was my snoring! Other benefits to night shift is less crazy families to deal with, shift differential, better parking.


81 Posts

I was a confirmed night shift person. After 7 years of 12hr night shifts I switched to days to spend more time with my new husband. (We saw more of each other when we lived 2 hrs apart than were did living in the same house). It took some adjusting to get used to waking up with the birds instead of going to sleep as they were singing, but now, after 3 years, I LOVE day shift. Yes, it's busier, more people around etc, but I've come to enjoy the 'land of the living' as it were. One of the things I do miss the most about night shift is the bond that is formed btwn you and your co-workers. You become an extreemly tight net group as there is only each other to depend on. Good luck what ever you do. As others have already said, there are pros and cons with each shift. It winds up being a personal preference. :)


99 Posts

I was a night shifter for all my hospital years...doing a desk RN job now. My experience was a lot different than other my central city pediatric hospital, visitors didn't start showing up until 7 pm and came and went all night. At night we had no support so the RN did all respiratory treatments (sometimes 20 or 30 aerosols a night per RN....albuterol anyone??!!). Per RN assignment is a lot higher. And we got virtually all of our admits on nights.

Definitely look at the unit and its patient flow. Nights can be as fast paced as days depending on the population.


20,964 Posts

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis.

I like night shift better for the teamwork and camaraderie We work tighter, perhaps cause all the ancillary help we have on dayshift is just not there. But dayshift much more agrees w/my internal clock and waistline. I work a I am never bored.

Tweety, BSN, RN

33,498 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

Been on nights for many years. It's hard on the body, and you don't always sleep as well because it goes against the body's natural rhythm.

I especially enjoy not having any management around.

When you work 12 hour days, you have all three meals, the majority of the testing, the mds rounding, not to mention beds/baths, etc. etc. Too much work, and you make less money. Figure that out.

But for many of the above reasons, I stick to nights. I just can't imagine having to be at work at 6AM, I would have to get up around 4:30 and that is pure inhumane.


186 Posts

I always thought of myself as a night person cause I could stay up all night with hubby and watch movies given that I didn't have to go to work...then I went to third shift at a psych hospital as an infirmary nurse and I felt sick and depressed all the time. I dreaded going in soooo bad. The job itself was fine. No visitors, no administration, some patients would sleep but in a psych hospital, there were many having their spells of insanity and irritability. I had to assess them every 4 hours and hated to wake them as they had a tendency to get started with their "behaviors". Overall, I never want to work another night again. I hate getting up early but would rather be miserable for an hour getting ready than miserable all the time. I never felt like I got enough sleep during the day and I was worthless for my family.


458 Posts

Nights rock.

The staff on my floor just seem to help each other out a lot more. I love the people I work with.

It seems like nights are the scapegoats when something isn't done right. 'Cause, as you all know....days are Purrrrfect! NOT!



772 Posts

l work eve/noc shift 3p-3a in ER....definatly almost always busier at nite, yet with less staff as described above....great team work, and while the pace is not laid back, the staff is,....we are great at emprovising, very creative. l am just not a morning person anyway...l get the best of both worlds on this shift. l get home before daylight which gives me a more natural sleep....yip, nites rock!...........LR


35 Posts

I,m a dayshift person..I hate nights. I work 3 12 hour shifts a week, 6am-6pm. On the rare occasion I work a night shift I fel sick for days after. and i'm a really grump person , at least that is what my husband tells me.

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