Night Shift or Evening Shift

  1. I am a new nurse and am fortunate enough to have been offered a positions, an option of two actually. The two positions available are a 32 hr Night (11-7 4 nights per week) or 32 hr Evening (3-11 4 evenings per week). I am so torn....I want to do nights because I will have time in the evening to see my FH, friends and family, but I am also concerned about my health and sleep deprivation. Evenings are tempting because I can sleep at night or at least from 2a- 830a but and concerned I will feel like I have no free time. I am just looking for some feedback from nurses that have worked either one or the other or both I would like to hear what you liked and disliked about the shift/s and if you had to make a decision between the night and evening which would you pick?

    Any input would really help...Thanks!
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    About MsNewbie

    Joined: Dec '11; Posts: 2


  3. by   pat8585
    I just asked a similar question!
    I think I would have problems biologically with doing overnite work.

    Hard for me to sleep in the daytime. But everyone is different.
    Right now I work a lot of 3-11 shifts and overall it works.
    But if you have kids, you miss a lot of their stuff.
    If you desperately want to get your "foot in the door" take ANYTHING.
    good luck to you!
    btw...what does FH mean?
  4. by   DutchRN09
    I have worked 3-11 and liked that I could do things during the day and sleep at night, but you are never home (obviously) for meals. I work noon-2030 now, its a little better, but I want 3 12 hr days
  5. by   canesdukegirl
    I have worked both shifts. I will share my experiences with both:

    Evening shift SOUNDED good to me...I get to sleep in, I can take my time getting ready, I don't have to fight traffic...OH YEAH BABY!! Then reality hit. When I arrived at 1100, I was doing lunch reliefs until around 1430. Then I would take my own lunch. Then I would relieve the nurses who went home at 1500. And relieve the ones that went home at 1700. I didn't really have a 'home', but I was taking over for someone else, which meant that I had to double check all of their work to make sure I didn't miss anything. When my shift was over, it took me quite a while to decompress when I came home, and oftentimes would not fall asleep until 0300. I found that I was sleep deprived, because I was getting an average of 6 hours of sleep per night. And I didn't get jack done around the house.

    Night shift was only slightly better. I liked working 12 hour shifts, but found it very difficult to adjust to being awake during the day on my days off. My body was confused and I lost any sort of circadian rhythm that I had. I started to get depressed, missed my husband, and missed the SUN! My friends did not understand that they couldn't call me during the day because I had to sleep. If I wanted a glass of wine at the end of my shift (which was at 0800), my husband would look at me completely aghast and say, "I think you have a problem if you are drinking first thing in the morning." I had to remind him that his morning was my night time. I gained weight. I felt run down a lot. When I was done with my last night shift, I would try to get lots of stuff done around the house, run errands, etc. Sometimes I would stay up for 24 hours just because I didn't realize that time had gotten away from me as I was completing chores, going to meetings, and running errands. Which meant the next day was pretty much shot.

    I figured out that off shifts do not agree with my body. I am a closet morning person, but I didn't know it until I worked evenings and nights. I am MUCH happier with set routine working days.

    I hate to sound like a downer, but I wanted to give you my perspective. Everyone has their own 'body clock'. Mine just didn't like nights! I am sure that you will find nurses on this site who LOVE nights and can tell you all sorts of great things about working nights and evenings.

    Reading different perspectives and experiences from members of this site is what makes allnurses so wonderful. I hope that you get some great feedback and can make your decision based on your lifestyle and 'body clock'. Good luck to you!
  6. by   MsNewbie
    @ Pat8585 an FH is Future Husband, and thanks for the reply!

    @ canesdukegirl Thank you so much for your input. I too am a morning person unfortunately the day shift is not an option at this time. This is such a hard decision so it's nice to hear what everyone has to say. Thanks again
  7. by   Sparrowhawk
    I LOVE evenings...I get to sleep in the my body is rigged for afternoons.
    Downside..never get evenings to spend with my family...
  8. by   stephenfnielsen
    If you are a social person who likes to do things during the day- run away from the night shift fast! You will either compromise your relationships or your health. I've worked every shift and currently work a 08-1630 and love it. 12hr shifts are just not a good idea if you want to avoid burnout. An 8hr evening shift is a cake walk, many of the same benefits of the night shift, but not the same drawbacks.
  9. by   HeartsOpenWide
    Night shift nearly killed me. The first few months were great, I was taking Ambien CR and doing very well. But then my body got use to it and it stopped working. By the end of the 10th month I was taking Ambien CR and Nyquil just to get to sleep, and taking a second dose of Ambien CR a few hours later. I was getting, at most, 4 hours a sleep--and not all at once. I went to the doctor, she rattled off a bunch of sleeping medication I could try instead; all I already tried, all that failed. By the end of the appointment I completely fell apart. She told me I look haggard and said that if I did not get a day position she was putting me on disability for exhaustion. I know you think you are going to see friends and family more on the NOC shift, but unless you are a champ at sleeping in the day, you still wont see them. I had NO social life for the ten months I worked NOCs, my entire life revolved around stressing about getting sleep (or not getting it in my case)...I slept in a very dark room; tin foil over the windows, with mini-blinds and corduroy drapes over that. I even urinated in a plastic trash can next to the bed so I did not have to leave the dark room and go to a bright bathroom to releave myself; I was that desperate...and I still was not sleeping.

    Evening shift? You get off work, go to the bar with your co-workers, get in about 0100, sleep until 0900 and have five hours to play.
  10. by   hiddencatRN
    I work nights and evenings after working days on orientation. It can be tough, sometimes my schedule doesn't line up with DH's and it feels like we don't see eachother for days at a time. But sometimes it lines up and works. I'm better about sleeping during the day- I put a pillow over my face and silence the phone and rarely need benadryl anymore. But there are times when I have to do things the day after a night shift, like today. Got home at 8:30, went out house hunting (somewhat hysterical on adrenaline, a little goofy the whole time). Came home and slept for two hours and now I'm up, wide awake.... second time I've done that this week because the time when DH and I can be together with the realtor is what it is.

    I think long term it won't work out but for now I'm doing it and will re-evaluate when it stops working. Socializing is tricky and the house is a pigstye because the last thing I want to do when I'm home on days off is clean. If I could be guaranteed a regular schedule I might lean towards evening shifts because it would mean the least amount of sleep schedule juggling.
  11. by   suanna
    Don't underestimate the physical and mental stress on working nights. If you aren't used to it can take a real toll on your physical and mental health. For the first 6mos in practice I would advise you to take the 3-11 position. You will have more support staff around, the docs are easier to reach and make more sense when you call them, and you won't have to cope as much with sleep deprivation while you master the skills of a practicing nurse. I know very bright, capible nurses who work days and evenings who were dangerously brain damaged when they worked nights. Sure, it's true you have less of a personal life when on 3-11, but positions on nights (11-7 or 7p to 7a) are almost always opening up if you decide it is a shift you want in 6mos or a year.
  12. by   Roxyann57
    I work 3-11. It's my favorite shift. I am young, single, and have no children. I can see my family on my days off/weekends off. I can sleep in or have the ability to wake up early and do things during the day and still go out after work. I know a lot of nurses I work with complain because they never see their kids or families. The evenings have a lot more families and I like it best. I've worked 11-7 and it just messes with your sleep and life. I'll only do it to cover when they need me.
  13. by   brandy1017
    If you are able to work on nights that would be the better choice socially. Get blackout shades or eye mask so you can sleep during the day, try melatonin.

    I've worked all three shifts and I love the nights the best, days is so hectic and your being pulled and interrupted by everyone. PM's is so antisocial because you work when most are off, get home and most are sleeping and in the morning most are at work. Noc's you can go to sleep in the morning and see people in the afternoon. You can even go shopping after work or talk to someone if you want before you go to bed.

    Some night people sleep a few hours in the morning then a few hours in the evening before work. I couldn't function like that! I need a good solid block of time, I prefer 8 hours but can get by on 5 for a short time.

    In my experience when I did PM's I'd be wide awake and full of adrenalin and not able to sleep until the middle of the night, then sleep in and next thing you know its time to go to work.

    If you go out with friends to the bars a lot at night, then maybe PM's would work ok for you. Where I work most of the PM nurses switch to a different shift as soon as they are able, the majority switch to days or 12 hr days and occasionally someone will choose 12 hour nights.

    I had a choice of any shift or FTE back when I made the switch to 12 hr nights and I am the most happy with that. I like having 4 days off, the only downside is the 12 hr weekends and holidays so 32hr Nocs would be even better for that reason. Unfortunately they don't offer 8 hr Nocs where I work anymore, its mostly 12hr days/nights and occasionally PM's.

    Also PM's tends to get mandated a lot as nocs are always short so keep that in mind as well. If you want to try PM's I'm sure you could always switch to another shift later on if you don't think nights wouldn't work for you sleep wise.

    Some people don't function well on nights, tired, nauseated and also shift work, esp nights has been associated with increased risk of cancer, so you have to do what's right for you.
  14. by   joanna73
    I love nights and I hate days. Even when I worked days, I wanted to stay up at night. There is something inhuman about getting up at 0530a. For the people who don't like the dark....well even on days its dark when you wake up and dark when you leave work. I don't see the difference.

    The only thing that works for me is maintaining a night schedule on nights off. Switching to days is pointless and that is ultimately what hurts people. I also eat healthy, exercise and take melatonin.