Published Oct 16, 2009
As a new LVN at a LTC, which shift would you prefer? And what are the differences and its duties???
I prefer 11 PM - 7 AM myself. Only because I never see my daughter during the other shift and it breaks my heart.
11 PM - 7 AM includes hourly rounds where I am. Changing over the MARs, main cupboard and cart counts, patient personal care as needed, resettling patients, etc. Depending on the patient load, a good book and lots of coffee :)
3 PM - 11 PM includes prepping for dinner, prepping for bed, helping everyone into bed, settling them in for the night, cart counts depending on the floor, and prn pt personal care, etc.
Night shift is easier to learn on because there is less going on and it is less stressful. The emphasis is for the residents to get rest during the night. You have time to ask questions of your coworkers and to pick up on things in a quieter atmosphere. During the PM shift, there is still a lot going on from the day. You will have to deal with family members until visiting hours are over. They can be troublesome. You will be dealing with leftovers like waiting for callbacks from doctors and making sure that late orders are implemented. There are major med passes and the CNAs are involved with getting the residents into bed and settled for the night. Invariably there will be a fall or two and sometimes they will get sick after dinner and you have to contact the doctor. I would start out on night shift. Once you are settled in, if you feel the hours don't suit you it will be easier to go to swing shift and it won't all be so new to you. Or you can do what some people do, work some shifts at night and some shifts on swings. Whatever works out best for you. Good luck.
If you have children, go for the 11-7 shift, 3-11 just doesn't work if you have children in school. I slept while they were in school, was awake for dinner, homework, after school activities, then put them to bed @ 8pm so I could take a nap before work if I needed to. It worked out a lot better for me than for my freind who chose the 3-11 shift.
IMO, 3p-11p is the worst shift to work. Yous shift starts to early to do anything meaningful and ends too late to go out. Not to mention you have to work that god forsaken schedule 5 evenings/week. Plus as night shift, you get out of having to do your morning and evening med passes.
HisTreasure, BSN, RN
Evenings are good if you have younger children who aren't in school but it isn't really conducive to family life. That said, I had a lot of fun when I worked evenings. It was laid back, the med pass was horrible but you get used to it. You can still do your treatments such as wound care and IV meds (which I personally appreciated) and you can usually wind down to chart and chit chat by 9-9:30. Nights is even more laid back and can be fun. It's just a different atmosphere. Med pass is light at best, non-existant in some cases, and most of the residents are asleep. Now, perhaps it was just the unit I worked, but those residents who weren't asleep were the ones that you WISHED would sleep They keep things interesting. I found falls to be more prevalent during nights... usually at about 6:30 AM. That sucks. But, for a new nurse I would also say nights is good to learn. You'll appreciate the downtime come end of the month (MAR time).
As other posters have mentioned, your family situation is a big factor. Next, the size of the facility or whether or not you're going to be the only nurse on duty is also a big factor. 11-7 may be slower paced than 3-11, however, all other services (maintenance, admin, etc.) are usually not available and the nurse gets to handle all situations which may occur. This is also true for part of 3-11, however, it's much easier to get a hold of someone at 21:00 as opposed to 02:00. 3-11 is usually very busy during the first half of the shift while 11-7 tends to be busier towards the end of the shift. Duties, specifically, vary widely from facility to facility. I always considered 11-7 to be more of a lifestyle than just another shift. Some folks have no trouble at all adapting to 11-7, while others struggle immensely.
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