I am a new grad (4 months in so far) so take this for what it is worth. Both days and nights are very busy on our unit. I work a medical tele unit in a 900 bed hospital that takes 5 both days and nights. During days, we have a UC, charge with no patients, unit manager, CNM, techs with a 9-1 ratio and doctors on the floor. Nights we have a charge who often has to take 2 patients if we had anyone on call before she can call that person in, 12-1 ration for the techs, no UC, no docs on the unit, no manager, etc. Days typically starts with 5 patients, but very often they are discharging patients and having patients off for lengthy tests, so they frequently do not have 5 on the floor all day. We almost always start with 3-4 on nights and are all the way to ratio by morning. I do 1-2 admits almost every shift. I think it's a little telling when we fight to see who gets to start with 4-5 rather than 3-4. My nights are so much easier typically when I start with 5 rather than 3-4. I have done admits and discharges and I find admits to be way more time consuming. ER tends to send unstable patients in pain and I often wind up tied up in a new admit for 90+ minutes. At least once a week one of the nurses is calling response on a new admit and they often wind up leaving for the Unit before they ever get settled. Waiting on a doc to call back at 0300 when your patient is in afib w/rvr with nothing by po lopressor ordered is stressful.
I think both are very busy. Personally, I like the flow of nights - fewer tests, docs, families, etc. Nights do have 24 hour chart checks, careplans and a few other daily charting requirements that days don't have to deal with. I don't think we should have more than 5 on nights, but 5 on days seemed like far too many when I precepted there. I don't know if with more experience it wouldn't have been quite so overwhelming (I really didn't have my time management down at all before I switched to nights).