Shift Wars

Nurses General Nursing


Is anyone else haveing trouble with shift wars were they work?

It's bad where i work!! Days against evenings, eveings against nights, everyshift complaining about all other shifts! It never ends!

I've work all the shifts and I know each have their problems and are hetic. No one has it easy. They are all short staffed and over worked. Then throw in a few emergencies or patients that need monitoring every 15-30 minutes and it makes a hetic shift even worse! The morale is really bad.

I've been in nursing about 5yrs, I'm new to the boards and would like to get the views, suggestions or comments from other nurses. I'm so frustrated right now. I live in a very small town, job opportunites are great and finding another job is nearly impossible. Actually we're the only hospital in my town, the nearest other town is an hour's drive. I'm lucky to have this job, there's so many people unemployeed here. But I'm beginning to wonder if I picked the wrong field. I love nursing, the patients and the work is challenging. I just cant stand all the fighting and conflict with the staff. Someone is always going to the top complaining about the other shifts not pulling thier share of the load. A lot of the nurses have started keeping a work journal to account for every minute of thier shift. This is ridiculous that's it's come to that. Once I go home I like to spend time with my children... not spend the time reflecting on my day at work and writing each every thing that happened and what I did in a journal.

Thanks for any input, support or suggestions that may be given. smile.gif

Dear Fellow Frustrated Nurse. I too have trouble with our unit but its between 2 ICUS. ICU 2 East thinks they are better and are more knowledgeable than ICU East. We, ICU East, are "Prima-donas", "we ask for too many nurses for our accuity". Its about to make you crazy. We're all there for one reason. I have been at this institution for 13 years. The next closest Hosp is 40 min away. The institution knows this and they do what they want when they want. I call it a dictatorship. At the spur of any moment they will change the policy or rules for the day. Our shift wars don't sound as bad as yours.I'd have to say, the shifts are very considerate. Midnights make sure at least half the baths are done. The charge nurse tries to split up your assignment so you dont have 2 baths to give. We're pretty lucky in that respect. I've been ready to get out of nursing for the last 5 years. What is the answer? Youre not alone.


36 Posts

We have two hospitals in our town, and I have worked in both over the past ten years. These types of "wars" go on in both, so I don't think it has anything to do with being an isolated facility. I found a home based business I am getting started in my spare time. It won't be long till I am out of the middle of these "wars". Email me if you want info, as it is a great opportunity for nurses.

[email protected]


131 Posts


I am sure that any place in the world has the same issue.

I am in LTC management and I hear my nurses make snide remarks on how the shift that the particular nurse works in always the worse.

As manager I have tried to divide some of the work loads, but there is always something that keeps a nurse from finishing his/her tasks.

The only way I see this problem coming close to being resolved is for all nurses to switch shifts and see what the other does. But I know that won't happen.

I believe that we need to remember that as a team we can produce results as antagonists we will not accomplish anything.

Good Luck with your situation

NA smile.gif

Yes- I know from experience about the shift wars. I worked m/s for a year at a facility with shift conflicts. Three months ago I switched facilities and the new hospital doesn't have the shift wars! Hooray. The differences that I notice is that nurses at the new facility support one another regardless of shift. If "unfinished tasks" get passed on, we don't make faces or complain. If one shift doesn't get something done, the next shift nurses actually reply, "That's okay- I'll do it." It's nice!In my previous job, everyone liked to complain about "how busy they were" and how "their shift is the hardest." At the hospital I now work at, we have regular nursing meetings where all 3 shifts meet to discuss problems and possible solutions.I think the shift conflicts may also be related to overall low morale. For example, my last position was terribly understaffed. Nurses on every shift felt over burdened to begin with- and that they were supplementally "dumped on" by the previous shift or critically treated by the oncoming nurses. You can run your fanny all night w/o a break, no BRP, etc & still get treated like dirt by your peers. Pretty sad. I suggest either arranging regular multi-shift nursing meetings to discuss concerns, or maybe looking at another facility? Try not to indulge in the "my shift has it worst" diatribes.It would be nice if you could work things out at your current job. Good luck! There are nurses out there that do support one another.You've heard the saying, "nursing is a 24 hour job." You can't do it all in one shift.


53 Posts

I have seen this situation occur at two different hospitals that I have worked. At one hospital, the "shift war" got to be so bad, that the DON said, each shift will rotate forward one shift until they have worked all 3 shifts - then they will see what the other shift does and can come back to their own shift and make some logical, realistic plans to stop the "war". Believe me, that caused a war in itself. We had a union, and they couldn't stop the rotation as it was only "temporary". It was a real eye opener for all the staff and stopped the "war". We rarely heard any grumbling after that, if so, it was done outside of the hospital. One of the biggest things that I see is the inability of nurses to understand that all nurses do not develop organization and clinical skills at the same speed - if at all. Too bad, we are all needed. Good luck with your problem.


1,301 Posts


Every setting that I've worked in has always had the devil in the details. I've just tried to focus on what I like about the job and learn as much as possible from the job. Keeping a cool head is important. I agree that one should probably leave if the job begins to affect their work performance and quality of life at home. Living in a small town I'm sure limits your options. Is it possible to transfer to another part of the hospital? Would you be interested in working in another setting that would utilize your knowledge and/or skills? Are you able to drive to another town to work? Have you thought about supplementing your nursing education with additional learning so that you would have something else to fall back on? I think it is a positive to have a nursing background. There are many other areas that you can transfer your aqcuired abilities to. Best wishes for your success.

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