Which shift is better for a new nurse?

Specialties Ob/Gyn


I'm interested working in Maternity Unit but the hospital I'm working right now has only opennings for night shift. My concern is... Will I also learn and experience as much as working in day shift? I worked in Med Surg floor and noticed that for a new nurse who's just starting to build on experience...day shift is more beneficial since most of procedures are done on days and there are more interaction with doctors and other hospital staffs. I have no clue at all if it's the same at Maternity Unit .... probably not since delivering a baby comes anytime??:rolleyes:


406 Posts

You will most likelyhave orientation during the day, then go to night shift. Yes, you will be busy at night...maybe not as much interaction with doctors or residents, and I can't really think of any procedures that are done during the day that arent donea t night...maybe circs?


236 Posts

Some people say that it is better to start on nights because it isn't quite as hectic. I guess it really depends on the person.


124 Posts

This is my experience as a nurse manager for the last 22 months: It is better for new people to start on dayshift where they can build on their OB knowledge and learn day to day operations while their are plenty of resources available such as physicians and their nurse manager. In our hospital, we are unionized and the nurses work a fixed shift- which means that your more experienced nurses are on dayshift. On the day shift, you will get to initiate inductions more often, participate in elective C-Sections, assist with scheduled antepartum procedures such as amnioscentesis, fetal versions, NST's etc. Then there are circs, and discharge teaching opportunities more often on days.

Near the end of the orientation, I send the new person to nights because I understand that he/she will be adjusting his/her lifestyle and may not be as alert during this adjustment period. During this period of lack of alertness, the new person is not as receptive to new material- this is why I like to see most of the basic orientation done on days.

I hope this helps!



124 Posts

The exception to my above statement is the person who is truly nocturnal. In my 14 year nursing career, I have only met two people like this.

Good luck to you, inna!



1 Article; 5,758 Posts

The important thing here is that no matter what shift the new person is working they must recieve patient and loving support. No matter where you are or what time your are if you are thrown to the wolves you will not prosper.


20,964 Posts

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

We are just as busy at night as on dayshift, but must function more independently, using our judgement more keenly, because we don't have the doctors down the hall to call at a moment's notice. And they get purty durn upset if we call for anything they perceive as trivial, getting quite cranky at having their sleep distupted. NO getting them over "just for a quick opinion"--we have tohave it formed and ready when we call them.

WE also have fewer ancillary personnel so we have to do a lot more of our own lab draws on moms and babies, respiratory-type work, etc. We do all daily weights on babies, PKU draws, remove all cord clamps, and restock everything at night . (time permitting as this is done while patients are sleeping (if they do). Also, moms tend to send babies out to us to watch them so they can sleep. So you see, it is NOT less hectic, but there is MUCH more learning opportunity on dayshift. As said above, you initiate inductions more often, do more Non-stress tests, more elective/planned csections, much more discharge teaching (which you really need to be doing to understand what patients go home with), and more circ's (at least where I work).

But I want to make it clear to you; it won't be "easy" to work nights; you will be expected to be quick and READY in an urgent/emergent situation AND have many things done PRIOR to calling the doctor (e.g. initiating set-up for a csection due to poor fetal strip, etc). So, I suggest you orient and learn on the dayshift. THEN move to nights when you have had experience on OB. Good luck to you!

Sable's mom

186 Posts

Specializes in NICU, L&D, OB, Home Health, Management.

I agree with layna and deb - while you will get the beginnings of your OB base on days, when you move to nights you will need to be more independant. Don't let them hurry your orientation, or leave you without experienced back up until you are ready.

I am one of the truly 'nocturnal' people - when I have to work days I have a special "get to go back to night shift" dance!!!

Good luck and welcome to OB.


814 Posts

Caution, One way some hospitals save money is to reduce staff at night. We have no aides, no phlebotomy, no pharmacy. We are overworked. Ask about the support staff before you jump into nights. Usually OB is pretty well staffed though because this is the department that hospitals count on for high customer satisfaction rates. Hard not to be happy when you are bringing home your little bundle of joy.


285 Posts

speaking of reduced staff at night, what is that average ratio you have at night vs. the day? I might be working at a hospital (nights) where the average ratio is 1:23 (for a CNA). Is that good?



1,804 Posts

definitely essential to start on days and see routine stuff there. one of the best favours you can for do your orientees is to put them w/ a consistent,patient, and competent preceptor no matter what the shift.

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