Nurse Carrie and Nurse Emily contributed to this post. Nurse Carrie works day shift in the Trauma ICU and Nurse Emily works night shift in the Neuro ICU. They both work at a Level 1 Trauma Center in Houston, TX.
4 Benefits of Day Shift
1- Normal Sleep Schedule
This is a huge benefit! Being able to sleep with no interruptions is priceless. It’s much easier sleeping at night than trying to sleep during the day. Nobody is cutting the grass or ringing the doorbell around midnight.
2- Cafeteria is Open
If you don’t bring lunch to work, day shift may be right for you! Being able to run down to an open cafeteria to grab a good meal and snack is a huge benefit to those of us who are always hungry!! For those working nights, cafeterias may not be open 24/7.
3- Lots of Staff Present
Due to the amount of people working during the day, there is help and different opportunities for learning. Have an urgent question for the physician, dietitian, wound care specialist, or physical therapist? No worries, most departments have staff available during the day to help assist with any questions you have. Also, numerous different procedures take place during the day which can provide opportunities to observe and learn new skills.
4- “Happy Hour”
After a long shift, there is nothing better than going out with team members. Now, happy hour is probably over by the time everyone clocks out but that won’t stop anyone. All the best restaurants and bars will still be open. Try going to happy hour the morning after a long night shift…the only options are Denny’s, IHOP, and Waffle House…
4 Benefits of Night Shift
Got bills? Like fancy things? Well, night shift is your answer! The shift differential is only a few dollars an hour but that cash can make a BIG difference on your paychecks.
2- Less Traffic
Working night shift helps to avoid most of the highway traffic. You basically get the road to yourself. Less commute time = More sleep! We could all use more sleep.
3- Better Parking
Night shifters usually enjoy better parking accommodations. Depending on the city where you work, hospital parking can be very limited. Day shift typically has to park off campus or on the very top floor of the parking garage. Night shift staff basically get “VIP” parking because there are limited visitors and staff during the late night hours.
To clarify, just because it’s quieter does not mean it’s not busy. Night shift can be very busy! I’m talking about the organized circus that takes place during the day. This is a summary of what day shift looks like: Physicians at the work spaces, medical students in the hallway, multiple visitors per room, nursing students answering call lights, and management walking around making sure the whiteboards are up-to-date. Ok, that description may be over-dramatic but the hallways during night shift are way less crowded. This makes for a much quieter environment and can be a huge benefit for some.
Thoughts From Nurse Blake
I’ve had the pleasure of working both shifts as a nurse. There are pros and cons to each and I don’t favor one over the other. You just have to chose which shift works best for your work-life balance.