Most nurses work a variety of different shifts in their careers.  Which of these is the best honestly varies from person to person. Day shift may seem like the obvious choice, but there are some night shift nurses who would disagree.  Here are the pros and cons of each of the most common nurse shifts.

Day Shift Pros

The most obvious benefit to working day shift is getting to sleep on the schedule your body most likely already wants to sleep on.  It’s natural to be more tired at night, and this shift works to your advantage in that capacity. It is also easier to sleep at night for a variety of reasons, including that it’s dark and (usually) quiet.

Day shift nurses also most likely have more support than night shift nurses.  It is common for more people to be around in the daytime hours. While this can mean the hospital is busier on this shift, it also means there are more people around to pick up all that extra work.

Working day shift also gives you the benefit of lining up with the rest of the world’s schedules.  Cafeterias and restaurants are open for lunch, and you’ll be able to meet up with friends in the evenings that also work 9 to 5 jobs. 

Night Shift Pros

Probably the biggest upside to working night shifts is the salary.  Night shift nurses often receive a higher wage for doing basically the same workday shifters do.  If you’re looking to make a little extra cash, switching to night shift may be the way to go.

Night shift is also great for people who are night owls.  No need to get up early when working on this nurse shift. If staying up really late only to sleep through most of the day sounds great to you, consider moving to the night shift.

Everything about commutes is easier for night shift workers.  The odds that there is traffic are very low in the middle of the night.  If you take public transportation, it is much less likely to be crowded, as you’re avoiding rush hours.  Parking is also much easier to find at night.

Some people find that it is easier to manage a family with kids while working the night shift.  Be available for school drop-offs, pickups, dinner, and after school activities by working while your kids are sleeping and sleeping while your kids are at school.  This doesn’t work for everyone, but it is worth considering if you have the option of doing the night shift.

Day Shift Cons

A big con of day shift is getting up early.  Some nurse shifts start as early as 5 am. If you aren’t a morning person, this can be a struggle.

Traffic is also a big factor for day shift nurses.  You always have to consider how long you might be held up on your commute to work each morning as you are probably heading out during the rush hour.  Parking can also be a struggle with all of the doctors and nurses around for the day around the same time.

Night Shift Cons

The biggest con of night shift is obviously the weird sleep schedule.  Sleeping during the day is difficult to adjust to. Over a long period of time, it can be harmful to your health, as it can lead to sleep deprivation.  Trying to figure out when to sleep and when to stay awake on days off and weekends can also be difficult.

Some night shift nurses can feel like they are missing things.  This may not be a huge con, but it is valid to say that important information is often rolled out during the day.  As less management is around overnight, it can be hard to keep up with changes in the workplace.

Need help finding a nursing job?

Whether you want to work day or night shift, New Directions Staffing can help you find the perfect nursing position to fit your needs and skills.  With travel, temporary-to-hire, and full-time options, there is really something for every RN.