Are you a morning person who needs a great night of sleep? Or are you a night owl who prefers sleeping in after an all-nighter?
As a nurse, your answers to these questions matter. Day shifts offer different experiences and benefits than night shifts, which can greatly impact your lifestyle preferences.
Finding the balance between a great nursing shift while living your best life is a key to nursing satisfaction. We can help you find that balance as we explore the key benefits and considerations of day shift vs. night shift nursing.
Table of Contents
- Is Night Shift or Day Shift Better as a Nurse?
- Day Shift vs. Night Shift Nursing: Key Considerations
- Breaking Down the Benefits of Being a Day Shift vs. Night Shift Nurse
- Still Unsure Whether Night Shift or Day Shift Nursing Is Right for You? 4 Additional Considerations
- Debating on Day Shift vs. Night Shift Nursing? Trusted Nurse Staffing Provides Nurses With the Opportunity to Pursue a Wide Range of Shifts, Schedules, and Locations
Is Night Shift or Day Shift Better as a Nurse
You want to know if night shift vs. day shift nursing is better, but the answer can be either one. It depends on your preferences.
Some nurses prefer the quieter environment of a night shift, while other others would dread it. It’s important to understand the differences and benefits of each and compare them to what you want in a shift.
Day Shift vs. Night Shift Nursing: Key Considerations
At Trusted Nurse Staffing, we want our nurses to love what they do — and that includes being able to work shifts that pair well with your lifestyle. Consider the following two questions as you discover more about day shift vs. night shift nursing and which might work best for you.
Are You More of a Day or Night Person?
Good sleep is critical to functioning at your best as a nurse. Being alert means avoiding making critical errors and being more aware of patients’ changing conditions.
If your body needs a “normal” sleep routine to function best, then working during the day may be an ideal choice. You’ll be able to wake up more energized and ready to do your job well.
But if you can adjust to sleeping soundly during the day and can stay alert during the night, there are many benefits to night shift nursing.
What Is Your Nursing Style?
Are you a nurse who prefers to go, go, go? Do you like to build connections with families? If so, the day shift might be a better fit for you. If you prefer to work in a clinic with normal hours, then your only choice is probably the day shift.
Or are you a nurse who would rather have time to be more thorough with charting, helping with the tasks day shift nurses may not have time to do? Do you thrive in an environment where you can take charge with less management and other nurses around? If so, night shift nursing might be ideal for you.
Breaking Down the Benefits of Being a Day Shift vs. Night Shift Nurse
Benefits of Day Shift Nursing
There is never a dull moment for day shift nurses. You get to collaborate and learn from other professionals, keep your social life, and most importantly, you won’t have to give up sleeping at night.
The advantages of working during the daytime are many, and that’s why most nurses choose this option.
#1: More Learning Opportunities
Working alongside …
- Surgeons: and
- Other important medical staff
… can help you learn more about many aspects of their jobs.
This is also the shift when attending physicians typically perform their rounds and discuss patients’ symptoms and diagnoses.
Observing doctors and asking them questions can help day shift nurses learn things like how to:
- Improve procedures
- Make diagnoses
- Develop a good bedside manner; and
- Build relationships with patients
#2: You Are More Involved in the Action
Do your nursing career goals include moving to higher positions? Having more opportunities to work alongside doctors, seasoned nurses, and other professionals might be beneficial when applying or asking for a promotion, as management may be familiar with your capabilities.
If you prefer working one-on-one with your patients, the day shift might suit you best. Since many patients are awake and engaged during the day, working the day shift can allow you to build relationships with them and learn more about their needs.
#3: Maintain a Normal Circadian Rhythm
The most obvious advantage of day shift vs. night shift nursing is having a “normal” sleep routine. Sleep loss takes a toll on the body and the mind.
Our circadian clock regulates our body functions, including fluctuations in blood pressure, body temperature, and levels of several hormones and digestive enzymes.
Since we are programmed to feel more tired and need sleep during the night, working during the day tends to be easier and more convenient for most nurses.
The hours for the day shift typically fit with normal sleeping habits, so working the day shift can help you feel more rested and energized for your job. If you’re used to waking up in the morning and sleeping at night, the day shift may be a better option.
Benefits of Night Shift Nursing
With all the great benefits of day shift nursing, you may think the day shift is the best choice for you and your lifestyle. But don’t rush into your decision — night shift nursing comes with perks too. The pay is often higher, the friendships stronger, and the environment quieter.
#1: Potential Shift Differential
While not offered everywhere, one substantial positive for night shift nurses is the potential to earn shift differential pay.
A shift differential is additional pay nurses receive for working “undesirable” shifts, like:
- Weekends: or
This financial incentive can help employers ensure adequate staffing is maintained during these times. How it’s calculated will depend on your employer. But, one thing’s for sure — you will earn more than the day shifters.
The potential to earn substantially more for taking on unconventional hours can weigh heavily when debating day shift vs. night shift nursing. One of the key reasons why most nurses work the night shift is the increased salary that comes with it. This is an excellent opportunity to pay off debt or build savings.
If higher pay is a bonus for you, travel nursing may also be a great fit. No matter how you compare day vs. night shift nursing, travel nursing offers higher pay, among other great perks, when compared to traditional nursing.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can choose your shifts, your locations, and have higher pay, create your free profile below now. We’d love to help you get started!
#2: Stronger Sense of Camaraderie Among Co-Workers
The night shifts may come with less staff and no doctors, but it usually creates strong friendships. You naturally work together closely when fewer people are around. Having to rely on each other for everything will help you build strong relationships.
Due to the quiet nature of the night shift, you can have more time to chat and get to know one another. This can help set a positive tone for the workplace and even increase morale among you and your colleagues. It can also improve teamwork, helping you accomplish your tasks more efficiently.
#3: Working in a Quieter Atmosphere — In MOST Cases
If you’re considering night shift nursing for less drama or a quieter environment, you want to steer clear of the emergency room (although night shifts in the ER tend to be quieter than day shifts).
For most cases of night shift nursing, you can expect a working environment that is quieter and less busy since:
- Most patient procedures are completed during the day
- Patients are usually sleeping
- Visitors are gone; and
- Most doctors work the day shift
This can make the night shift a quieter work environment where you can perform your duties mostly undisturbed and accomplish your tasks as scheduled.
Still Unsure Whether Night Shift or Day Shift Nursing Is Right for You? 4 Additional Considerations
What Is Your Family Life Like?
Managing family obligations can be tough for night shift nurses, especially if you have younger children.
Balancing your family’s needs with your need for sleep and downtime may make working night shifts difficult. In this case, day shift vs. night shift nursing might be a better fit for you.
On the other hand, if your partner’s schedule works well with yours, night shifts could allow you to be more present for other important family life moments.
What Kind of Social Life Do You Prefer?
Do you cherish your nights out on the town with friends? If so, night shift nursing may not be ideal for you.
But you can still have a social life while working the night shift. The secret? Make friends with your night shift coworkers. Make plans to go out for breakfast or hit the gym right after your shift ends.
Do You Maintain an Overall Healthy Lifestyle?
Many nurses who work night shifts have a tough time keeping up with exercising and sleeping. It can be hard to stay on track, and working this shift can come with serious risks if you don’t take the proper precautions.
For example, interrupting the body’s natural circadian rhythm has the potential to result in weight gain and increase the risk for insomnia and heart disease.
Links have been found between working night shifts and:
- High blood pressure
- Anxiety; and
- Traffic accidents
If you think night shift nursing is best for your lifestyle, there are ways to ensure you maintain your health and are able to perform well during your nursing shifts.
Some night shift nursing survival tips include:
- Get adequate sleep
- Use caffeine wisely
- Make healthy meal and snack choices
- Monitor your health
- Bond with your co-workers
Debating on Day Shift vs. Night Shift Nursing? Trusted Nurse Staffing Provides Nurses With the Opportunity to Pursue a Wide Range of Shifts, Schedules, and Locations
If you love …
- Choosing your shifts
- Variety in your life; and
- More money
… traveling around the country as a travel nurse just might be for you.
As a travel nurse with Trusted Nurse Staffing, you get even more benefits such as:
- The highest pay rates in the industry
- 24/7 access to a real person who is always there to help
- Housing, meal, and travel stipends on top of your regular wages (usually tax-free)
- Regular bonuses
- Great insurance benefits
- A 4% match 401(k)
- And much more
If you’ve been thinking about travel nursing, simply create a profile with Trusted Nurse Staffing. We will help you decide if day shift vs. night shift nursing is best and help you begin building a life you will love.