Choosing the night shift vs. day shift can be a challenging decision. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. While there may be more autonomy, quiet, and team building on the night shift, your sleep cycle will be disrupted, among other things. In this article, we discuss six aspects of your life to consider when determining which shift is the best fit for you. Before accepting a change to your schedule, think about what is good not only for you and your career but for your family and lifestyle as well.
Time of Day
If you get to sleep and stay asleep most nights, a change to the night shift may not be the best for you. You may experience symptoms like fatigue and sleep deprivation because you’re working when you’d normally be asleep. In an effort to keep the pace, you may turn to caffeine which can wake you up but only for a short period of time. That said, there are other benefits to working the night shift which we discuss here.
Whether you’re moving to day shift or night shift, we recommend moving your sleep times an hour at a time over the course of a few days so your body can adjust.
Noise & Pace
Our travel nurses report that day shifts are busier and noisier than night shifts. For some, the pace can be exhilarating and make the time go faster. For others, the night shift provides solace to spend more time with patients, refine clinical skills, and bond with colleagues that isn’t possible during the day.
While the day shift offers opportunities to be mentored, travel nurses who work the night shift tell us they like that nurses and doctors are able to discuss cases together. During the day, there is so much happening that often they’re just handling the most important patient care tasks. If you like the mentoring and team building part of patient care, consider the night shift.
If your cafeteria is open all night, count yourself lucky; most aren’t open past dinner. It’s convenient if you work the day shift, though the costs can add up. On the night shift, you may eat healthier because you’re packing your own meals and may not have as much access to high-calorie food and drinks. Of course, if your night shift colleagues like sweet treats, you could be in trouble no matter what you’ve packed!
Earning Power of Night Shift vs Day Shift
Night shift workers tend to earn more money for the simple reason that there has to be an incentive to cover these shifts. You’re adjusting your natural sleep rhythms and social life to take care of patients so you’re earning more than dayshift counterparts. Is the trade-off worth it? That’s for you to decide.
As a night shift travel nurse, you’re not working when most people are which means you can grocery shop, get gas, and take care of other personal errands without the crowds. On your way to work, you’re likely not sitting in traffic jams like your dayshift counterparts. For that alone, it may make it worth it.
However, when you’re on the day shift, you’re able to have a relatively normal social life going out with friends who may not work in the medical field. You’ve got to weigh that against the career and earning opportunity.
While your earning power may be more as a night shift worker, you may choose day shift simply because it is better for you and your family.
We have positions for both day and night shift travel nurses across the country! Check out the AB Staffing Job Board or give us a call at 888.515.3900 to speak to someone today!