Ashley Carty is a seasoned medical professional with over 8 years of experience working at the top hospitals in Southern California, including Hoag, Saddleback Memorial, and UCSD.
Are you currently working in a hospital or skilled facility and considering working night shift? Or maybe you’re considering applying for a night shift role to increase your chances of getting your foot in the door? To help you determine if the night shift is for you, we’ve compiled a list of the pros and cons of working night shift.
Have you been trying to get your foot in the door at a hospital and can’t seem to nail an interview? If you don’t have a strong resume or meet the hiring criteria, it might be time to apply for night-shift positions. Fewer people apply for these positions for obvious reasons, which could increase your chances of getting hired.
Working night-shift can also be an excellent opportunity to get your feet wet. What do we mean by this? Essentially, working the night shift is known to be easier than the day shift because there is less going on. Most patients sleep at night, decreasing the number of times they hit their call lights to use the restroom, request medications, visits by their physician, or family members calling on you to see how they are doing.
Overall, things are typically slower. Due to this, it’s a great way to get your feet wet as a new nurse or other healthcare providers without getting in too over your head. Granted, emergencies still happen, patients do get transferred to units in the middle of the night, and there is still a significant amount of work to be done.
As shared above, the night shift can be slower-paced than the day shift (not always), and for those that don’t thrive in fast-paced environments, the night shift may be the best fit. With all the hustle and bustle during the day, it requires all healthcare providers to be on their a-game, on their toes, and quick to respond.
This can be extremely stressful for anyone who doesn’t thrive in this type of environment. Do you love to be kept on your toes your entire shift and thrive in a fast-paced environment? If so, the night shift might not be the best fit for you.
Another reason people will opt for night shifts is due to the lack of daycare. If you’re a parent with a significant other who could stay home at night while you work and in-turn you are home during the day while your significant other is at work, this can be a great way not to spend hard-earned money on daycare.
The parent that works days will commonly take the kids to school (pre-COVID), and the parent who works night shift would come home and sleep until it’s time to pick the kid(s) up from school. If you are a single parent and this isn’t an option, you may find it hard to find overnight, trustworthy childcare.
The sleep schedule can be a tough one. If you’ve ever traveled and experienced jet lag, imagine going through that weekly. You will likely get accustomed to working night shift, but on your off days, you will probably be up during the day to enjoy the sunshine, run errands, etc. Thus causing you to experience the jet lag feeling as your body becomes accustomed to the changes.
Additionally, many people have a hard time falling asleep if their household is not on the same schedule. Don’t have blackout curtains? It might be time to invest in some if you’ll be transitioning to the night shift. Tricking your mind into thinking it’s nighttime can significantly help when it comes to falling asleep faster after you get off work.
Have you always functioned better at night? If you’ve always been a night owl and find yourself up until the wee hours, or even study better at night, night shift may be a no-brainer option for you. Better pay, “easier” workload, and usually, you’ll have access to better units as we will dive into below.
Higher pay can vary depending on the hospital you work at. Most (not all) will pay more per hour for night shift roles because it is a less desirable shift. Granted, it’s not a salary increase to write home about, but for some people, the extra dollar or so an hour can make all the difference.
Working in your desired department or unit can be a good enough reason to consider the night shift. Depending on the hospital, it could mean that your chances of getting the unit you want to work on are increased.
However, if that unit is generally always slow at night, it could prevent you from getting hired. Less desirable hours, with a busy unit such as the ER, can almost always guarantee an increase in the chances of getting hired. However, if you are trying to get hired in a unit that is next to zero censuses at night, your chances of getting hired may not increase.
Do you work the night shift? What are your biggest pros and cons of working night shifts in comparison to the day shift? Let us know in the comments below.
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