With competition for nurses to fill open positions at higher levels than in recent memory, people might question why a night shift nurse doesn’t switch to a daytime position. Would it surprise you to hear that working the night shift can be awesome? Once you figure out the best sleep schedule for your body, working the night shift has a lot of benefits. Let’s take a look at the top five benefits for nurses who work the night shift.
- Night shift differential: If you are financially motivated, working the night shift is where you want to be. Different states and workplaces have varying standards about shift pay, but there is no denying that working nights can have a welcome impact on your take-home pay. Keep in mind that over time you will get used to that extra pay and it will be noticeable once you switch to a typical day shift.
- Management is scarce: One of the first things you will notice when you start working the night shift is that there are so few managers wandering around the unit. Sure, in most cases we like our bosses, but it is very liberating when they are nowhere to be found, and we can just concentrate on our work! Plus, no one is around to scold us for grabbing a snack at the nurse’s station…Shhh, don’t let that get out!
- Rooms are less crowded: During the day shift, our patients have visitors coming and going. Most rooms are crowded enough with equipment and supplies, without having to squeeze past Aunt June, Uncle Joe and their two kids who are standing guard at the end of the hospital bed. At night, most areas are clear sailing without the obstacle course.
- Teamwork makes the dream work: On the night shift, we tend to rely on each other because there are typically fewer resources to go around. For some reason, when you are working overnight, there is a tendency to develop stronger camaraderie as everyone pulls together to get through the shift. Oh, and don’t forget about the potlucks. Night shift potlucks put anything you will find on a day shift to shame. From sheer volume to creativity, the night shift rules the lunch room.
- Seize the day: As long as you manage a sleep schedule that works for you, night shift workers can take care of family or errands during the day. Need to take the car in for an oil change? No problem. Mom or Dad has an appointment? You can cover that too. Sometimes it comes at the expense of sleep, but you will always be able to take care of things that might otherwise require you to take personal time off from work to accomplish.
Clearly, working the night shift isn’t for everyone. Some people never quite adjust to sleeping during the day and spend their nights at work chronically tired. Others thrive on the “graveyard” shift. From taking melatonin to buying blackout curtains, once your sleep pattern is settled, you can enjoy all of the benefits a night shift position provides. And, even if you don’t adjust, working nights will always have benefits that your day shift colleagues can’t claim.
If you are currently working the night shift and have a benefit that we haven’t listed, please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
the shc blog