Why does there have to be conflict between day and night shifts? Nursing is not a competition. Shift change should not be a battle of wills.
The night shift nurses tend to want to find everything day shift has done wrong during the day and point it out in shift change. Now why are they are able to do this? Oh, it is because they have all that free time at night when there is nothing else to do except play “Let’s see what that day shift nurse forgot to do?” Well, you are probably thinking I am just a bitter day shift nurse…well it is true I do work the day shift. I have however worked many night shifts in my career so far, all for extra money while continuing to do my regular full day shift schedule. I do have some idea what the night shift is all about.
From my experience, night shift is mostly about watching over sleeping patients until the morning, hoping all the while nothing too exciting happens. Now, I know not all patients sleep….this is never truer than in the ICU. I am not saying there is never any work to do on the night shift; there are occasions where patients crash and doctors have to be paged and procedures done. This is not a routine occurrence though, not like on days anyway.
I think all night shift nurses should have to spend a day or two working during the waking hours. This would likely make them see how much different it is to work when all the doctors round and all the orders are written, and the majority of procedures are done. Day shifts are rarely quiet or without excitement of some sort. Most visitors come during the day, we serve all the meals, and most importantly we have to see management more often…which just isn’t pleasant most of the time.
Having said all of that, I wouldn’t work nights for any length of time for all the shift differential in the world because I feel it is just not natural to stay up all night and sleep during the day then try to turn it around when you have a couple days off. Your body is just not made to work that way.
Why can’t we just all get along? Oh, because some of us work so very hard during the day feeding patients, dealing with visitors, doctors, management, and trying to make sure we do everything just right so that the night shift can’t find anything wrong that we will hear in report the next day….