Looking for Better Nursing Shifts? Make Your Own

Looking for Better Nursing Shifts? Make Your Own

When it comes to being a nurse, a common misconception is that everyone works 12-hour shifts. While this may seem true on the surface since many nurses work in hospitals and other 24/7 settings where the 12-hour shift is popular, there are other options out there for those who are looking for something different.

So, what other shifts are out there for a nurse? Nurses can work a variety of different hours which provides flexibility in the field. Some nurses work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a more traditional eight-hour shift. Day shifts can run from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Another option for nurses is the 10-hour shift, which usually means four days on and three days off.

A swing, mid-shift, or evening nurse may work from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Then, a night nurse, or those working the graveyard shift, typically are there from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. The 12-hour shifts can run through various hours whether it begins in the early morning, evening, or late at night.

Whatever shifts you decide on or get assigned to all have their pros and cons. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each shift.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Common Shifts

A nurse who works 12-hour shifts may choose this option for many reasons. The work week is shorter, which also means less time spent commuting and more days for personal time with family or friends. Additionally, you may be able to work your shifts in a way so that you can maximize your time off outside of the facility.

While this may sound appealing, one cannot underestimate how exhausting this type of work can actually be. Depending on your schedule, your three days on, four days off may really turn into four days on, three days off. The reason being is — if you were to work three consecutive 12-hour nights, you’ll end up sleeping well into the fourth day after finishing that third shift.

Often, a 12-hour shift runs over, stretching the already long days to even 14 or 16 hours in some cases. The same could be said about the 10-hour shift.

Beyond that, according to the Cleveland Clinic, rotating and night shift workers are at risk of shift work sleep disorder (SWSD) which can include signs of fatigue, headaches, and difficulty concentrating or sleeping. This is a circadian rhythm sleep disorder that can affect people who work hours that do not fit the regular working and sleeping time.

If long hours during the night aren’t working for you, a day shift, or even an eight-hour shift, may be a better fit for you.

Those who work during the day have schedules that may align better with a spouse, kids, or family and friends. These jobs may also provide weekends off or ones that rotate.

Given this, since the shifts are shorter, there can be more time to spend with loved ones, to run errands, to continue your education, or to make more time for yourself after getting off from work.

On the other hand, that means you’ll be making more trips to your job, which will cost you more in transportation and other expenses such as eating out for lunch.

Why Standard Shifts and Schedules Might Not Work for You

If you still find that the current offerings for nursing shifts are too constrictive, or maybe you just want to make some extra cash on the side but don’t know how this is where the option for a less traditional type of nursing shift may be the best fit for you.

With the full-time responsibility of a nurse that works three 12-hour shifts, there may be little opportunity or motivation to work more when the schedule is rigid.

This is where per diem nursing comes into play. A per diem nurse is someone who is hired on an “as needed” or day-to-day basis. A per diem nurse can sign up for available shifts at hospitals to work where they want when they want.

How You Can Start a Career in Per Diem Nursing

If a career in per diem nursing sounds like the right fit for you, NurseDash is here to help! To get started, all you need to do is go to our website or download the app and get registered in the NurseDash system. There’s no minimum on the number of hours needed.

Here, you will find available shifts posted by facilities with all of the details you’ll need for the job. If you’d like to work that shift, select it, and the facility will receive your information to review and accept you for the job. You’ll also have access to see what your peers, or fellow Dashers, have to say about the shifts at the facility!

It’s easier than ever to work the days and times that fit your lifestyle the best. What are you waiting for? Become a Dasher today!

NurseDash is an on-demand healthcare marketplace that connects facilities with staffing needs to clinicians looking for open nursing shifts.


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