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Do I have to do night shifts?


Can you advise a student nurse who can’t handle night shift work? 

I need advice on which nursing jobs I can do that don’t involve night shifts.

I am a newly qualified nurse, and while I am aware that practice nursing is 9-5, I’ve heard that it’s unlikely that it would be my first job when I qualify. So is there anything else like this that I might have a chance of getting?

I’ve done a week of night shifts during training, and it didn’t get any better or easier. Far from it. I struggled through every time, and felt jet-lagged for days after.

Please, somebody tell me there’s a role for me in nursing that doesn’t involve night shifts!


Readers' comments (4)

  • you only had one weeks worth of nights- evauate where you were sleeping,why you could not sleep and then proceed. It is most unlikely you can get a day time job yet .and if that is your sole motivation in getting a job long-term it may not be in your best interests- come on are you going to say at interviews i want this job because I cant stand working nights!Gain more experience and qualifications then HR or Occupation health careers could be options. I do find it concerning not one person has bothered to give you advice.

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  • A department such as day surgery, outpatients or district nursing would all be places that don't generally involve nights. I have worked with nurses in the past who have really struggled with nights so don't feel as if you're the only one! Hope this helps =)

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  • Realistically, jobs that offer no night shifts are much sought after and go to those who are sufficiently experienced to undertake them. Consider yourself fortunate you have only done a week. I did 3 months a year in my training and was constantly exhausted. Now I do a week every month and it hasn't got any better. Internal rotation is a reality in 90% of nursing jobs. I suggest you try teaching.

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  • No, you don't have to get a job which involves night shifts, even if you are a newly qualified nurse. I lasted a year on a ward for my first job; the constant switching between days and night shifts, especially doing four 12.5 hour nights in a row, really messed me up. I now work in an endoscopy unit, do an overnight on call shift once every two months, and just work days apart from that, and I'm much happier/healthier :). I didn't say it in my interview, but my main motivation for the job was escaping nights!!

    I would think about what kind of area you are interested in, and brainstorm some ideas. Don't be afraid to ask about shift patterns at interviews; my friend has recently moved from a ward where she was doing nights every week to another one where they actually have permanent night staff, so she does like one every couple of months now :).

    Possible Ideas for Newly Qualifieds:
    Endoscopy (might have to do overnight on calls)
    Day Surgery Units (also maybe General Theatres; at the hospital I work at they have separate day and night staff)
    Imaging/X-Ray (might have to do overnight on calls)
    Dialysis Units (might have to do overnight on calls)
    Outpatient Clinics
    Chemotherapy Units (senior nurses usually have an on call phone overnight in case patients need advice I think)
    Cardiac Catheter Lab (might have to do overnight on calls)
    District Nursing

    Jobs you probably need experience for (but you never know!):
    Practice Nursing
    Prison Nursing
    Pre-Op Assessment Units
    Discharge Lounge
    Research Nursing
    Fertility Clinics
    Occupational Health

    Good Luck!

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