Day Shift vs Night Shift Nursing

September 13, 2021
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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Nursing provides flexibility that a lot of other careers don’t. You can work as little as three days per week or as many as seven. Typically, there is a trade-off to working fewer days. For instance, nurses who work three days are likely working 12-16 hour shifts. But, having the option to choose your own hours is desirable to many nurses. Another consideration is choosing between day and night shifts. Are there pros and cons to each? And, if so, what are they?

What is a day shift?

Day shift typically refers to when the majority of the time worked is between 8am and 8pm. Nurses may start slightly earlier in the morning or work slightly later depending on the shift changes, but the majority of the time will still be worked within those hours. Nurses working day shift can be found in:

  • Hospitals
  • Homes
  • Schools
  • Clinics
  • And more

What is a night shift?

Night shift, as you can probably guess, is considered the time worked between 8pm and 8am. Hours may start later and end earlier, but the majority of the time worked will be during nighttime hours. Night shifts are commonly associated with:

  • Hospitals
  • Homes
  • ERs

Day Shift vs Night Shift Pros & Cons

While day and night shift nurses typically do the same things, there are a lot of pros and cons to working each shift. The best way to determine if a day or night shift works better for you is to understand these differences and think about what you value and are looking for in a position.


Since most people work during the day, the likelihood of your neighbors mowing the lawn, cars honking, and dogs barking occurs more often during the day. Comparatively, the noise level at night will be significantly lower. This allows day-shift nurses to have minimal interruptions to their sleep schedule.

If you work a night shift, most of your sleeping is done during the day. As such, daytime noises can contribute to restless sleep. Studies have also found that if a room is too bright, you won’t be able to enter your REM cycle properly — resulting in awakening more often and not getting the restorative sleep needed to function optimally. Fortunately, a good black-out curtain and earplugs can minimize many of these issues. Even thicker windows can help reduce noise pollution from interrupting your sleep.

Scheduling Personal Time

Most nurses only work three to five days per week, some of which may not be the weekend. This can make connecting with friends and family difficult — especially if they work a white-collar job. While challenging, day nurses can typically find time to connect with family and friends, but night nurses may have more difficulty doing this without sacrificing sleep.

However, if you have small kids, a night shift will actually more align with dropping them at school and attending after-school programs. This allows you to connect with your kids without the worry of sacrificing sleep. And, if you have friends who like to go out late on the weekends, you can easily join them for the nightlife.

Work Duties

While both night and day shifts will generally be responsible for the same things, the entire vibe of these shifts is different. The day shift is usually a hustle and bustle of call buttons, families visiting, and emergencies. This can be stressful and overwhelming for some, while exciting and exhilarating for others. It all depends on your work style. In home health care, being a day nurse can often mean getting to connect with your patient while they are feeling active — resulting in more playtime.

In comparison, the night shift is typically quieter. Most patients are asleep, and aside from the occasional call button or emergency, the shift mostly involves monitoring or preparing your patient for bed. This can be a better option for nurses that love caring for patients but don’t like the high stress of the day shift.


A nursing salary is based on various factors — including position, experience, training, and hours worked. Despite day and night shifts having the same responsibilities, some night shifts may come with a higher salary because the need is greater.

While the type of hours worked can play a factor in salary, it’s only a small portion. Depending on the position and employer, there may be perks for day shift nurses that aren’t offered to night shift nurses — such as an open cafeteria and other amenities. This can sometimes bridge the pay gap between night and day shift nurses.

Contact Care Options for Kids for Pediatric Nursing Jobs in Florida

Are you looking to become a pediatric nurse? Care Options for Kids can help. We are currently looking for compassionate and nurturing Pediatric Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) or Pediatric Registered Nurses (RNs) in various locations across Florida. Care Options for Kids specializes in one-on-one hourly pediatric care in the home. We offer PTO, medical, dental and vision benefits, flexible schedules, and more.

If you or a loved one are considering a career in Pediatric Nursing in Florida, contact Care Options for Kids. Apply online or call today at (888) 592-5855.