7 Reasons Travel RNs Like Night Shift Nursing
By Anita Wong, contributor
While some hospital units are busy at all hours, the hectic day shift gives way to a slower pace at night on many floors. Read on to discover why night shift nurses enjoy working when others have gone home, and how these positions offer unique advantages to travel RNs. Here are the top seven reasons travel RNs like night shift nursing.
1. More opportunities
Most RNs prefer to work a traditional schedule, resulting in a greater need for nurses on the night shift. If you're willing to put in the hours, night shift nursing is a great way to add experience to your resume. There's a wider selection of travel assignments and less competition for jobs, meaning you may get to your top travel destination sooner rather than later. You may also find more openings in a facility or specialty that most interests you.
2. Higher pay
Almost 15% of night shift workers cite better pay as the reason for working overnight hours, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). "The travel nurses in our team mostly like night shifts because of the higher pay scale," says Roxana Bikfalvi, an editor with the blog Nightly Nurse. Hospitals typically offer a pay incentive to encourage nurses to work nonstandard hours. For travel RNs, this shift differential translates into extra cash for a nest egg or more travel adventures.
3. Bonding with coworkers
It's sometimes easier to get to know colleagues during a night shift. A sense of togetherness emerges because you're the only ones left on the floor.
"By the time night shift nurses are clocking in, the management has gone home for the day," explains Sandra Crawley, an RN in Chicago and medical consultant for the website Mom Loves Best. "The staff is kept to a minimum so there tends to be more camaraderie between staff members. This leads to a closer network of nurses, a greater opportunity to hone your nursing skills and more opportunities to show leadership — all of which will help you advance in your career."
4. Less demanding environment
Patients receive the same quality of care at night, but the setting is likely to be less stressful for nurses. Visitors have gone home, patients are trying to rest and surgeries and procedures are usually scheduled for the day when there's a larger complement of staff.
"Patients are less likely to need prepping for testing," says Bikfalvi. "Less supporting staff working night shifts means [nurses] don't have…too many extra procedures."
5. Easier commute
Getting to work is a breeze when you don't have to travel during rush hour. "Commuting during the night shift is usually easier," says Crawley. "You get to work faster and without sitting in a ton of traffic." Use the time you save commuting to enjoy a second cup of tea or another chapter of your book.
6. Family considerations
For some families, having one parent working a night shift means flexibility for childcare. According to the BLS, 15% of all night shift workers and 24% of women who work night shifts choose these hours because they can make better arrangements for their families. Crawley sees this as an added financial benefit. "The biggest savings would be on childcare costs, especially if the nurse's partner works a different shift than they do," she says. "That ensures one parent is always home with the children."
7. Your days are free
The top reason most workers choose an overnight shift is not the higher pay but personal preference. When your days are free, you can run errands and go to appointments when banks, shops and other services are open. Travel RNs who are getting to know a new city can take advantage of the sunlight and go hiking, take paddle board lessons and enjoy other activities without waiting for a day off. Crawley adds, "If you traveled far from home and the family came along on the assignment, you can use more of the daylight hours for exploring with the kids."
Ready to give night shift nursing a try? It may not be something you decide to do long term, but there are advantages to heading to work when many people are winding down for the night. Check out more night shift benefits, and then, search our database for open travel RN opportunities in a variety of destinations.