Understanding the Different Types of Nursing Shifts

Stethoscope on top of a calendar

The average 8-hour workday isn’t typically the same for nurses. Each day is different, bringing new challenges and patients to care for. There are many different types of nursing shifts that may vary depending on the facility and department where you work. You could work 5 days a week, 4 days a week, or even 3 days a week. Depending on your department, weekend days may be included. Here is a breakdown of the most common nursing shifts and how to navigate the hours to fit your lifestyle.

Day Shift

Ranging from 8 hours to 12 hours, a day shift could mean a variety of times to different people or facilities. A day shift may be 8 hours Monday – Friday. These 8-hour shifts may be between the hours of 7 am -3 pm. Another type of day shift may be 12 hours. These 12-hour shifts may be between the hours of 7 am-7 pm. This type of shift does fall into the late afternoon/evening hours but it is still considered day shift. If you work 12 hours, you will only work three days a week. Another common type of day shift is working 10 hour days. If you work this shift you will only work four days a week. Typically the hours will fall between 7 am-5 pm. When deciding on a schedule, always consider what will work best for you.

Evening Shift

Some facilities still have an evening shift. The evening shift is most likely an 8-hour shift Monday through Friday. The hours worked are between 3 pm and 11 pm, however, depending on your facility or department these hours may vary.

Night Shift

For some, the night shift is a preferred choice, as it offers nurses the opportunity to have free time during the day hours. Like the other types of shifts, night shifts have a 12-hour shift, which may be scheduled between the hours of 7 pm and 7 am. An 8-hour night shift may be between the hours of 11 pm and 7 am.

Full-Time or Part-Time

All facilities will cover their shifts on a full or part-time basis. Full-time would be five 8 hour shifts, four 10 hour shifts, or three 12 hour shifts per week. The common standard is 36-40 hours per week is considered full-time. Part-time would include the same 8-hour, 10-hour, and 12-hour shifts, however, the part-time staff member would just work fewer days. The day’s work may vary based on the facility.

Facilities also offer per diem nursing positions. These staff members will not have a set schedule and will work when the department needs them. Their hours will vary.

The Nursing Shift Types

The average nursing schedule is typically a mix of all of these types of nursing shifts. Each type of nursing shift has its advantages. Working 10 or 12-hour shifts means you only work a few days a week. This gives you more flexibility, days off during the week, and the ability to rest more.

Working 8-hour nursing shifts offer a shorter workday, while also offering a little more stability in your schedule. This will allow for an easier time to make plans and know your schedule in advance. At times, you won’t have a choice in the shift that you’re scheduled for, and some facilities may require you to work night and day shifts – commonly called a swing shift.

Start Your Next Nursing Shift With CareerStaff

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