Being a night shift nurse has its unique challenges, but it has its own special perks as well. The question is: Are you cut out for the NOC shift?
Working late at night when most people are fast asleep is not for everybody. Night shift nurses play an essential role in the health care field since many patients need round-the-clock medical care. A night shift nurse has important nursing duties which they must fulfill in the midst of often challenging conditions. It all boils down to whether the professional life of a night shift nurse is suitable for you.
If you are a nurse or a health care professional, how will you know if you have what it takes to work the NOC shift on a regular basis? Here are some signs that a nursing career during the night shift is a good fit for you.
3 Signs You Could be a Night Shift Nurse
If you are a night owl, you might be a good candidate for the night shift. After all, NOC stands for “nocturnal.” You’ll definitely have an extra edge over other nurses if you find it naturally easy to stay awake until late at night. Still, if you are a morning person, it does not mean you should automatically rule out working the NOC shift.
1. Physical Ability to Sustain a Late Night Schedule
While it is not easy, it is possible for your body to adjust its circadian rhythm (a.k.a. body clock) to a night schedule over time. Of course, the exact adjustment period depends on each person. However, you must be reasonably fit and healthy if you want to become a night shift nurse.
Before you consider taking on NOC shifts, make sure you are free from physical conditions that may be caused or aggravated by a lack of sleep. According to the National Health Service of the UK, some medical conditions that are exacerbated by sleep deprivation include heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
If you plan to be a night shift nurse for the long haul, it’s best to consult your doctor to make sure you are physically capable of working NOC shifts for an extended period of time.
2. Practical Means to Get to Work Late at Night
Public transportation is not always available 24/7 in many areas in the U.S. If you want to pursue a career in night shift nursing, make certain you have a reliable way to get to work every day.
It would be ideal if you had your own car so that you can drive yourself to the hospital or health care facility at any time of day or night. You can also try to make carpool arrangements with your colleagues, family, or friends, although this option offers you less independence and flexibility in terms of transportation.
While it may be possible for you to walk or to ride a bike to your workplace if it is fairly near your home, you should be aware that it may not be as safe to venture out alone on the streets at nighttime.
3. Personal Circumstances & Preferences
Each nurse is a one-of-a-kind person. You have your own set of personal circumstances and preferences that affect your suitability as a night shift nurse.
It may be more convenient for you to take on NOC shifts if you do not have certain family responsibilities that may require you to be available at odd hours of the night. For instance, if you are a mom who has chosen to breastfeed your newborn baby, it might be difficult for you to take on NOC shifts, at least until your baby has been weaned.
It could also be a smart idea to choose the job of a night shift nurse if you prefer to work in a calmer setting. Generally, hospitals and health care facilities are typically less hectic and noisy at night than during the day. Of course, you still need to carry out your nursing duties, but you have more of a chance to enjoy quiet moments between tasks during NOC shifts.
What Are The Advantages of Being a Night Shift Nurse?
So why should you choose to be a night shift nurse in the first place? In spite of its distinctive hurdles, the job can also provide you with significant advantages.
Aside from being able to enjoy a relatively more peaceful work environment, you can potentially earn a higher salary if you take on NOC shifts. Like other night shift workers, night shift nurses tend to earn more than day shift nurses because employers typically offer night shift differentials.
Finally, you have the chance to experience a different kind of bonding and camaraderie that night shift nurses can form as you spend sleepless nights working together.
Are You Ready to Become a Night Shift Nurse?
Perhaps you are convinced you are definitely cut out to be a night shift nurse. You can prepare for your future NOC shifts by reading our helpful tips on surviving night shifts. Once you’re ready to start working, sign up with Clipboard Health to find available NOC shifts in your area.