A night shift nurse is a professional nurse who works during the night in order to give the day and evening nurses a break from their work and alleviate their responsibilities.
Nurses who work the night shift provide a valuable service to the community because they are helping individuals who are either sick or injured and are in need of someone who can help them get well again.
A night nurse may work in one of two capacities.
They may perform basic duties in support of more advanced nursing staff or they may gain the necessary training and experience to become a senior member of the nursing staff and utilize their advanced skills to further help people who are sick or injured.
Responsibilities and roles of nurses who work the night shift are varied.
Many variations exist regarding the particular facility that an individual works at as well as the particular department that a person works in.
For example, a small community hospital likely has responsibilities that are far different from large metropolitan hospitals.
Smaller community hospitals typically have a smaller staff and therefore nurses of all types are often expected to engage in patient care from beginning to end as a means of accomplishing more with fewer individuals.
Conversely, those who work in large trauma centers will utilize different skills depending on the department that they work in.
An emergency room nurse has a much different job description then does a floor nurse.
Night shift nurse salary and career outlook
The yearly salary that is paid to nurses who work the night shift varies from one location to the next.
Some locations offer higher pay for those who work the night shift in order to fill voluntary/mandatory nursing positions that would otherwise go vacant.
In addition to possible increased wages for working the night shift many nurses may make more money by working in a certain department then they would in another.
For example, nurses who choose to work in the burn unit of a major metropolitan hospital are likely to make more money than those who choose to work in smaller locations.
Generally, nurses who work the night shift receive a higher degree of pay than those who work the day shift because they are paid a shift differential.
This can be thought of as an incentive to get people to apply for positions that are the most difficult to fill.
Because many individuals prefer not to work during the nighttime hours, providing a shift differential is often necessary in order to get enough people to apply for the job to fill the positions that are available.
As a result, many night shift nurses can make anywhere from $55,000-$83,000 a year.
On average, a night nurse can reasonably expect make approximately $70,000 per year.
Obviously, smaller hospitals are more likely to pay less salary.
Those who wish to make a salary in the upper echelon can choose to work for larger hospitals or they may choose to travel from one hospital to the next during staffing shortages.
Many nurses who do this find that they can make a great deal more money by filling in shifts in this way than they can by working exclusively as core staff members for single facility.
In terms of career outlook the number of available nursing jobs is expected to expand to 800,000 open positions by the year 2020.
In order to help meet the demand of the nursing shortage educational institutes are looking to hire experienced nursing teachers in order to help expand their nursing program and allow more students to attend their nursing classes while hospitals, clinics and health care organizations are expected to increase pay, benefits and perks in order to attract more nurses into their facilities and fill vacant positions during an ever-expanding nursing shortage.
What this means is that those who either work as nurses or are interested in becoming nurses can expect to see their income and job security increase over the next decade along with an increase in available career opportunities and new specialized fields opening up for qualified nurses.
Those who choose to become nurses are often answering to a higher calling.
The work is typically difficult and the hours are long and sometimes tedious, however, anyone who chooses this profession can rest assured that they are making a very real difference in the lives of those who are experiencing some of their worst moments, therefore, the decision to become a nurse is often a vitally important and deeply personal one.