My husband respects my current desire to continue working nights, even though it is not what he prefers. (We don't sleep at the same times, we don't have dinner together at least four nights per week, we can't go out at night together...) I've tried to explain what's so great about it, but I'm not very successful. Lately, I've tried to make a mental list while I'm there and here's what I've come up with thus far:
1. My boss is not there. Not that I'm doing anything maverick-ish, but you can relax when you're not scared you'll get caught doing something semi-unorthodox.
2. My time is my own. I have plenty to do, but you can use your time more independently at night. You're not being told, this patient has to go here now and this patient needs to be discharged now. You know what you have to do and you can plan your night as you see fit.
3. Things are a little slower. Being a new nurse, the pace of nights gives me time to get straight what it is I need to be doing and the best way to do it. I find that it's impossible to form good, correct habits if you're always rushed. Some nights are crazy (I had one just two weeks ago), but there are some that I have plenty of time to do all the stuff that makes me feel like I've done the best I can, and I enjoy that. As hard as it may be for our superiors to believe, we all want to chart as thoroughly as possible and do all the teaching and caring for our patients that we can, but it's pretty difficult with a seven patient load and no help from the charge nurse who has her own patients (charge nurses are never supposed to have patients). I feel great when I can leave knowing that I've taken care of everything that I could have possibly done for my patients.
4. People are more laid-back. The type of person who works nights (long-term anyway, not people who are just new and forced into it) are generally a different personality from people who work days. Part of it is the bustle, noise, and crowds of days. But part of it is just that people on nights aren't so hyper. Which also leads into my next point...
5. Nights are quieter. Yes, people are sleeping, but also we're quieter. We'll help each other if needed, but we tend to be more independent and do our work quietly (there's more paperwork to do on nights and less running in and out of rooms, or sending patients to tests, or calling doctors). I guess it's the nature of paperwork vs. the other stuff, but I feel more autonomy on nights. It's similar to #2.
6. Nights are more diverse. A lot of nights, I'm one of only two American born people on staff. There's about eight of us on nights total, but half of those are weekenders only. I learn about the other people; their food, language, how much they know about this country that I'm impressed to realize. Almost all of the day shift people are white (mostly blonde) mommy types, most with young kids, but up to college-age, too. Days are what work for them, and I know I wouldn't feel like I could do nights if I were them.
So basically, I feel like nights best support my need for independence and autonomy and give me a less stressed environment and set of co-workers.