What Hours Do Nurses Work?

Hello and welcome to Part 4 of our “Can I Be a Nurse?” series, the first part to our guide of helping you get into the nursing school of your dreams!

In this series we talk about the profession of nursing in general. We tell you everything you need to know before deciding if nursing is the profession for you!

If you haven’t already, make sure you check out the previous articles listed here in order:

  1. What Nurses Do
  2. Where Do Nurses Work?
  3. How Much Money Do Nurses Make?

In this section we will discuss the hours that nurses work!

Most Common

Most nurses tend to work 3 shifts per week, each 12 hours long. These shifts are commonly from 7am-7pm, or 7pm to 7am. Although this technically adds up to 36 hours per week and not 40, this is considered full time for nurses. Most of the time nurses will show up half an hour early and stay at least half an hour late, so by the end of the week it ends up being close to 40 hours.

Other Options

In addition to working 12 hour shifts, 4, 6, 8, and 10 hour shifts are all found in nursing depending on where you work. For example, nurses who work in surgery often work 8-4. School nurses work the same hours as the students go to school. Nurses in management positions tend to work business hours. There is a schedule to fit virtually any lifestyle when it comes to nursing.


Nursing has more flexibility than most occupations when it comes to flexibility of scheduling. Nurses typically work with administration to arrange future schedules. Some nurses choose to work 3 days straight, and get 4 days off. Some like to split it up to work every other day. You may even have the option to work a certain amount of days in an allotted time and then get a large number of days in a row off. This prevents you from using vacation days to go on a vacation.


  • There is also flexibility when it comes to the days and times of day nurses work. There are options to work days (7am-7pm) for people who want to follow a normal schedule.
  • There are options to work nights (7pm-7am) for night owls. Workers who choose the night option are usually compensated with a slightly higher hourly pay than their day shift coworkers.
  • Weekend options are also available to those who don’t mind working Fridays and Saturdays. These workers are sometimes compensated for taking the less desirable hours.


There are also options available that are not full-time. Part-time hours are common for nurses who have very busy schedules. With the flexibility of hours in nursing, many parents can work part-time and still raise their children.

There is also the option to work for a facility PRN (as needed.) By doing this, you tell the hospital that you can give them X amount of hours per week. If they need a nurse that week, they will call you to fill the position.

Next: Job Outlook in Nursing

Free Nursing Cheat Sheets for Everyone!

Why do you need nursing cheat sheets if you’re not even in nursing school yet? To get ahead! By taking 30 seconds to sign up for the free Ace Nursing School Newsletter, you’ll receive free cheat sheets every Monday. By joining now, you’ll have a wide variety of cheat sheets by the time you are in nursing school. You can also read through these cheat sheets now to help prepare you for nursing school. Check out the sneak peek of our cheat sheet below!

Nursing Necessities Cheat Sheet
Sneak peak of our Nursing Necessities Cheat Sheet.

Have a great day!


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