A doctor who loves night shifts

Emergency medicine physician, world-class educator and blogger extraordinaire Dr. Mike Cadogan was recently interviewed by Elsevier Australia:


What are the best and worst parts of night shifts? Do you have any tips for surviving nights?

Mike Cadogan:

I love night shifts. The dark corridors, the cool air, the rising moon, the autonomy of decision-making, the authority, the midnight snacks and the sense of joyous achievement walking home with the sun rising and against the tide of tired, depressed faces gripping their morning coffees and bemoaning the need to be at work on such a glorious sunny day…

Think positive, be strong and enjoy autonomy. Remember that everybody else is on night shift with you, and most of them don’t want to be there either…but there is no need to be grumpy, rude, or pompous. Make friends with the night owls and collaborate, you will find your workload will dramatically decrease… Make enemies with the permanent night staff at your peril!


Interview with Mike Cadogan, author of the acclaimed On Call: Principles and Protocols by Student Ambassador Emma Sharp.
Image source: A halo around the Moon. Wikipedia, GNU Free Documentation License.


  1. dancecrazy999@aol.com9/14/2011 10:24 PM

    I agree with you. I LOVE working nights. Prior to going to med school I was an RN who only worked nights. Now as a physician I would love to work as a "nocturnist", the new term for a hospitalist who only works nights. However, nocturnist positions, as well as any hospitalist positions are very hard to find due to the popularity of hospital medicine--many more job seekers than there are jobs.

  2. I agree with you Mike, night shifts are great in so many way - such as the autonomy that you describe, and the tips you have are great.

    The brighter side of night shifts are what you describe in that sense of community that develops with those who also don't want to be there with you. I think there is no greater time where "team work" and communication is such a priority -because it can be a game of "survival"

    Personally I find that I have a "love-hate" relationship with night shifts. For the thought of going to work when I want to go to sleep really irks me - but I feel that when i'm actually there I want to slip into team mode and, it's all good. I think perhaps one of the most tricky things is dealing with making calls in the middle of the night and feeling about out of my depth. But the best thing is finishing work and catching a sunny morning! I guess it's all about balance and perspective.

    I like your quote "Think positive, be strong, and Enjoy Autonomy" - I'm gonna use that one in the future!

    thanks for the post :)