"Older" nurses and 12 hour shifts

  1. a recent medscape article "oldies are goodies" talks about the value of "older" nurses (age 45 and up) and how to best retain them. the article suggests that

    twelve hour shifts are difficult for 30 year olds; it is necessary to offer numerous choices of days and shifts for older workers.


    according to this article i'm an older nurse (age 45). personally i like working twelves and having a 3 day full time work week. i wonder how many of you 45 and over still work twelves and how many do not? if you are working twelves do you wish you could be offered other choices (such as 10's or 8's)?

    personally i think one of the things managers should keep in mind with "older" nurses is insisting they work swinging shifts. this was the case at the job i just left, and it is the reason why i left. many of the big metro hospitals (at least in my area) insist that everyone work swinging shifts and only a select few (those who have been with the system 15-20 years) get out of this requirement. i worked with several "older" excellent nurses at my past job who where really struggling with the swinging shifts and even compromising their health because of it (sleep deprivation when on nights).
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  2. 32 Comments

  3. by   neetnik461
    All the oldies must be working dayshift! (lol) Or . . maybe the thought of having choices is so foreign . . and unlikely . . why answer?
  4. by   Kelky
    I am 'only' 40, but I find 12's hard. But otoh it's nice having extra days off, less commuting time etc so I can see why they're popular. It would be nice to have the choice, but really esp. in smaller places I can see why staffing becomes harder.
  5. by   Snowshooz
    I guess I am an "Oldie"..perhaps even a Moldy! *L*
    52 yo...I work 2 12's in the OR on my feet from 630 am until 7pm ..I LOVE working 2 12's(plus call) ! I prefer not to have 2 consecutive days however...usually have days off in between..much easier that way..

  6. by   Natkat
    I'm 45. I work 4 10s as a dialysis tech and I love it. I don't think 2 more hours and having an another day off is a stretch. I love having that extra time off during the week. I figure you're already up and dressed, what's a couple more hours on your feet?
  7. by   MomNRN
    45 is older? Hmmm - must have been a youngster who wrote that article.

    I don't mind the 12's, but do prefer the 8's. I hate working more than 2 12's in a row. It is just too much time away from home. Everything else gets trashed, and I get behind on everything else.

    I have to confess - I'm 43 and don't consider myself "old."
  8. by   chuckc
    I am a new oldie at age 48, will graduate in 7 weeks! I am starting Sunday doing 12 hr shifts with a preceptor. I am curious to know how I will hold up. I hope it works out because I like the thought of working 3 days a week and off for 4. :spin:
  9. by   CRNAorBust
    i'm 53 soon to be 54 in Feb and I'm fairly new to nursing. 12 hours goes so darned faced on our medical floor I hardly notice how tired I am at the end of the day till I sit in front of the tv at home and start to nod out. We also have to do rotating nights (12's) which are slower and harder to stay awake for. Especially when i have two nights in a row. I will fall asleep in the car before driving back home to make sure I don't do that ON the way home. But as others have said I love those 4 days off. Especially when they sometimes come all together in a row (rare). At least when we work nights and weekeds together we can expect a fatter paycheck tho uncle sam takes a huge bite out of that one. Can't wait to see how much I get back in April.

    Bryan
  10. by   rn/writer
    I'm over 45. Used to do some twelves. Don't anymore. I can do the shift without too much trouble. The problem is that I don't bounce back as quickly as I used to. Eights work much better for me.

    I agree that swing shifts are a major problem. No one, no matter what age, should have to work swing. Any shift, on a consistent basis, is better than swing. Young folks who constantly have to shift their sleep pattern will LOOK and FEEL 45 when they're 30 if they have to work swing for any length of time.

    BTW, I work noc shift by choice and love it.
    Last edit by rn/writer on Oct 26, '06
  11. by   DutchgirlRN
    51 y/o ~ I was great with 12 hour shifts until about a year ago. I have a very tough time doing them now. The difference? I think menopause. I never know from day to day how much energy I'm going to have. Joint aches, hot flashes, you get the idea.
  12. by   VivaLasViejas
    I haven't been able to do 12's on any kind of regular basis since my early 40s. It's just too hard on the body and mind for me, and the four days off never happened together so I didn't get the long breaks like nurses on some other schedules did.

    Now, of course, I don't work in a hospital anymore so it's not an issue......I put in a lot of 10-hour days, but most of that is mental rather than physical, and that energizes me instead of wearing me out. Different strokes, for different folks.
  13. by   leslie :-D
    i've always managed (and loved) doing doubles, 16 hr shifts.
    yes, come 11:30pm, i would literally be hobbling out to my car but have not noticed any decline in physical abilities from my 30's to my 40's.

    leslie
  14. by   brendamyheart
    My goodness. I know how you feel!!! Soon to be 55. I could work 10 and 12's, however, I can barely make the eight. So much mental stress!!

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