12 hour shifts...3 is plenty

  1. Hi everyone

    I am enjoying my job, but I find with working 12 hour shifts, obviously on your days off, you're tired and recovering. No surprise. And running errands, relaxing, whatever it is you do. Since I've already been through burn out in my previous career (nursing is a switch), I've realized long ago the importance of work-life balance. And peace of mind. We work to live, but often, it is the other way around.

    I have no children either. I find it interesting that people outside of nursing think we have so much free time working 3 days a week. Well...yes, and no. The 12 hour shifts are more like 13. I'm not sure about you, but I need 1 to 2 days to recover and get some things done. How do the rest of you feel? And...this is not a vent. I'm just curious to see the responses. Thanks.
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  2. 35 Comments

  3. by   Mike A. Fungin RN
    Ditto. Double for working "12-hour" nights.
  4. by   Horseshoe
    Quote from joanna73
    Hi everyone

    I am enjoying my job, but I find with working 12 hour shifts, obviously on your days off, you're tired and recovering. No surprise. And running errands, relaxing, whatever it is you do. Since I've already been through burn out in my previous career (nursing is a switch), I've realized long ago the importance of work-life balance. And peace of mind. We work to live, but often, it is the other way around.

    I have no children either. I find it interesting that people outside of nursing think we have so much free time working 3 days a week. Well...yes, and no. The 12 hour shifts are more like 13. I'm not sure about you, but I need 1 to 2 days to recover and get some things done. How do the rest of you feel? And...this is not a vent. I'm just curious to see the responses. Thanks.
    )

    It always took me a day or so to recover from even two 12's in a row. Sometimes I did three in a row, and that seemed like an incredible ordeal.

    I've recently given them up to work prns in another area (no 12's, no weekends, no holidays), and I have to say I don't miss them.
  5. by   classicdame
    I work 5 - 8 hr days now, but when I worked 12 hour nights I tried NEVER to do 3 in a row. Physically and mentally exhausting. I found I did not care about the patient, just took care of them.
  6. by   systoly
    I agree completely. I'm not complaining either and it is my choice to work 12s, but having extra days off due to working 12s is not at all the same as taking off an extra day when working 8s. I did work 8s half of last year, but went back to 12s not because I get more done or seem to have more free time, but because it's more economical for me since I have a 35 to 45 min. drive.
  7. by   navreet
    I feel the same... on top of that i have online BSN classes. I feel like i have no time for me.....
  8. by   joanna73
    Good to know I'm not alone. I like working 12s versus the 8s, because at least you do have the time off. And I work primarily nights, which I prefer over day shift. However, I am fine with working 11 to 12 shifts per month. I am also going to take some online classes, and I read up on things, because I am a new nurse.

    I feel to each his own. If you like working more, that's ok too. I don't. I'm 37 and I've worked too many hours to count in my life already. I like being a nurse, and I like my patients, despite all the issues we face. One of the reasons I was curious is because my employers would be happy if I went casual on another floor. I gave it some thought. Given that I am already pretty much full time in one area...uh...no thanks. Not right now, anyway.

    I enjoy having time just to ponder. I am at an age where I am very comfortable, and I don't feel the need to fill up all of my time with stuff. Sometimes, I think, we all need to take a step back, and just...BE.
  9. by   Sugar-Phosphate
    I cannot comment on nursing, and I know it is hard work, so I will comment on previous non nursing experience.
    I prefer long days, when I worked in IPM (Integrated pest management) I was working 14-16 hour days (with travel), and it was hard, the 12 hour days were preferable. I live approximately 2 hours away from work, so after working 12 hours the two hour drive home is kinda nice, easy to relax. After working 5 days straight of this, I needed my two days to recuperate. I did like my job, and it made it easier, but it was hard work. I don't know if anyone has ever worked in a potato field, they are hard, it is like walking in a foot of dirt. After work I had so many blisters, it covered the entire side of my foot. Despite this, I loved it.
    Now I work in retail ( my contract with IPM was finished), and I work 33 hours per week, and get one day off every 2-3 days. IT SUCKS! I need two days off to recuperate. Now I know it doesn't compare to nursing but it is mentally exhausting, and I feel like I have so much more time that can be devoted to work. I would have preferred 4 on 3 off, so I could have a day to recuperate, and 2 to actually get something done. Just my
  10. by   ®Nurse
    I've worked 8's, 12's, days, PM's, noc's, desk job, bedside nursing, travel nursing and home visit nursing.

    I work 7 PM's out of a two week schedule, with every other weekend and I can honestly say that it definitely works for me.

    I would leave bedside nursing and find something else to occupy my valuable time if my facility informed me that they were going to make me work 12's again.

    I have found that it is rare for a facility to have a scheduler that consistently upheld my request to not work 3 12's in a row. "Oh, it's just this once"....etc, etc, etc..... When I finally would have that day off after my third 12 hour shift, I would definitely not spring up out of bed with anticipation about how I was going to spend my marvelous day off....especially when I knew I was going to have to turn around and work in the next day or two.

    I always thought "Rest, relax, re-energize" because I felt depleted and low energy.

    I remember thinking that if I wasn't such a 'loser' I would get more done on my day off. It wasn't until I started working 8 hour shifts, that I realized what I had been doing to myself.

    Now, I know that there are nurses out there who are like they were created for 12's. I envy you, because if you are able to capitalize on the time off, 12's are definitely the way to go!
  11. by   Horseshoe
    Quote from Nurse

    I have found that it is rare for a facility to have a scheduler that consistently upheld my request to not work 3 12's in a row. "Oh, it's just this once"....etc, etc, etc..... When I finally would have that day off after my third 12 hour shift, I would definitely not spring up out of bed with anticipation about how I was going to spend my marvelous day off....especially when I knew I was going to have to turn around and work in the next day or two.
    My unit is a self scheduled unit-as long as we get all the shifts covered, our NM does not get involved. There are holiday policies, of course, but we are given the responsibility and privilege of staffing our unit the way we want in terms of which days we work and how many in a row, etc. Once the schedule goes up, we are responsible for trading out shifts which we discover later don't really work for us. There is NO calling in for inclement weather and, like any facility, we have policies regarding how soon before our shift we may call in sick.

    There are few conflicts with this system. I guess I didn't realize that this was not the "typical" way of scheduling.
  12. by   Fiona59
    I'd never work 12s again. Ever. You never see your children on the days that you work.

    12 hour shifts were created for the employer's benefit. Less staff results in less benefits to be paid.

    Nearly every nurse who loved 12, went on mat leave and returns wants to go to 8s for the simple fact they can't find childcare nor do they see their child.
  13. by   86toronado
    I just have to put in my here and say that now that I've worked 12-hour shifts, I'd never go back to the 8's again. Even if one of your days off is "wasted" because you're tired, you still have three more days to get things done. If you want to work some overtime, you can come in an extra day and still wind up with three days off.
    I should add here that I don't have kids (and don't plan on having any) and my hubby also works 12's, so our days off are usually together. I guess if your SO worked a 9-5, and you had little ones it might be different.
  14. by   SolaireSolstice
    I choose to work 3- 12s. I am a dedicated weekender, and it was my choice. I wanted those 4 days off in a row, and I wouldn't want 5-8s. I worked 5-8s while I was a unit clerk, and I LOVED it when we switched to 12s. While at first I felt like I was missing out on a social life, now I have slid into a routine that suits me and my family very well. I don't care that I only see my son for maybe an hour on the days I work. He's being cared for. And he's a teenager and doesn't want to see me anyway. But I HATE that people think because I have 4 days off in a row I have "all this free time". Well, yes, but I work a full time schedule and that's MY time, and it's not free.

    In fact I will charge quite a bit for it.

    I quit a second job I worked only one day a week because they seemed to not get that I wasn't at their beck and call and if my patients' cancel or they don't need me to please LET ME KNOW so I don't drag my ass into work for nothing. "But what's the big deal, you were scheduled anyway." Well, yes I was, but honestly, I already worked this week, and this is extra, not something I'm doing for fun. So I took back my time. And I'm happier for it.

    Then my father gave me crap about how I "only work 3 days a week." I may let him have his head back in a few days once I'm done chewing on it.

    I am very protective of my time off now. I will only schedule one day w/ appts so I have the other days to do what I wish. Then life interferes and I agree to come in and relieve a sick co-worker, or get called to jury duty (because remember, I only work weekends, so it's not like I get time off from work for that), and I hear from someone how nice it must be to have "4 days off". Yes, but I EARNED them.

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