12 hour shifts too long? - page 6

Are 12 hour shifts too long? I have seen many nurses getting burned out at 8 hours. Does the level of care decline when nurses are working 12 hour shifts?... Read More

  1. by   PFDGB
    Quote from nursesandi
    More days off or shorter days? Personally, my idea of a great rotation would be 4 on and 4 off, 8 hour shifts, but the pay is not going to cut it for my financial requirements.

    Continuity is a great plus of the 12 hour shift and there is no doubt that patient care is premium for the patient who has the same nurse more than one day in a row and only 2 nurses as opposed to 3 in a 24 hour period. It does work best.

    I think the burn out factor is directly related to the working environment and the patient/nurse ratios. I have been in a transitory period of my career and had the opportunity to work in a number of different areas and I must say that the difference in the way I feel at the end of a shift is relative to the place I have spent that shift. For example, on the medical units, we have a ratio of 10 -12 patients for a team of 1 RN and 1 LPN. These patients are generally elderly, often of a palliative or end of life stage and are what I refer to as high physical energy and fitness required from the nursing staff. They require much in terms of lifting and even just constant repositioning and I am pretty useless at the end of my shift, especially nights where we seldom get adequate breaks and lack proper areas for getting our feet up on breaks.

    Other areas, such as ICU, where the ratio is 1 to 2 patients, the end of the day feels so much different. Although the acuity is different, there is a much larger support system and the staff have adequate areas for proper breaks. Another high acuity medical area I work in is a 5/6 patient to 1 nurse ratio and the patients are of a more independent nature and again, I feel much less fatigued at the end of my shift.

    I have also worked 8 hour shifts on the same medical units that make me feel like I can barely get home after a 12 hour shift and at the end of 8 hours I feel as if I have not even been at work, I still have so much energy.

    I am divorced with 2 school age children and I love 8 hour shifts so I can have continuity with them. When I work 8 hours, I still have the majority of the day with them and I love that. If I had no children or infants, I would like
    12 hours for the continuity of the patients and the days off.

    We are all different and there are so many factors involved. If you are feeling really wasted after 12 hours, perhaps you need to try a different area or a rotation that will offer 8 hour shifts. Sometimes just a change can give a person a renewed energy.

    Good luck.
    Could you please guide me accordingly. I am a new grad just beginning to look for a job. I didn't have to read this thread to know just how hard it is to do those 12 hr shifts. I went on my 1st interview a few days ago and found that there is no other option other than the 12 hr shift. However, I was looking for a psych position where 8 hr shifts were the only option. I thought to myself 'Great" the drawback there however was that they were not willing to take a new grad. This I don't understand. What is the point to killing yourself on a med-surge 12 hr shift with 10-12 nurse/pt ratio if your going into psych nursing. When the recruiter told me that this probably would not be possible she asked me if she could put me down for med-surge. I replied "No that would not be possible but thank you for the offer" she looked at me like who the you no what I was.
  2. by   xrockstheheart
    Quote from PFDGB
    Could you please guide me accordingly. I am a new grad just beginning to look for a job. I didn't have to read this thread to know just how hard it is to do those 12 hr shifts. I went on my 1st interview a few days ago and found that there is no other option other than the 12 hr shift. However, I was looking for a psych position where 8 hr shifts were the only option. I thought to myself 'Great" the drawback there however was that they were not willing to take a new grad. This I don't understand. What is the point to killing yourself on a med-surge 12 hr shift with 10-12 nurse/pt ratio if your going into psych nursing. When the recruiter told me that this probably would not be possible she asked me if she could put me down for med-surge. I replied "No that would not be possible but thank you for the offer" she looked at me like who the you no what I was.
    I apologize for the mess. the 12 hour shift were management's idea to get rid of one shift and not have to pay them. they did not increase the pay for nurses, what they did was take it as profit. Nurses went along for the ride. when you are a young nurse a 12 hour shift may seem great to you, but do if for about 5 years, you'll see the drawback. you'll be taking that motrin to numb the pain, your legs and knees will give out on you. one case of plantar fasicitis and you'll wonder, what is going on. so your cost will increase. I have always thought new nurses should start out on the medical floor and still believe this. But you're right about the staffing. Those people that do it and report good outcomes are delusional, good nursing is a myth in many places. Please read; Nursing as a function of time, www.nursewise.com. so try the nursing homes, try home health, but get away from 12 hour shifts. and remember vote for term limits. good luck.
  3. by   tntrn
    We have a combo of 8 and 12 hours shifts. Some people work 8's and some work 12's. It's a scheduling nightmare, but as long as our contract is in place, they cannot do away with the 8's.

    If I or any of my family members are ever hospitalized, my first question to my nurse will be: how far into your 12 hour (if that's what it is) shift are you and the second question will be How many 12 hour shifts have you done prior to today. If the answers are 10 or above on the first question and 3 or more on the second, then I want a fresh nurse.

    How anybody can think that working 6 12's in a row provides good care (for patient or staff) is beyond me. I am sure the nurses working these schedules try their hardest to do their best, but we're all human and our bodies need more rest than that allows. Just MHO.
  4. by   nursesandi
    Quote from PFDGB
    Could you please guide me accordingly. I am a new grad just beginning to look for a job. I didn't have to read this thread to know just how hard it is to do those 12 hr shifts. I went on my 1st interview a few days ago and found that there is no other option other than the 12 hr shift. However, I was looking for a psych position where 8 hr shifts were the only option. I thought to myself 'Great" the drawback there however was that they were not willing to take a new grad. This I don't understand. What is the point to killing yourself on a med-surge 12 hr shift with 10-12 nurse/pt ratio if your going into psych nursing. When the recruiter told me that this probably would not be possible she asked me if she could put me down for med-surge. I replied "No that would not be possible but thank you for the offer" she looked at me like who the you no what I was.
    I think the decision here as a new grad is whether you really want to do a psych position first. I am assuming you have trained in both areas. It is difficult to advise you, but if you do not have any experience other than as a student, my position would be to say that 12 or 8 hour shifts, you need to spend some time in a medical unit. It would be a shame to have worked so hard to get through all your training and not take an opportunity to strenghthen your skills. Please, do not take offense to this statement. I am not saying you will not gain skills on a psych unit, but you will definitely not use your training to it's full potential in most psych settings. If you plan to never work in a hospital/medical setting, then go for the psych job, but you will be losing the chance to really establish what you learned in school and perhaps even losing future opportunities.

    Do not misunderstand what you are reading in these messages. I love my work and would not do anything else, 12 hour shifts or not. Nursing is a fantastic career with so many opportunities and directions to take. I did my first few years on medical and it has given me a wonderful foundation to take forward to new areas and trust me, you will use your psych skills in any and all settings. Two years in medicine will make you a desirable employee and two years seems to be the golden number, because you have had time to establish solid organizational skills and to firm up the practical ones. After a few months, giving injections is low on your anxiety list. Being able to give accurate and detailed assessments is one of the best skills you can develop.

    Do not take offense to the person you spoke with, getting nurses is not easy with the global shortages and the person that hires you is not your main concern, so don't get hung up there. Look at what you want and try the 12 hour shifts, most people really like them. Enjoy your future, it is full of opportunities.
  5. by   PFDGB
    Quote from nursesandi
    I think the decision here as a new grad is whether you really want to do a psych position first. I am assuming you have trained in both areas. It is difficult to advise you, but if you do not have any experience other than as a student, my position would be to say that 12 or 8 hour shifts, you need to spend some time in a medical unit. It would be a shame to have worked so hard to get through all your training and not take an opportunity to strenghthen your skills. Please, do not take offense to this statement. I am not saying you will not gain skills on a psych unit, but you will definitely not use your training to it's full potential in most psych settings. If you plan to never work in a hospital/medical setting, then go for the psych job, but you will be losing the chance to really establish what you learned in school and perhaps even losing future opportunities.

    Do not misunderstand what you are reading in these messages. I love my work and would not do anything else, 12 hour shifts or not. Nursing is a fantastic career with so many opportunities and directions to take. I did my first few years on medical and it has given me a wonderful foundation to take forward to new areas and trust me, you will use your psych skills in any and all settings. Two years in medicine will make you a desirable employee and two years seems to be the golden number, because you have had time to establish solid organizational skills and to firm up the practical ones. After a few months, giving injections is low on your anxiety list. Being able to give accurate and detailed assessments is one of the best skills you can develop.

    Do not take offense to the person you spoke with, getting nurses is not easy with the global shortages and the person that hires you is not your main concern, so don't get hung up there. Look at what you want and try the 12 hour shifts, most people really like them. Enjoy your future, it is full of opportunities.
    Thank you so much for your kind response. I wasn't going to open the allnurses site given the response to me by others. But, I know that I would lose out on guidance and information from others that have a kinder and less judgemental way of offering advice from your years of experience of which I have great admiration and respect. Psych has always been extremely interesting to me long before I entered nursing school. Through school the best part of my clinical rotations was when I was at the bedside having conversation to all of my patients. I know that I made a difference to each one especially with their psychological and emotional fragility. I did also find the medical apsects of nursing and subsequent care required very interesting and rewarding when I provided care - it was hands down the ability to spend time with the patient's. My biggeest concern is that I will not be able to give each of my patient's that same attention to their emotional etc... needs on a med-surge unit because of the high patient load. I love working with the patients and I fear leaving the unit each day with a sense of guilt for not giving them all of what they need. I spent a lot of time while on the units talking with the RN's who had been their for many years picking their brains for their valuble experience and guidance. Hands down they told me that while my intentions were great the fact is that there is not enough time to really spend time with the patient's. That is what concerns me. I know that each nurse out there wants or wanted the very same things I do now but the reality is that time constraints inhibit the nurses ability to give that to their patient's. This is why I wanted to go into psych. I figured that I would have more time to do what I do best-to communicate with and connect with the emotional & psychological needs of my patient's.

    I am 47 yrs of age with a wealth of life experience in may areas - it is my hands on that lacks what I need to be a great nurse - this I know. And I am more than willing to work hard to learn all that I lack. I just don't want to make a mistake from the get go by making the wrong decision as to where to start out of the gate.

    You have helped me enormously and perhaps have alterd my thinking as to the right direction I should take. I do agree that entering psych first will pigean-hole me for my future in nursing. Thank you so much for your kindness and experience - your approach and response to my post could not have been stated better. Thank you...
  6. by   punnit_square
    Quote from nursesandi
    I think the decision here as a new grad is whether you really want to do a psych position first. I am assuming you have trained in both areas. It is difficult to advise you, but if you do not have any experience other than as a student, my position would be to say that 12 or 8 hour shifts, you need to spend some time in a medical unit. It would be a shame to have worked so hard to get through all your training and not take an opportunity to strenghthen your skills. Please, do not take offense to this statement. I am not saying you will not gain skills on a psych unit, but you will definitely not use your training to it's full potential in most psych settings. If you plan to never work in a hospital/medical setting, then go for the psych job, but you will be losing the chance to really establish what you learned in school and perhaps even losing future opportunities.

    Do not misunderstand what you are reading in these messages. I love my work and would not do anything else, 12 hour shifts or not. Nursing is a fantastic career with so many opportunities and directions to take. I did my first few years on medical and it has given me a wonderful foundation to take forward to new areas and trust me, you will use your psych skills in any and all settings. Two years in medicine will make you a desirable employee and two years seems to be the golden number, because you have had time to establish solid organizational skills and to firm up the practical ones. After a few months, giving injections is low on your anxiety list. Being able to give accurate and detailed assessments is one of the best skills you can develop.

    Do not take offense to the person you spoke with, getting nurses is not easy with the global shortages and the person that hires you is not your main concern, so don't get hung up there. Look at what you want and try the 12 hour shifts, most people really like them. Enjoy your future, it is full of opportunities.
    Not neccessarily (doing med surg before a specialty). Many hospitals (especially those with Trauma II and III status) do have internships designed for the new grad or those wanting to go to an area that they are not familiar with. I was told by a CCU nurse to go directly into CCU to get the needed exposure that I need. But we all have to do what is best for us.
  7. by   PFDGB
    Quote from punnit_square
    Not neccessarily (doing med surg before a specialty). Many hospitals (especially those with Trauma II and III status) do have internships designed for the new grad or those wanting to go to an area that they are not familiar with. I was told by a CCU nurse to go directly into CCU to get the needed exposure that I need. But we all have to do what is best for us.
    What you are saying is exactly what others have said to me in the area I live. There are a lot of new grads getting positions in various areas of nursing without having to go into an area that they do not desire to pursue. I was shocked two days ago when the recruiter called me back and said that they did in fact have the position in psych that I wanted. I have a 2nd interview this week with the head nurse on the unit. I didn't expect the call back since I was told at 1st interview that new grads were not taken into psych. At that time I was truly dissapointed thinking I would have to do time on units that I really didn't want. It was a diificut week just thinking about it. When your heart is in something I think that is vital to pursue it. It makes for a better nurse for the patients on the unit.

    I think that when you are young and starting out in nursing you have the time to pursue many areas until you find your nich so to speak. But when you enter the profession of nursing later on in your life it often with a specific interest and goal in mind. Not usually for the purposes of having income; if you can understand and or relate to what I'm saying. When your older you tend to look at things from a different light from things that life has taught you.
  8. by   nursesandi
    Quote from PFDGB
    Thank you so much for your kind response. I wasn't going to open the allnurses site given the response to me by others. But, I know that I would lose out on guidance and information from others that have a kinder and less judgemental way of offering advice from your years of experience of which I have great admiration and respect. Psych has always been extremely interesting to me long before I entered nursing school. Through school the best part of my clinical rotations was when I was at the bedside having conversation to all of my patients. I know that I made a difference to each one especially with their psychological and emotional fragility. I did also find the medical apsects of nursing and subsequent care required very interesting and rewarding when I provided care - it was hands down the ability to spend time with the patient's. My biggeest concern is that I will not be able to give each of my patient's that same attention to their emotional etc... needs on a med-surge unit because of the high patient load. I love working with the patients and I fear leaving the unit each day with a sense of guilt for not giving them all of what they need. I spent a lot of time while on the units talking with the RN's who had been their for many years picking their brains for their valuble experience and guidance. Hands down they told me that while my intentions were great the fact is that there is not enough time to really spend time with the patient's. That is what concerns me. I know that each nurse out there wants or wanted the very same things I do now but the reality is that time constraints inhibit the nurses ability to give that to their patient's. This is why I wanted to go into psych. I figured that I would have more time to do what I do best-to communicate with and connect with the emotional & psychological needs of my patient's.

    I am 47 yrs of age with a wealth of life experience in may areas - it is my hands on that lacks what I need to be a great nurse - this I know. And I am more than willing to work hard to learn all that I lack. I just don't want to make a mistake from the get go by making the wrong decision as to where to start out of the gate.

    You have helped me enormously and perhaps have alterd my thinking as to the right direction I should take. I do agree that entering psych first will pigean-hole me for my future in nursing. Thank you so much for your kindness and experience - your approach and response to my post could not have been stated better. Thank you...
    I have been working those 12 hour shifts the last few days and have not had a chance to check my e-mail. I too was a late starter as an RN and it is true that you do not get the bedside time you want, but you are still helping people and you will be amazed at what people remember. I have had people that were in my care in hospital stop me and tell me lovely things and how I helped them and what a good nurse I am and sadly, I can't remember who some of them are, but at least it is some reward to know that when they were sick and vulnerable, I did something that worked for them. Nursing is a caring profession, no matter where you work, just do the best you can and that is usually enough. Patients know when you really care and will appreciate it. After my last few shifts, I felt like I had been working in psych. It was interesting, but I do love medicine. Enjoy.
  9. by   PFDGB
    Quote from nursesandi
    I have been working those 12 hour shifts the last few days and have not had a chance to check my e-mail. I too was a late starter as an RN and it is true that you do not get the bedside time you want, but you are still helping people and you will be amazed at what people remember. I have had people that were in my care in hospital stop me and tell me lovely things and how I helped them and what a good nurse I am and sadly, I can't remember who some of them are, but at least it is some reward to know that when they were sick and vulnerable, I did something that worked for them. Nursing is a caring profession, no matter where you work, just do the best you can and that is usually enough. Patients know when you really care and will appreciate it. After my last few shifts, I felt like I had been working in psych. It was interesting, but I do love medicine. Enjoy.
    I'm so glad that you had a great run the passed few shifts and that the patient's responded so well to your care. That is the greatest reward. Knowing that you have made a difference.

    How long have you been doing the 12 hr. shifts?

    I know that it must be very difficult to remember all the names and I am sure that I myself will experince the very same thing in psych. The patient turn over rate I am sure must be equal to that in the medicine units. Resources are less available to those in psych and often patients are forced out before they receive all of the care they really need. But for the time that we both have each patient we can make a difference for each of them (both medicine & psych).

    I was truly shocked when I received a call back interivew with the head nurse on my first interview last week. The recruiter originally said that they would not take a new grad in psych. So when she called back two days later I was shocked. I meet with the head nurse on Thursday this week. I guess they decided to continue the interview process. I hope that this works out because I'm really very excited about the possibility.
  10. by   nursesandi
    Quote from PFDGB
    I'm so glad that you had a great run the passed few shifts and that the patient's responded so well to your care. That is the greatest reward. Knowing that you have made a difference.

    How long have you been doing the 12 hr. shifts?

    I know that it must be very difficult to remember all the names and I am sure that I myself will experince the very same thing in psych. The patient turn over rate I am sure must be equal to that in the medicine units. Resources are less available to those in psych and often patients are forced out before they receive all of the care they really need. But for the time that we both have each patient we can make a difference for each of them (both medicine & psych).

    I was truly shocked when I received a call back interivew with the head nurse on my first interview last week. The recruiter originally said that they would not take a new grad in psych. So when she called back two days later I was shocked. I meet with the head nurse on Thursday this week. I guess they decided to continue the interview process. I hope that this works out because I'm really very excited about the possibility.
    I am so pleased that you are going to be interviewed and I am sure you will be successful. It is great to be following your dreams.

    I have worked 12 hour shifts for the last 5 years. I have done lots of different things in my life and I have worked in nursing in 8 hour positions, but I was in business with my now ex-husband and we worked so hard, 24 hours wouldn't of been enough. It was a lot of fun with lots of hard work. We also had a farm and that is a big job too. Lots of hours, especially when you have livestock. Every job has good points and bad, I suppose the best thing is not to see that, just to wait and see.

    Good luck in your interview and please let me know how it all works out. I will be returning to work on Friday for a set of four on medicine. I will be going to telemetry in my next set. I like bouncing around, it is great getting to work with people I haven't seen for a while and to not be too involved in ward politics. We are going through so many changes here and waiting for completion of a new hospital, which is still a long way off.

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