3 Consecutive 12 Hour Shifts

  1. Working 3 consecutive 12 hour shifts exhausts me. I usally finish the third night by crying in my car on my way home from work. The last shift I worked I had to practically run out of a patient's room because my IBS symptoms were flaring up.

    I've started a new job and sure enough I am scheduled for 3 consecutive 12 hour shifts for 3 weeks in a row. I actually quit my first hospital job because of this issue.

    At this point I am considering asking about a Baylor position (working weekends only) or getting a note from my doctor saying I cannot work this schedule for health reasons.

    What should I do? I like being a nurse. I even like working 12 hour shifts. But every employer (this is my third in 3 years) seems to expect me to work an exhausing schedule to accommodate them.

    Honestly, I think it is unreasonable for my employer to expect me to fit a fulltime work schedule in only 3 days. But other employees work this schedule and so I am expected to as well.

    Am I being unrealistic?
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  2. 23 Comments

  3. by   Super_RN
    I don't think you are being unrealistic. 12 hour shifts are exhausting! I work 3 in a row sometimes but they are usually followed by 5 or 6 days off. I have worked 4 in a row before and that was...terrible! Normally the first night back is worse for me than the 3rd night. By then I am in the swing of things. I would mention it since you are uncomfortable with the schedule. Is everyone else scheduled like that? Maybe you could be scheduled opposite of someone who feels the same way you do.
    Good luck!
  4. by   wooh
    Strangely, one of the reasons I quit my last job was I wanted my 3 12s to be in a row and they always insisted on splitting them up.
  5. by   ayneday
    I prefer working consecutive shifts because it frees up my week for other activities. My wife who is a cardiac surgery stepdown rn does not like working consecutive shifts. She works a wonderful facility and the pay is decent but she says its too much hardship for her body. I can sympathize.

    ayneday
  6. by   Luv2BAnurse
    I work three 12's in a row, and it is exhausting. I cry too. I'd STILL cry if they were split, I just don't want 12's anymore. Dream job....4 8's.... ahhhh
  7. by   CapeCoralNurse2be
    At the first hospital I ever worked at, I worked only on Saturdays and Sundays with an occassional Friday thrown in here and there, I worked 16 hour shifts back to back....HATED IT. That shift damn near killed me! I started getting sick a lot and it just wore me down real fast.

    I was so happy when a gal quit and I was offered her Monday through Thursday 10 hour shifts! What a difference! Even though I averaged more hours per week, having it spread out really changed how I felt.

    Koodos to you all that can do the back to back 12+ hour shifts...It's not for everyone.
  8. by   Aneroo
    It's killing me. It wasn't so bad in the beginning. Now that I'm further along in my pregnancy, my third night kills me.
    When walking my legs nearly give out underneath me between pure exhaustion and my sciatic nerve (baby is compressing, have intense pain).
    I too cry on the way home. It hurts to sit in my car by the last night, so the 20 minute drive is almost torture.
    When I try to go to sleep, my calves cramp. Only happens on nights I work, not the nights I have off.
    I agree. Right now I'd rather work 4 8-hr's instead. -Andrea
  9. by   pricklypear
    I don't understand why it's such a big deal for your employer to split up your shifts! I'm assuming you have spoken to your manager (or whomever schedules you). What do they tell you? I just don't understand how they would rather lose a staff member than accomodate your very reasonable request. At my last job, we didn't self schedule, and our manager NEVER put us at 3 12s in a row - unless we requested it that way. Personally, I don't mind working several in a row - I just work and sleep - but not everybody can. Nobody should be EXPECTED to, especially if they request not to. There are 7 days in the work week after all.
  10. by   NickieLea
    Quote from loconno2
    Working 3 consecutive 12 hour shifts exhausts me. I usally finish the third night by crying in my car on my way home from work. The last shift I worked I had to practically run out of a patient's room because my IBS symptoms were flaring up.

    I've started a new job and sure enough I am scheduled for 3 consecutive 12 hour shifts for 3 weeks in a row. I actually quit my first hospital job because of this issue.

    At this point I am considering asking about a Baylor position (working weekends only) or getting a note from my doctor saying I cannot work this schedule for health reasons.

    What should I do? I like being a nurse. I even like working 12 hour shifts. But every employer (this is my third in 3 years) seems to expect me to work an exhausing schedule to accommodate them.

    Honestly, I think it is unreasonable for my employer to expect me to fit a fulltime work schedule in only 3 days. But other employees work this schedule and so I am expected to as well.

    Am I being unrealistic?
    Welcome to my world for about 15 years. Remove maternity leave for two babies, and that's what my career was like. I worked night shifts and just left a job that routinely scheduled me for 5-8 12 hour night shifts in a row.

    I'm pushing 40, my husband has a demanding job in the military, and I'm trying to provide some sort of normal life for two neat kids. So I left and took an Endoscopy position at a great place, Mon - Fri 0800 - 1600. No call, no nights, no holidays, and no weekends.

    I miss critical care. It was part of who I identified myself to be. I know the patients need nursing care, but I finally had to soul search and explore my priorities in life. My family has to come first.

    Now I sleep about 8 hours a night, make plans on the weekends, travel, and cook dinner! I see my son's football games, my daughter's dance recitals, and can cover if my husband needs to dispatch overnight somewhere.

    It isn't as exciting, but it's soothing!

    It's hard to come to the realization that I wasn't Superwoman.

    Please speak up. I missed out on so much because I lived in the fog from all those twelve hour night shifts.
  11. by   loconno2
    I tried to approach my manager about this but she closed me down pretty quickly. I don't know if my timing was off, if she was in a bad mood, etc.

    Part of the problem is that I originally started out in the ICU at this hospital but wasn't able to complete orientation. So I never broached this subject with my new manager because it wasn't an issue with the previous manager.

    This department does scheduling in something called a "master pattern" and because I am "low man on the totem pole" I am left with all the shifts that no one else wants.

    Thanks everyone for your feedback.
  12. by   Bipley
    Quote from loconno2
    Working 3 consecutive 12 hour shifts exhausts me. I usally finish the third night by crying in my car on my way home from work. The last shift I worked I had to practically run out of a patient's room because my IBS symptoms were flaring up.

    I've started a new job and sure enough I am scheduled for 3 consecutive 12 hour shifts for 3 weeks in a row. I actually quit my first hospital job because of this issue.

    At this point I am considering asking about a Baylor position (working weekends only) or getting a note from my doctor saying I cannot work this schedule for health reasons.

    What should I do? I like being a nurse. I even like working 12 hour shifts. But every employer (this is my third in 3 years) seems to expect me to work an exhausing schedule to accommodate them.

    Honestly, I think it is unreasonable for my employer to expect me to fit a fulltime work schedule in only 3 days. But other employees work this schedule and so I am expected to as well.

    Am I being unrealistic?
    I used to work 7-12s then I had 7 days off. I liked it but I fully admit, it takes some getting used to. Not sure I could do that schedule working days, but on nights it was wonderful. I loved having every other week off.
  13. by   Bipley
    Quote from CapeCoralNurse2be
    At the first hospital I ever worked at, I worked only on Saturdays and Sundays with an occassional Friday thrown in here and there, I worked 16 hour shifts back to back....HATED IT. That shift damn near killed me! I started getting sick a lot and it just wore me down real fast.

    I was so happy when a gal quit and I was offered her Monday through Thursday 10 hour shifts! What a difference! Even though I averaged more hours per week, having it spread out really changed how I felt.

    Koodos to you all that can do the back to back 12+ hour shifts...It's not for everyone.
    Wow... I've never heard of 2-16's, 5 off before. Not sure I could do that.
  14. by   mstigerlily
    I think I would like 2 16 hr shifts. I work three 12s nightshift now and it's just perfect. I would LOVE to have five days off in a row.

    I like to work 2 12s though and have 3 days off. I've done three in a row before but it's a lot.

    Quote from Bipley
    Wow... I've never heard of 2-16's, 5 off before. Not sure I could do that.

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