8 Hour Night Shifts

  1. Ok so I am working on my capstone project for my RN-MSN-Ed. My PICOT at this point is dealing with 8 vs 12 hour shifts.

    On an unrelated note my first job was working 11-7a. Basically I hated it because I felt like I had no life. Half the time my days off were spread apart so I never had recoup time, or I was on call until 3am (very small hospital).

    Anyway, here is my question, not for my project, but for my own curiosity. Let's say it is proven, beyond a doubt, that 8 hour shifts could improve your life. If you could be scheduled like this:

    January: Sun-Thur
    Feb: Mon-Fri
    March: Tue-Sat
    April: Wed-Sun

    and so forth, moving your work week one day, but keeping your days together, would you work 8's instead of 12's?

    I know there are a million variables to this, but for me I think consistency would be the key, at least for me to work nights as an 8 hour.

    Thanks for any feedback!

  2. Poll: Would you work 8's instead of 12's if scheduled consistently?

    • Yes

      26.47% 18
    • No

      64.71% 44
    • Maybe

      8.82% 6
    68 Votes
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    About Tait

    Joined: Jul '07; Posts: 2,594; Likes: 5,052


  4. by   ajaxgirl
    No way. Not 5 in a row. I did 8 hr nights buying PT and never more than three in a row.
  5. by   Aliakey
    I live in a rural area and work in the city. With fuel prices climbing and such, I prefer 12 hour shifts. Not only do I get to save fuel and vehicle wear n' tear by going into town less frequently and still work these full time hours, but there is also the time saved from driving itself. An hour and a half here and there may not seem like much for some, but that is time I can spend with family, sleeping, or just goofing off. So, there is a somewhat-hidden extra expense in moving to 8 hour shifts.

    I can't remember the last time I worked five shifts in a row, and that is a painful thought to consider, lol! My current schedule is 3 on, 2 off, 2 on, 3 off, 2 on, etc., which gives me a 3-day weekend off every other week, and a 3-day weekend to work. Those 3-day work weekends aren't too bad, but the 3-day weekends off are really nice
  6. by   WhereIsMyCallBell
    Personally I am much more burnt out and fatigued at the end of an 8hr, 5 day week than working 3 12's in a row. That 3rd 12 hr day can be a bit** sometimes if you've had a crazy, busy stretch. But the time off it affords me is very worth it. I also agree with the saving on wear and tear on my vehicle (and ga$) these days. 12 hr shifts rock as far as I am concerned. Plus 8 hr days can often turn into 9 or 10 hours if you have had alot of admits, incidents, deaths etc. Like you said LOTS of variables to consider.
  7. by   Good Morning, Gil
    If I had to work 8 hour shifts, day or night, especially night, though, I'd probably be a bedside nurse for all of a week. No way. Anything other than bedside nursing, 8 hour shifts are fine by me, but for me personally, I need that time away from the bedside (don't get me wrong, I find nursing rewarding, but only when I work 3 shifts a week, max. Really, it would be even more rewarding, more peachy fuzzy feelings would occur if I worked part time, hopefully at some point I can do that, not right now, though lol). Also, more able to get everything that needs to be accomplished in 12 hours.

    Worked 8 hour shifts 3-11PM at my first job for a few months before asking to go to 12's. Hated it. Was always at work.
  8. by   TheCommuter
    I once worked 8-hour night shifts. My schedule was Monday through Friday from 10pm to 6am.

    I would not voluntarily agree to work this schedule again unless I was about to become homeless because it felt bleak and isolating to me. My two days off were, in reality, reduced to one night off because I spent Saturday recovering. I spent my afternoons and evenings sleeping. While working 8-hour night shifts, my life alternated between sleep and work with nothing in between.

    I now work 12-hour night shifts and love the fact that I have 4 nights off per week.
  9. by   LadyFree28
    Quote from ajaxgirl
    No way. Not 5 in a row. I did 8 hr nights buying PT and never more than three in a row.

    I cannot, canNOT survive past three days in a row. I feel as though its too much!

    My current schedule has been three 12s in a row, on nights, and so far, I recuperate pretty well. My previous job, I worked 4 days with at least 1 day off, or a short shift in between, yet by the time the weekend came, I was recuperating.

    To me, the days together with shorter shifts are more enduring than shorter days with longer shifts. If done right, the recuperation is shorter, and work-life balance can work.
  10. by   C-lion
    I might do 4 10's, but not 5 8's. Nuh-uh.
  11. by   turnforthenurse
    Absolutely not. I would much rather do three 12's in a row and have four days off.
  12. by   red2003xlt
    I work in a Crisis Stabilization Unit of a Psychiatric Hospital. I work 12's on the weekends and 8's during the week.

    I take the 8's during the week. Given the nature of this unit the 12's can lead to complacency at the end of the shift. Generally this is when a incident occurs.

    I'll take the 8's
  13. by   MunoRN
    I think it's a difficult question to answer because you're using a premise that has been disproven; that 8 hour night shifts are better.

    There are a few Nurses who prefer 8 hour nights, but overall they're inferior to 12's. They're more likely to cause errors, injuries, and even cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. So I think a more accurate way to ask this question would be; if it wasn't for the negative safety and health effects of 8 hour nights...
  14. by   Bortaz, RN
    No way. I never want to work more than my 3 nights in a row.

    The schedule I submit each month is as follows:

    Work 3
    Off 2
    Work 3
    Off 6
    Work 3
    Off 2
    Work 3
    Off 6

    The 6 days off every two weeks allows me to remain a human and to participate in my marriage. My wife works M-F 8-5, so this is the only way we can have any meaningful time together.
  15. by   hiddencatRN
    Never. Only way I'd consider 8 hour night shifts is if I only needed to work 16 hr's a week. 5 days in a row in an office job without the stress of nursing left me exhausted and the opportunity to leave that behind and work 3 days a week was to me one of the perks of going in to nursing. I'm as unlikely to do anything useful with my time after an 8 hr day as I am after a 12 hour day so those 4 hours on an 8 hour day are lost to me. Working night shifts in general is a tough enough balancing act with life in general without spreading the burden out over more days and reducing the days I have off a week. Plus, more days a week means more days of childcare, more fussing with making business hour appointments, etc. There's nothing about a 5 day noc workweek that is appealing to me.