8 hour or 12 hour shifts?

  1. I will be done with my ADN in May, and I was wondering-Are 8 hour shifts better, or are 12 hour shifts?
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   Havin' A Party!
    Many years ago worked 10-hour days as an engineer. Gotta be honest, loved the three-day (and sometimes longer) weekends.

    But was I nearly as productive towards the end of the work-week? Not even close. (And that was a desk job!)

    Know some folks dig doing the 12-hour shifts for the bennies of all the days off.

    No way I could handle those extended hours and be my happy ol' self. Different strokes.
  4. by   orrnlori
    I did 12's for a while but I quickly learned that I become dangerous around hour 10. I now work 4 - 9 hour shifts, which is the same total as 3 -12's. I like it, I'm not too tired and I still get that wonderful day off a week.
  5. by   KailuaNurse
    I have worked two types of work schedules.

    The first type that I worked as a new grad was on a medical floor. The full time position that I held was a mix of 8 and 12's (3 eight hour shiftst and 4 twelve hour shifts in a 2 week period) with 8 hours of call required every two weeks. I have to admit it was always nice when I worked an 8 hour shift. The shift went by so much faster, but I felt like I was always at work. I was working about 4 days a week, but with doing some 12's in there it was horrible. There were weeks that I would be working 48 hours because of the required 8 hours of call.

    I reciently switched units, the PICU. Only 12 hour shift are offered. Honestly I like it so much better because it doesn't seem like I am always at the hospital. And I think the PICU is just a better fit for me anyway.

    I don't know how it would be working straight 8 hour shifts. That sounds like it would be really nice.
  6. by   Tweety
    There a pluses and minuses about both types of shifts. I enjoyed having the evening free when I worked five 8-hour shifts. When you work 12s that's pretty much the whole day gone, with no time for anything else, but I like having four days off a week. To me the payoff of four days off a week outweights the free time during the 8 hour days.

    Good luck!
  7. by   nekhismom
    I just did my first 12, and it sucked. i LOVE working 10 hr shifts, but that doesn't seem to be an option in nursing. I think i might like 12s better after I get used to them, but for now, I vote for 8's.
  8. by   sharann
    12 hr shift are grueling at times, but you can work full time and spend LESS time (as mentioned above )at the hospital.Some 12's turn into 14 or 16's though! Got to watch out not to schedule too many 12's in a row or you burn out fast. I an't do more than 2 in a row. I would HATe working 8 hours 5 xweek though.
    Good luck after graduation!
  9. by   Pronurse
    8 hours are fine... the 12 hr. shifts depend on whether you work through the night and still have morning hours to do... It depends on whether you are a night person or not. I worked a 12am to 12 noon shift on an inpatient psychiatric unit. It was tough getting through the final four hours. What worked was 12n to 12midnight, but again, it depends on what time of day is best for you. I work 12 hours now. I find it less pressure and there is always something that needs to be done. Having 12 hr shift helps to get more things completed... besides, it helps to give you more time off...
  10. by   meownsmile
    I do 12 hour shifts and have found the only way i can keep them from turning into 15 hour days is to make sure i have my charting done before 3pm. Then im free to handle the extend bed surgicals, new admissions, etc and have time to at least give a verbal report to the next shift. I try to get in to tape report by 6pm, then i have a few minutes to tie up loose ends and get out by 730. If i dont get the charting done by 3 though im usually there till 8 or after.
    I do like the 12 hours though, even though they seem long sometimes. I love my days off.
  11. by   OC_An Khe
    As other postersd have said it depends on the individual RN and the workload of the unit. Add in the commuting and at home responsibilities and 12's can become very long and tiring. But the real issue is patient safety. Which type of scheduling ensures patient safety. There are some units where 12's can work and there are others where it does degrade patient care. The deciding issue should not be the extra days off but rather how does the staffing pattern effect patient care.
  12. by   lee1
    Quote from ocankhe
    As other postersd have said it depends on the individual RN and the workload of the unit. Add in the commuting and at home responsibilities and 12's can become very long and tiring. But the real issue is patient safety. Which type of scheduling ensures patient safety. There are some units where 12's can work and there are others where it does degrade patient care. The deciding issue should not be the extra days off but rather how does the staffing pattern effect patient care.

    Personally after 30 years in critical care I think that 12 hr shifts are dangerous both for many of the reasons above and also that continuity of care is great possibly only for those 3days of the week that you work IF you have the same patients. I have found that generally where I work there is a mix of hours---some nurses work 8, some 12 so that on any given day if the charge nurse has not been careful with the assignment than continuity of care becomes a problem. Absoulutely Directors and Head Nurses need to work 8 hour days, but in many units again where I work they are also doing 12 hr days and thus leadership is not continuous and becomes very fragmented. Most Directors do work 8 hr days but not the HNs.
    If you patient acuity is bad right from minute 1 your whole day can be extremely bad and God forbid you are doing this 3 12 hour days in a row. Also, many 12 hour nurses in this area work another job thus leaving performance dedication out the window--it is just another paycheck
  13. by   orrnlori
    Yeah, in a perfect world, how the shifts affect patient care would be an issue. However, I don't see many nurses getting to determine what shifts create maximum patient care, those a determined by the unit charge. In our hospital 12 hours shifts are the norm, a position opens up and it is what it is. On the floor it's 8 hours or 12 hours, usually 12. So I think the question was, which was best for this new nurse to consider if she has the option.
  14. by   donmurray
    I recall reading that there is some US research showing an increase in accidents, drug errors, etc. on 12 hour shifts, as opposed to 8's but don't know where to look.

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