8 hour shift vs. 12 hour shift - your opinion... - page 4

by TovaFlynn 39,175 Views | 41 Comments

Hello. I am a Columbia University student nurse. Some of my classmates and I are preseting a debate as to whether the 8 or 12 hour shift is better. We are hoping to hear it from you - the experts! Please let us know which... Read More


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    Hi, I think all shifts have their advantages and disadvantages. I work M-F, 11-7. The advantages are that I can sleep while kids are in school and can make Dr. appts etc when needed and go to school events during the day. The disadvantage is you either sleep most of your Saturday away and start feeling human again on Sunday, or try to stay up and sleep "normally" over the weekend which can really mess up your hours. I think 5, 8 hr shifts in a row is a little too much and 4 would be better.

    I have worked 12 hr nights and really enjoyed that because we were off as much as we were on, got plenty of rest and things seemed to run a lot smoother with all shifts. In addition we didn't have as many "call-ins" then as we seem to now.

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    I was in nursing for many years and have worked many shifts. The one I preferred was the 10 hours. I worked 4 10/hr days a week. It always (seemed in my time) that we never got off in 8 hours and the extra 2 hours you never minded. Also it gave an overlap of shifts where you could help each other out, if there was a problem. Also another option was 7 days 10hours and then 7 days off. (No vacation time tho) When I worked the 12 hour shift-I worked the 7P-7A and liked it because you got to know the patient before they were down for the night. Also the busy time of the day was the 7A-7P shift. What I didn't like about the shift was that when 7P came the early shift wanted to leave exActly at 7 with no overlap even tho it was supposed to be 6:45A to 7:15P and the late shift 6:45P-7:15A. The late shift at the hospital didn't get a break, so we actually worked 12 1/2 hours.
    Originally posted by TovaFlynn:
    Hello. I am a Columbia University student nurse. Some of my classmates and I are preseting a debate as to whether the 8 or 12 hour shift is better. We are hoping to hear it from you - the experts! Please let us know which shift you prefer and why. Tell us what you think are the pros and cons of either or both the 8 and 12 hour shift. Even if you prefer one to the other, and you think there may be something to say (be it good or bad) about the shift you don't prefer, please let us know! All information will be presented at the presentation. If you don't or do want your name disclosed, please specify. Thank you so much for participating. : ) Tova, CUNS
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    Twelve hour shifts were just too long for me. I found that they were extremely exhausting when I was sick, when I had a patient that was giving me the blues, and when I was just having a day from hell, in general. I, also, learned that if you did call in sick, you would be assured that 12 hours would be missing from your paycheck or you'd have to use 12 hours of PTO. Finding someone to change days with you was hard, too. It was rare for you to just have a 12 hour shift. You don't get off work until the paperwork is done and after you've given report. It seemed like right before shift change is when a patient would pull out their IV/SL, need their diaper changed, or code. I rarely got off work on time. I could tolerate 8 hr shifts better physically and mentally. My patients would often say to me "You have been here all day" and "I don't think that's safe" or "I couldn't work a 12 hour day". Don't even think about having anykind of partaking of a holiday on a 12 hour shift. Be thankful if the company remembers to give you a dinner!
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    Totally agree with Palpitations. You really have to be a nurse for a while and see what we mean. Plus if you have a family 12 hrs, which often =s a lot more if you work in a unit, is more than 12hr. That doesn't even take travel time into account (many of us commute.) I don't know how many nights I almost killed myself driving home after a "12" really 13-14hr shift. You fall asleep and drive off the road--when it happens more than a couple times a month, you really have to start to worry. I'd rather do 8 hour shifts, that way, the job takes up only a third of your life or really day/night, instead of 1/2 of your day/night. Eights are easier to fill for switches and emergencies. You get better rest, and you do get to enjoy more of holiday with your family. If you are a family person, and getting over 25 yofage, I stongly suggest eight hours. It's not like we are residents and may have a chance for rest/sleep time when all is settled. We have to keep going. It gets to you after a while.
    TomRN1 likes this.
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    After 23 years I have worked an interseting combinations of all sorts of shifts. I too found that different shifts have worked better at different times and situations in may life. When my 3 girls were real little I found that the 12 hour shifts or a combination of 2--12 and 2--8 worked best. My husband had more slack to pick up when I worked but the extra time off meant that the house was cleaner we actually had good meals at least 3 days a work instead of soup and sandwiches, carry out or those special 20 minute meals all working moms have in the cupboard and freezer-mine was chicken parmesan using bottled spaghetti sauce and tyson chicken patties. It was easier to get to the doctor dentist etc and my husband discovered he still had a wife cause instead of falling a sleep as soon as the kids were in bed I was better rested and able to stay awake a little longer at least a few nites aweek. I just left a job that was Monday thru Friday 8-4:30 with call on the nite shift and weekends This meant several 50-60 hour weeks and working with no sleep after being there all nite. This was getting more difficult to do as I have gotten older. I am back to 12 hour shifts 3 days a week--One daughter is married and the other 2 in high school and I am sort of looking forward to having the extra time off during the week--it has already paid off in easier to make dentist, doctor and orthodonist appointments. So I have mixed feelings about all shifts they all have their advantages and disadvantages and you have to look at your own situation to decide what is better for you.
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    I agree that there are pros and cons to both 8 and 12 hour shifts, but having worked both, I would not return to 8s. I worked 3-11 on a busy ortho/med-surg unit. We worked every other weekend-and trying to squeeze in 5 shifts a week-->you had to wait 2 weeks just to get 2 days off in a row. It seemed that since we'd get slammed with postop patients, it would be change of shift before I'd be able to sit down and chart. And that would be another 2 hours, meaning a 10 hour shift by the time I was done. Then, the unit allowed us to work 12s if we could find a "partner" so as not to make scheduling too difficult with mixing 8s and 12s. I figured-what's another 2 hours? We worked 3 days one week and 4 the next. This worked well-and I enjoyed 3-4 day stretches off! Then-I took a job in L&D where 3 12-hour shifts is considered full time. Working 12 hours-I find I am rarely late getting out. And I do agree 100% with the other viewpoints re: continuity of care! Often, it is the same nurse I am giving/receiving report from on a given patient. Things rarely get missed anymore in the shuffle!
  7. 0
    Originally posted by TovaFlynn:
    Hello. I am a Columbia University student nurse. Some of my classmates and I are preseting a debate as to whether the 8 or 12 hour shift is better. We are hoping to hear it from you - the experts! Please let us know which shift you prefer and why. Tell us what you think are the pros and cons of either or both the 8 and 12 hour shift. Even if you prefer one to the other, and you think there may be something to say (be it good or bad) about the shift you don't prefer, please let us know! All information will be presented at the presentation. If you don't or do want your name disclosed, please specify. Thank you so much for participating. : ) Tova, CUNS
    12-hr was too long for me-it can be very tiring when busy which can cut down on performance and allow errors--it also takes away from home--so my sced is 10h--it fits the needs of my area (pacu) & me--we even have 9hr shifs--our contract allows us to vote on various shifts that works best for each area. vjgrnrr
  8. 0
    When I first started at my current job, my first opportunity to work 12 hour shifts, I opted for 8 hours. I felt they would allow me to be there more frequently and in shorter bursts to learn what I needed to to practice competently and get my self up to speed.
    Now that I am comfortable here, I have gone to 12 hour shifts. I prefer them for 2 reasons:
    1-I am there less often and have more time off
    2-I am able to provide more patient teaching than I could in 8 hours.
    It is definitely a personal prefrence. I like to be busy rather than slow as that makes even 8 hours drag on forever. I feel I make fewer mistakes because I feel less rushed. I don't feel any more tired after 12 hours although some times my feet hurt a bit more.
    I definitly believe the improved quality of my care is more important than my feet.
    And I no longer "waste" my days off by catching up on laundry and house work. Not to forget to mention that the occasoinal 8 hour days are almost like a vacation themselves as they go by so quickly.
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    I have worked 3-11 evenings as a clinical assistant while going to nursing school. I enjoyed working the 8 hours in the evening, however I have been doing my preceptorship as 12 hour days. I really enjoy that. I feel like I am with the patient longer and can offer optimal care. I was offered a 12hr position and I am thankful for that.
    Good Luck to all.
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    I work 2 12's and 2 8's each week this leaves me time to have a life besides being a nurse. I can take a 3 12's week and 4 hours of PTO(paid time off) and that is what a lot of my co-workers do as they and myself have agency positions or per-diem positions at other facitities. 8 hours go really fast, 12 hours gives you more time to get your work done. I like the variety and having 3 days to do what I want.
    Deanna


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