8-hour vs. 12-hour workshift: Traditional or Innovative? Benefit or Hazard?

  1. to all registred nurses who have worked or are currently working now, what are the advantages and disadvantages of working 8 hr. vs 12-hr. workshift?
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  2. 26 Comments

  3. by   NurseCard
    Well, with 12 hour shifts, you don't work as many days a week! Generally only three...
    Yet with 8 hour shifts, you have more time to do things ON the days that you have to work. And, you aren't as tired by the middle/end of your shift.

    I actually preferred 12 hour shifts, but that is only because I have kids. If I did not have kids, the 8 hour shifts (which I actually work now and I hate) would work fine for me. 8 hour night shifts, I'm finding that I'm always too tired to spend a lot of good quality time with my youngster. Plus, I'm pregnant now, due in a couple of months. I am making a schedule change, and probably another job change, soon.
  4. by   BrnEyedGirl
    [FONT=Franklin Gothic Medium]Most of the RN's I work with (hospital) work 12 hour shift, most of the aides work 8 hour shifts(I am an RN). I like the 12 hour shifts because it gives me more days off,..we do self scheduling and I frequently have a 6 day stretch off while still working my full time shifts. I'm not real crazy about working three 12's in a row,..but the week off is nice! Bad thing about 12 hour shifts is that while you are working, all you do is work and sleep,..I work nights, 7p-7a,..I clock in at 1815 and am usually out by 0715,.I have a 45 minute drive home,....nothing but sleep and work!
    Last edit by BrnEyedGirl on Dec 4, '06
  5. by   EricJRN
    Agree - love the 12 hour shifts! If I'm going to wake up and go to work, might as well stay for twelve.
  6. by   GatorRN
    i prefer 12h shifts personally. once your there the time flys by, so what's 4 more hours to get 4 days off a week. working 12's i feel like i have more time off then i'm working, as opposed to working 8's five days a wk and only having two days off a wk.


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    Last edit by GatorRN on Dec 4, '06
  7. by   weirdRN
    I like sixteens. Call me Nuts, but I would rather do the sixteen and have the rest of the week off. I am exhausted after and so I only work and sleep on the days I am scheduled.

    On the other hand, doing eight is a breeze. I usually have time and energy to spare after an eight hour shift.
  8. by   RNsRWe
    My unit has both 8 and 12 hour options. I prefer (and currently work) 12 hour shifts; I have young children and this gives me more days off each week. Frankly, with three shifts a week, I also have less narc counts to do, less reporting off to do, and once I'm in the flow of the night (I work 7p-7a) the time blows by. And because my shifts are at night, I get more pay for my 36 hour week than do those who work a standard 40 hour week. At this point I can't imagine going to work five days a week!
  9. by   augigi
    I always worked 12hr nights and loved having the 8 days per fortnight off, just to get things done during the day, appointments etc. Now in my corporate job I've worked M-F, 8-5 for the first time in my life and I HATE it!! I spend the whole weekend feeling deprived because I have to go back after only 2 days - hard when you're used to 4 per week off!!

    Disadvantages - there is more than one study showing that the extra days off, overall, do not compensate for the extra stress of 12hr shifts.
  10. by   oramar
    At the place where I work they do that two twelve and two eight hour shift thing. I think that is awful but they want that 40 hours from people. On the other hand the weekend only people do two twelves on every weekend and are considered full time.
  11. by   Tweety
    12-hour shifts allow me the benefit of having 4 days off. I can then pursue other things I enjoy, plus go to school to finish up a BSN.

    Physically, they don't bother me.
  12. by   mom2michael
    I love 12 hour shifts and I always have. I've worked 8 and though it was nice to get home early and have some time left in my day (ie, I'm not eating, sleeping and working) I really miss those extra days off a week that you get when you work 12 hour shifts vs. 8.
  13. by   wjf00
    If you look up the subject on Google you will find several studies that report increases of 15-50% in med errors with 12 hour shifts. A manager once quoted the study using the 50% figure and told me, "I know about the studies, but it is just easier for me to staff with 12 hour shifts". Med errors should not be an acceptable trade-off for 'convenience in staffing'. 12 hours can be worked saftly if you give nurses the discretion to work them only when they know they are up to it. In my mind, nurses make much better care decisions than staffers and managers. Whether or not to work the last 4 hours is a care decision. I am hired as an 8 hour shift, but I work many 12 hour shifts. In fact I could work 12 hours nearly everytime I work. I just refuse to be mandated to work 12 hours when my mind and body are simply not up to it. And then there is the OT reason to work 8 hour shifts. I am adamantly opposed to waiving my right to OT. I understand the 3 shifts vs 4-5 shifts argument. But practically speaking, 3 scheduled 8 hour shifts a week will give you the same amount of money, if you mix in OT as your mind and body allows you. Work less, make more, fewer errors...win, win,win.
  14. by   ElvishDNP
    I'm one of those weekend folks that is considered FT. I work 12hr shifts Friday and Saturday nights and it really doesn't feel like 12hrs. On the rare occasion that I've worked 11p-7a, I have felt like I'm behind the entire shift.

    I wouldn't go back to 8hrs nor do I think I could do 8 to 5 M-F like I have also done. I work the schedule I do so I can be home with my son during the week. It gives me time to get things done errand-wise, and if DS is sick we don't have to worry about who's going to stay home with him etc. I don't see myself doing this forever but I do think this works for us now.

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