Are you too old, tired and unable to do your job?

  1. Here's one for you -

    Yesterday I did a presentation with 6 other 20somethings on the differences between the 8hr and 12hr work day. Because the group was so disorganized, we had not met a final time before show time. I wish we did.
    Three out of the six stood up there motionless behing the podium and read off their papers each one saying that "older" nurses chose and 8 hour day because they were just too tired, couldn't keep up and couldn't get the job done in a 12 hour day. They went on to say that 8hr days were meant for the "older" nurses because they had families and couldn't keep up with "two" jobs. (nursing and their families) The part of the presentation next was a girl (21) who stood up and called her section, "Not grandma's shift" and went on to say that the younger group of nurses did better with 12's.
    My part of the presentation dealt with compassion fatigue and how it affects any age group. I felt like saying " Well, Let's here it for the older nurses out there" since we were just bashed by our younger counterparts.

    Does anyone else have a problem with this? Do you think younger nurses can outrun older ones in a 12 hour or is this just plain age discrimination?

    How many of you "older" nurses over 35 can handle a 12? Thoughts please...HB
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  2. 22 Comments

  3. by   CathRN
    Hello, I'm a LVN, supposed to gradute with my RN in May, I work 12 hour shifts all the time, I'm 45. I do just fine, if anything, my younger co-workers have more of a hard time working 12's than I do. I work pediatrics pool. So I don't work a regular schedule right now, but, I have worked 12's for several years and don't have a problem with them.
    I would prefer to work 8's simply because of the research shows that nurses are tired after 10 and I know that I am tired, but still efficient. I prefer 8's since that would coincide with my family's schedule better.
    Interesting thread
  4. by   General E. Speaking, RN
    I am 39. Doing three 12hr shifts in a row does make me tired, but I don't think it is anymore than the other twenty-something nurses on our floor. I hear them belly-aching after their 3rd twelve, too!

    We are expanding our Med-Surg floor. For a few days we all tracked our steps- every time we went from one room to another (Pt room to dirty utility) (Nourishment room to med room)- we marked a tic on the door. Since the average age is in their 40's (or soon will be) our new floor is being designed with the older nurse in mind.

    The twenty-something's doing the presentation need to remember that "older" nurses bring something valuable to the table- experience. Without it, you can skip up and down the hallway all you want but THAT is not going to get the patient taken care of properly.
  5. by   Simba&NalasMom
    I'm 35 and honestly don't consider myself one of those "older nurses" considering the ages of some of my counterparts :roll , but I don't think I could have handled 12s even at a younger age. Last week I did an 11-hour med pass for agency and it took me a couple days to recover.
  6. by   GPatty
    I do 2-12 hour shift every weekend....
    an 8 hour shift to me is like a vacation! Oh...and I'll be 43 this month.

    I'm also a full time college student (Monday thru Friday), have 4 children still at home, have gymnastics, and dance classes to take them to, Boy Scout meetings every week...a dog that had puppies 1 week ago, and needy "older" children that need me to take care of certain things for them, not because of laziness, but because they simply don't know how (ie: dd is pregnant and wants to come home to give birth because her husband is in Iraq, and she's scared. "How do I find a Dr there, Mom?")

    Now...let's see one of those 20 somethings hold up to MY schedule and see if they think older nurses CAN'T take it...
    BAH HUMBUG!!!

    You rock on hb!
  7. by   fergus51
    Honestly, it is definitely the older nurses I work with complaining that we have to work 12 hours. I have never heard younger nurses say they want 8 hour shifts. I think this is mainly related to the fact that the younger nurses work nights more often than the older nurses. If you work nights, 8 hour shifts are killers. It's a lot easier to do 3 12s a week than 5 8s. For dayshifters, I can understand the appeal of 8s.
  8. by   oldiebutgoodie
    I am shocked that the 20-somethings chose to present 12 hour shifts as a problem to older nurses. First of all, how did they think the older nurses listening to the presentation felt? Furthermore, did they have research to back it up?

    People of all ages have differing abilities. Maybe the younger nurses are more energetic (although I recently worked with an older nurse who had run a full marathon a year ago), but maybe the older nurses have more experience or understanding of the human condition. OR, maybe we just need to appreciate the individuals who make up our team, and use their talents to their best ability.

    If I were the manager of these nurses, I think I would take them aside and suggest they rethink their attitudes.

    Oldiebutgoodie
  9. by   suebird3
    i am "old enough", and figure those "youngsters" couldn't keep up with me! yeah, i may collapse at the end of a shift.....but i can work over my usual 8 hour a day, 5+ day a week job. not to mention 5 birds, shopping, cleaning, etc. i come in on my days off, cover for people, do necessary paperwork....

    i prefer 8's, as i could always work over; if i worked 12's...no room for me to do my "other" things.


    gees! older nurses unite!

    suebird
    Last edit by suebird3 on Dec 6, '05
  10. by   oldiebutgoodie
    Quote from hbncns35
    The part of the presentation next was a girl (21) who stood up and called her section, "Not grandma's shift" and went on to say that the younger group of nurses did better with 12's.
    And another thing! (This whole topic really has me fried)

    I hope the nurse who called her section "Not grandma's shift" attributed her data to this article:

    http://www.nurseweek.com/features/98-11/shift.html

    which has a section title, "Not your grandma's shift"?

    Just wondering.

    Oldiebutgoodie
  11. by   ceecel.dee
    I'm tired of alot of what goes on in the hospital, but I'm not too old (although over 35) or unable to work 12's.
  12. by   KatieBell
    I really think it depends. Sounds as if these young presenters are very very sheltered. They seem to have an idea that nurses with families are older- heck, my best buddy in school had 2 children before she graduated at 21...
    People come from all sorts of circumstances. Have all sorts of tolerances and abilities. I like 12s. I get very tired after three in a row. this is true and I am under 35. I did an 8 hr a day nursing job for a while and found that I was absoloutely craving the days off I had with a 12 hr shift. I think it would be very hard for me to go back to an 8 hr day- theres just other things I like to do.
  13. by   SmilingBluEyes
    The older nurses among us work 12s without any problem at all; they amaze me with their energy.......and the 20-somethings seem ok too. Night shift is harder than dayshift, that much I know. 12s at night just seem to whip a poor body into pain, at least for me. I never feel as badly after 12 hours during the day as I do at night.

    Ah well, we all seem to be ok with this, overall. Maybe cause it means fewer days a week we have to work.
  14. by   Kelly_the_Great
    Hmm, I guess old meat is tastin' pretty good too. Who says we can only eat the young?

    Nurses need to show more respect to the "older" (what ever definition that might be) nurse and consider her/his unique needs. Something we need to start looking at is indeed the length of hours a nurse is required to work each shift. I'm not in favor of this whole mandatory 12 hour shifts the local hospitals have gone to in my area. I think it should be the nurses choice.

    We need to consider shortened shift hours. The older nurse is going to have earned the right to retire soon, if we want them to continue to help/contribute, we are going to have to start considering their needs and advocating for them.

    Just b/c 12 hours works for me (btw, i used to do 2 16's w/ an 8 off between 12 years ago - can't do that anymore) doesn't mean it is or should be ideal for everyone.

    You know what, just as a little side note too, ever worked somewhere you were so bored, time just dragged and dragged, making you even more tired at the end of the day? Who says these 12 hour shifts just might be a drag to the older nurse who has adapted herself to completing her work in 8 hrs. vs. 12? Maybe it's just not taking her as long to get her sh*t together as some of her "younger" counterparts?

    Just my

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