That Dreaded 3-11 Shift - page 3

by TheCommuter Asst. Admin

22,579 Views | 54 Comments

One of my patients, a hard-nosed nurse who retired from the profession after more than 30 years of duty, struck up a conversation with me not too long ago about shift work. “What hours do you work?” she interrogated. Her New... Read More


  1. 0
    Hi, I love this shift too. And I dream I will find a job with 3-11 shift next year. I get up at around 10 a.m. and go in bed at 2 a.m. I can hardly work 8-5 shift - it is a nightmare for me. I learned this when I agreed to work these hours some years ago. I was tired and frustrated all the time ( in the morning and in the evening).
    So, I hope 3-11 shift won't disappear from our life )))
  2. 0
    For 12 hour shifts I have started using personal assistants at home.

    I do prefer 8 hr shifts. . .no drain on you.
    Last edit by TheCommuter on Dec 26, '12 : Reason: edited
  3. 1
    Just thought I'd chime in. I worked 4-1230 at a previous job and absolutely fell in love with the second shift lifestyle. This was pre-kids. Now with kids (if I had a job), 2nd shift would still work great. I could get up early and do volunteering in classes, field trips, be home all day for summer vacation and not have the tricky time of trying to have 2 kids running around all day while I just worked all night. Or I could get up, get them to school, and go back to bed for another couple hours. I'm fairly lucky in that when I got home at 1am, I'd take a shower, read for a little while and would be out before 2:30am. For a while I worked a second job from 7:30am -11:30am while working he 2nd shift. That wasn't too bad either, I just had a cycle of napping that kept me fresh.
    When I graduate and get a job I'm hoping for 3-11!
    HazeKomp likes this.
  4. 3
    I've worked 3-11 with previous careers, and I detest this shift for the same reasons you mention, Commuter. Such a waste of my life! No time for anything substantial, and too late to plan much of anything at midnight. It's either days or nights for me.
    prinsessa, FecesOccurs, and TheCommuter like this.
  5. 4
    12 hour shifts forced me to "retire" from my beloved Labor and Delivery job. LTC has 8 hour shifts and that works so much better for me, and although I miss the excitement of L&D the exhaustion of those last four hours was not a good thing. When you're that tired, it's easy to miss subtle changes or trends that may be important.
    student forever, joanna73, GrnTea, and 1 other like this.
  6. 3
    Quote from GrnTea
    I hate twelves for many reasons, none of them personal. Sure, I'd be happy to work just three shifts a week for full pay and benefits and call the rest of the week my own. But you know what? The patient care sucks. When everyone works two on, one off, one on, three off, or some variation thereof, there's no continuity of care for the long-term patients that need it the most. That leetle hint that something is about to go wrong gets missed if the patient has six different nurses in three days. Remember that horrific series of chemo overdoses in Boston a few years back? One person, a beloved columnist for the Boston Globe, died after getting a four-fold OD for four days in a row by four different nurses, IIRC, because nobody knew that her reactions were escalating and a few others (not so celebrated) got bad cardiomyopathy, which did a number on their cancer survival.
    I'm another person who has always preferred 3-11 shifts, for all the reasons noted by others -- but I'm glad someone else already brought up the issue of how 12s affect client care (which I was going to do). I work in psych, and, back when we all worked 8s and worked 5 days/week, all the nurses knew what was going on with all the clients on the unit. Now, with 12s and working just 3 days/week, spread out pretty randomly, on any given shift, there may be no one who has any significant experience or rapport with any of the individual clients. You come in to work, there is a whole new "crop" of clients since the last time you worked, it takes nearly the entire shift to work out who's who, what each client's story is, and what's going on with them today, and then you leave and someone else goes through the same process the next day. No one ever gets familiar enough with the clients to move past the introductory phase of the therapeutic relationship and do any real work with them. When things start heating up on a psych unit, the therapeutic alliance/relationship that someone (staff) (already) has with the client makes a big difference. And clients don't like that they see a constant parade of different faces from day to day, with little continuity or consistency.

    Also, I now work on a psych consultation-liaison service in a large general hospital (where the nurses work 12s). Nearly every time I'm trying to find out something about how a client has been doing over the last few days, not the VS or meds or stuff I can look up in the chart, but mood, how well s/he has been sleeping, interaction with staff and family members, etc., the answer I get is, "Gee, I don't know, I've only had this person since this morning. Never saw her/him before today" (and, apparently, nothing I'm interested in gets staffed through in report ...)

    I realilze that many (most?) nurses prefer working 12s, but I agree that it is detrimental (in several different ways) to the care we provide to clients.
    cheri1859, GrnTea, and HazeKomp like this.
  7. 1
    In the 27 years since my graduation, I've worked both 8 and 12 hour shifts. The first hospital job I had was 3-11. I was single and childless and it was great for my body. At that time, my friends all worked pm's too, so we'd all get together after work if we wanted and party til 3 then go home to bed and get up just in time to get ready for work. Since then, I've mostly worked 12 hour night shifts. For a long time when I was younger, my favorite was to do 3 on 2 off 3 on six off. But now I not only can't do 3 12 hour shifts in a row anymore, I was having more trouble with 12's. Not nearly enough sleep. Tired all the time which made me more susceptible to illness. I left a job I love to be able to go back to 8 hour shifts. We'll see if I end up liking this job as well when I've been there longer. I do love how quick the shifts seem to go by though.
    GrnTea likes this.
  8. 3
    I'm another 2nd shifter who works 5 evening shifts a week. In the long New England winter especially, working evenings lets me get enough sunshine (or at least daylight) during my hours off.
    student forever, GrnTea, and HazeKomp like this.
  9. 4
    Quote from RNperdiem
    I wonder if people who want 8-hr shifts have actually worked them.
    I remember 3-11. Day shift discharges the patients, and evenings are spent with admissions.
    Or, at my hospital, days holds onto their discharges and leaves the discharges for the 3-11 nurses. So, you get to discharge 3 or 4 patients at the beginning of your shift, while an admission is rolling up. One of the main reasons I can't stand 3-11.

    Also, I feel like I have no life. Can't fall asleep until 3 am. Need at least 8 hours of sleep. Wake up at 11 am. Eat breakfast, work out. Head back to work. Repeat times 5.
    hakunamatataRN, joanna73, Tina, RN, and 1 other like this.
  10. 0
    Hi. I have worked 12 hour night shifts most of my career and love it. Most of the Mom's I have worked with handled the trip to school after working all night by having a neighbor/parent car pool. They take your children on those mornings and you take them on the alternate mornings. Once they are old enough they can ride the bus to and from school. The Mom/Nurses then take a nap while the children are at school and are rested and ready for when the children get back home. Being organized is helpful so you will have time for a short nap prior to going back into work, but the second nap is not always possible.


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