Getting tired of working 12 hour shifts......

  1. 2
    Got an email from a nurse I befriended at my old job. When I worked there, everyones biggest complaint about the mandatory 12 hour shifts was that they turned in to 13-14 hours shift.

    Report on that unit typically takes 40 minutes. Oh, it takes the oncoming shift 10 minutes to get their stuff (assignment, CNA assignment, report sheet) together to even get report. After report, another half-hour to finish up our own charting from the day (after finding the chart), and asnswering the phone/call light while since nobody else is at the desk to do it...etc, etc.

    Sound familiar?

    She is so burnt from this, and upset because on workdays, she doesn't get to see her toddler at all.

    When I am able to afford this, I will follow in her shoes...

    She is now working at a job working 4 days a week, 8 hour shifts.

    Again, she said on most days, she doesn't get out until an hour she does end up getting almost exactly 36 hours/week....on average. She does try to get out on time, but that rarely happens.

    She says she feels so much better, she has energy, she sees her family every day now, has energy to exercise, etc, etc....

    Nice, eh? Anytime I work 8 hour shifts, they FLY by. I could easily do 4 of those a week.....

    NurseFrustrated and maryloufu like this.

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  2. 21 Comments...

  3. 3
    she did the right thing by getting another job. i hate to see nurses complain about 12 hour shifts but don't do anything to change it. the time you have with your family is important and you can't get those years back.
  4. 2
    I worked someplace where no one EVER got out on time. It shouldn't be that way - if you always have so much work to do you chronically get out that late, they're too short staffed. (And need to crack down on the relief to be READY to work on time.)

    It's inevitable that you'll have to stay over occasionally...but it shouldn't be the norm.

    I had to vote with my feet.
    maryloufu and YellowFinchFan like this.
  5. 2
    When I worked 11-11 in ER I didn't have a replacement coming in at 11, so often it would be HOURS later before I went home. That was horrible.

    My new job is 18:45-07:15 and I have only clocked out 1 time past 07:15. My replacement is there at 06:45 and there is plenty of time to give report, finish up my stuff and get out on time.

    Makes a huge difference in my life to actually just work 12 hours per day.
    maryloufu and YellowFinchFan like this.
  6. 3
    I could never tolerate 12 hour shifts. 8 clinical hours were all I had in me. I now do 10 hour days but it is non-clinical with no OT. I know some people love 12s but 12s drove me out of hospital nursing.
  7. 2
    I know that 12 hour shifts just exhausted me. I felt much better when I went PRN on my floor and worked 3-11. The answer, of course, is to offer both types of shifts (if hospitals want to keep people). I realize it's a scheduling challenge, though.

    NurseFrustrated and maryloufu like this.
  8. 4
    I have been on both side of the 12 hour shift "problem". I agree that a mix works well for retention but it is a nightmare to schedule. Some units 12 hour shifts make more sense than others and it is key that you get out on time!
    It is interesting to look at the 12 hour shift historically. It began to make a comeback in the 1970's when inflation became rampant and the societal norm changed to a two breadwinner model from Mom staying home with the kids. The 12 hour shift allowed the Moms to stay with the kids 2 extra days a week so it became popular. Since the average age of nursing was much younger then, the 12 hour shifts were less"exhausting". Therefore, the trade off for more days with the kids was worth it. Also the 12 hour shifts were almost exclusively ICU/ER which were typically better staffed. In fact I think staffing in relation to work responsibilities was actually better in the 70's then now.
  9. 4
    12 hour shifts are also a big part of why I left bedside.

    When I was a new nurse, I worked 8 hr. shifts and I didn't feel the bonecrushing fatigue/stress etc. that I felt working 12's. Granted, I was younger but I don't think age was the only factor. I think 12.5 (and longer) hours with sick people is too many. I could do 8 hours standing on my head!

    The last 6 years doing 12's had an adverse affect on my body and mental health. Never again.
  10. 0
    As a new nurse I worked 10 hr shifts which were lovely, but of course not financially advantageous so the hospital dc'd them, then I did 2 12's/ 2 8's for a while, not so bad the 12's made the 8's FLY by, recently I went to two 12's (PM's), really more like being away 15 hours after the commute etc, even tho it was only 2 nights a week, with kids I still couldn't hack it, I guess I'm getting too old, I think it's pretty tough for the floors, probably better situation in the units. Its too damn tiring to run and run for 12 hours straight!
  11. 2
    Quote from ocankhe
    It is interesting to look at the 12 hour shift historically. .
    I'm old enough to remember before 12-hour shifts were common. I remember that it was staff nurses that pressured hospitals into switching from 8-hour to 12-hour shifts so that the moms could be home with their kids more days per week and save on child care expenses etc. -- and so young, childless nurses could have more days off per week to do fun stuff. It was the older nurses who were often forced to work 12-hour shifts against their will.

    Now, the shoe is on the other foot for those nurses who were young and wanted the 12-hour shifts back then.
    maryloufu and YellowFinchFan like this.

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