That Dreaded 3-11 Shift - page 3

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... Read More

  1. by   mastiffmom
    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.
  2. by   jrinct
    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.
  3. by   noyesno
    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.
  4. by   wanda_j
    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.
  5. by   HazeKomp
    Quote from merlee
    Facilities realized that this new pattern could save them money. So they stuck with it, regardless of the studies that say that this is dangerous for the patients.
    For young nurses, nurses with families, and some others, 12's allow more time off and flexibility in scheduling. For some, working 12"s allows them to work TWO full-time jobs!! Whew!

    For many, that "wall at 10 hours" is a reality! Observe and listen to your peers and note how many comments are made about fatigue, difficulty concentrating, physically uncomfortable, loss of compassion, and loss of patience happens around that time. I know in my unit, admits at 6:30 are met with moans and grumbling quite frequently.

    Reality: We work 12's because it is cheaper for the hospitals!
    Proven in multiple studies: 12's are more dangerous for patients!

    (would YOU want YOUR elective surgery at 8am or at 6pm?? Think about it....)
  6. by   HazeKomp
    Quote from judybsn
    12 hour shifts forced me to "retire" from my beloved Labor and Delivery job. ...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.
    As a 30 year veteran in Labor & Delivery, I often wonder how much longer my old bones can handle the 12+ hour shifts! Where I work there is a high epidural rate which equates to a great deal of physical lifting; our charting is to be done at the bedside, standing; and there is a high C/S rate which means moving beds with patients frequently as well as standing in the ORs. On busy days towards the end of the shift, I cannot sit down for fear I could not get back up again, my knees, legs and feet hurt so much!

    I often contemplate where would I go when L&D is no longer an option.......... sigh.
  7. by   maelstrom143
    Love my 12h shifts. tired out at the end but so worth it. tried a few 8h shifts. often forgot I was scheduled to leave at 3pm and no one reminded me so kept going till the end and then laughed when seeing my mistake. did 3-11 years back, but too used to 12h now, love to get my hours in and call it a day and feel like I have more time for stuff.
  8. by   Orca
    My first employer out of school had eight-hour shifts. I requested 3-11. I wasn't an early morning person, and I didn't care to drive home after my shift with the rising sun glaring in my face. I am working ten-hour shifts now and want to keep them.
  9. by   billyboblewis
    I do not like working 12 hours and would work 3-11 anytime. You can do anything you want during the day and stay up late. If you do over time it is no big deal. 12 hour shifts are very wearing on the mind body and soul and 3 days in a row of them is torture. I actually work swing 12 hour shifts now if you can believe that.
  10. by   pat8585
    I like 3-11 pm well enough, BUT

    i miss out on a TON of activities! have had to miss many evening things, church related things, community related things because I have to work in the evening.

    Also, it is the very dreaded shift where I work. It is very difficult to find people to work for you.

    If I had to choose, I guess I would stick with 3 - 11 pm. I am NOT a morning person!
  11. by   MedChica
    I don't like 3-11...but I will work 3-11 over 7-3 or 7a-7p any day. Any time. Any place. LOL
    It's not that bad. When I did xray, we had some the suckiest shifts that ever sucked.
    You think you can't do anything on a 3-11 swing?
    Try 11a to 7p. You get to sleep, but where'd your life go?

    Now, I pull doubles on the w/ends and that's rough because of the wakeup. If my day began at 9a, it'd be fine. But it's not.
    No matter how much sleep I get, if I have to wake up to go anywhere at 5 and 6 in the morning? I'm groggy and sleepy-eyed.
    Only reason I do this shift? I get 5 days shop, sleep, do nothing, piddle about, work another job....
    I'm looking for a second job and basically? I'm just trying to work any shift that DOESN'T require me waking up at the buttcrack of dawn.
    3-11. 11-7. 7p -7a. 12's are rough any way you cut it, but I'm more awake on nights. I even sleep less on the night-shift.
    I'll probably go home and hit the sack at 12p. Get up at 6:15p. Go to work.
    When I hit the hospital, I'll take what I can get but I hope that I can land a spot on nights. There's always someone on nights who doesn't like working nights.

    It's something that I've always known but starting my new nursing career has made me acutely aware of the fact that I'm just a 'night person'. I'm no good on your typical day shift and I guess I'm in luck. Most nurses at the facilities in which I've worked are the exact opposite of me. They run to the 'banker hour' type shifts. Everyone wants 7-3.
    No, thanks.

    Quote from maelstrom143
    Love my 12h shifts. tired out at the end but so worth it. tried a few 8h shifts. often forgot I was scheduled to leave at 3pm and no one reminded me so kept going till the end and then laughed when seeing my mistake. did 3-11 years back, but too used to 12h now, love to get my hours in and call it a day and feel like I have more time for stuff.
    I have this same issue. I've been working 16-hr shifts for close to a year now (as an aide and nurse) and I'm just 'used' to pulling doubles now. LOL I sometimes work the regular 8 hr shifts PRN and I think to myself, 'Oh, it's 3 o'clock already?"
    I don't know whether that's a good or bad thing, though.
  12. by   bradleau
    I never liked 3-11 as I found it hard to wind down after work. Most of my nursing consisted on 11p to 7 a. I would go home and sleep, getting up around 4 pm. I have heard of a 3pm to 3 am / 3am to 3 pm shift at a hospital in Idaho. That floored me. I asked if this was just for ER . No, it was for the whole hospital. NO WAY could I adapt to that. But the two nurses said they loved it.
  13. by   MommyandRN
    I worked the 3-11 shift at two different periods in my life and it worked. The first time I worked FT 3-11 as my first job out of school. I was single with no kids. I slept late, worked out or ran, ran errands, or just vegged out then worked. I switched to 12s after a year simply to have the full days off and see my boyfriend more in the evenings, catch up on prime time shows etc.

    The second time I worked 3-11 it was part time. At that time I had two toddlers who required most of my attention in the mornings. I was able to get them out, do the preschool run, grocery shop, run errands, go on playdates etc. Then leave for work at 2. I did not get much sleep since I was up late and then up early again. I didn't rest much... I was always on the go. A few days a week I was exhausted and needed my couch time or to get to bed early. I wouldn't have been able to do this full time at that time but part time worked great. I did this for 3 years until my oldest child started to participate in sports in the evening. Then it was difficult for my husband to drive them around and go to practices, games etc without me and I was missing alot. I then switched to day shift.

    Right now for my kids' ages the only thing that works is 8 hr days or 8-12 hr nights. I can't do 12 hr days since I would be gone for 15 hours and not see my family at all. Throughout my nursing career I know I will be switching shifts alot based on my family's needs.