What do you think of 12 hour shifts - page 3

So many people are envious of nurses working 12 hours shifts and having 3 to 4 days off but I truly dislike this shift. I work nights and often only get 1 or 2 days off in a row. That often results... Read More

  1. by   brillohead
    I work 12-hour nights and every other weekend (Fri and Sat nights counts as the weekend) with self-scheduling.

    Most of the time I work the last three nights of one week and the first three nights of the second week, giving me six straight nights on (Thur, Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon, Tue), then eight nights off (Wed, Thur, Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon, Tue. Wed). Another option is three on (Thur, Fri, Sat), one off (Sun), three on (Mon, Tue, Wed), seven off (Thur, Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed).

    This means I can keep my sleep schedule the same for a week (although to be honest, I'm a huge night owl, so even on my days off I typically stay up until 4am and then sleep until noon), and I also basically get every other week completely off and away from the hospital.

    I wouldn't work in the hospital if I had to do five 8-hr shifts. Nope.
  2. by   3ringnursing
    When I worked in patient care I found 12 hour shifts to be an energy vampire. In theory it looks great - until you start doing it. Maybe for people without young children I can see how it might not be so bad, but having a youngun' and trying to work that shift at the time left me drained, depleted, and road kill afterwards. I literally was meat for the beast.

    And yes, I had one whole day of down time every week trying to recuperate my losses of obviously not caring for myself during those 3 days of 12 hour self neglect, and rushing off to sleep as fast as I could.

    There were days when my son was a baby I didn't even see him wake.

    My husband had no pity then (but he sure does now, working them himself and doing it in healthcare) as he said, "You only work 3 days a week!". Snicker - I tried that on him for size recently, he scowled. Secretly I do pity him, and try to make things a bit easier for him (since we are now old farts) but I just couldn't resist pulling out that old chestnut and giving it a nice polish.

    Years later I figured 12 hour shifts were really just a way for a hospital to save themselves the headache of having to staff a 3rd shift everyday.

    I'm better with 8 hour shifts.
  3. by   oceangirl1234
    I love my 12's. Typically first week I work Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Second week I just work Wednesday, Thursday.

    If it is the three shifts in a row, typically it is day, day, night (because three days in a row gets crazy).
  4. by   Ambersmom
    I hate 12 hr shifts and have been lucky enough to find acute care jobs that offer 8's or 12's. although on my unit the few 8 hr people usually got much harder assignments, it wasn't fair but it was how we rolled.
  5. by   Agatha12
    I did not like my schedule with 12h shifts. I was ok working 12h even though my floor was very busy but Honestly I did not feel like I have 4 days off. Our schedule was different every week, often 3 night in row, 2 days and 1 day off and then 2 nights. Hardly ever full weekend off. I was exhausted. I changed the job in PACU Where we had 9, 10 and 12h shifts days only. I loved the fact that I had no nights and lots of weekends off but still no time to do much after work. I am about to change to work 8h shifts in research facility. All weekends and holidays off. I think I will love the regular hours. I will have time to cook, go to church meetings and sign up to evening classess. But I realise that a big disadvantage will be that I will be at work every day in office hours so I would have to take day off for appointments. There is no ideal schedule.
  6. by   Been there,done that
    This is not exactly a 12 hour shift issue. The issue is really.. working nights. You are forced to try to change your circadian rhythm throughout the week.
    I myself.. cannot do it. I bow to anyone that can work nights, period.

    Get on 12 hours, day shift and THAT is a nice gig.

    Best wishes.
  7. by   MunoRN
    I would agree that people seem to attribute the issues with working nights with 12 hour shifts, in my experience 8 hour nights are far worse than 12 hour nights due to the increase in the number of nights you have to work when working 8 hour shifts. If I have to work all night it makes no difference to me if I started at 7p or 11p, what does make a difference is having twice as many nights off thanks to 12 hour shifts.

    The worst schedule I've ever had by far was full time 8-hour nights. Due to the need for every other weekend coverage, a full time 8-hour schedule has to have at least one long stretch, the shortest it can be is 7 nights straight, with then 2 nights off, 4 nights on, then 2 nights off before starting the next 7 night stretch. And that's if you're lucky and can get the 4 nights off you get over two weeks as two paired nights off, otherwise you can end up with only two consecutive nights off every two weeks and your other two nights off as single nights, which are pretty worthless. It seems to work for some people, but personally I find fewer nights per week regardless of the length of the shift to be far less fatiguing overall.
  8. by   NICUMurse87
    Unless you have kids, you'd be better off just staying on a night schedule. I always sleep during the day, as most things are open late enough/early enough that I can get my errands done right after I wake up or before I go to bed. And if I have something planned where I HAVE to be up during the day, I just go to bed a bit earlier the night before. It's not ideal, but it's entirely doable.
  9. by   Spinmass
    I work two 16's and a 12 with OT every week and I love it! I get four days off a week and time to spend with my family.
  10. by   Green Tea, RN
    I used to work 12 hour night shift and didn't like it. Near end of shift, I often had a headache because I was too tired. I'm feeling much better with 8 hour day shift now.
  11. by   No Stars In My Eyes
    For me, night shift's a killer. When I worked 8's, I always did 3-11's. So, I could stay up late AND sleep late! Or get stuff done in the daytime and still work. Of course I was single, and that made it easier all the way around.
    Since I was already used to working weekends and Holidays, when 12's became the thing (ie, no choice), I worked a deal where I would do 3/ 12's in a row, only day shift, every Sat, Sun, and Mon. Employers were so happy to have a permanent weekend employee who was reliable, and who voluntarily worked Holidays, I never got any grief from anyone.
    Couldn't do it if I had kids though, which I don't. It also helps to have an understanding husband.
  12. by   MunoRN
    Quote from Green Tea, RN
    I used to work 12 hour night shift and didn't like it. Near end of shift, I often had a headache because I was too tired. I'm feeling much better with 8 hour day shift now.
    Liking 8 hour day shifts better than 12 hour night shifts probably has more to do with the day/night aspect than the 8/12 aspect.
  13. by   SICUmurseCCRN
    i love 12s. if i had to work 8s (which would really be 9s) 5 days a week i would leave bedside nursing. i love having 3-4 days off a week.

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