Where did 12 hour shifts come from?

  1. I've been reading this web site for a couple of months and also work the 12's, that is all that is available where I work.

    I and others seem pretty tired at the end of 3 12 hour shifts! I realize you get 4 off if one prefers, but there is that day of recovery that most seem to need.

    I know also that those who work NOC's, it's so much easier.

    But where in the world did this 12 hour concept come from, for a job that is very HARD.

    I feel that with travel time, I basically am non existant on the days I work. I used to do 4 8 hour days and felt better, I'd have the late afternoon and evening to have a life.
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   Tweety
    I think it really started with the week-end option shifts a while back and it kind of spilled over to the rest of the week.

    While some may disagree, in the beginning, the move towards 12-hour shifts was driven by staff demand. It work out well for mothers to have 4 days off with the kids, people like myself have time to go back to school, etc. etc. I remember my first job had a waiting list to get to 12-hour shifts. My 2nd job in order to get 12 hour shifts you had to find a "match" on night shift.

    I do hate that for some they've taken away the 8-hour option because obviously 12-hour shifts don't work for everyone. I can only d 2 in a row, but for the most part 8 hours exhaust me, so what's another four hours.
  4. by   nurse4kiddos
    I'm not sure where you get the idea that working 12 hour nights is better than 12 hour days. The only difference is that there are fewer people around during the shift, but many nights I am just as busy as they are on the day shift.

    I do agree with you that 12 hours is alot for a job that is so physically and mentally demanding. I think that nursing is seen by many people as being flexible. So for many people, especially those with children, working 3 days a week is better than working 5 days a week. And if you work 3 12 hour shifts then you don't have to sacrifice your paycheck since you are working a similar amount of hours to the traditional 40 hours work week.
  5. by   nurseJLoo
    It came from employers not wanting to pay overtime!!
  6. by   purplemania
    do the math. If we work 8 hr. shifts that means we need three rotations each 24 hours. If we do 12 hr shifts we need 2 rotations each 24 hours. Fewer staff needed. Less money for benefits for the extra staff. But not less overtime as employers still must pay you OT for more than 40 hours worked. If it is hard to find good nurses now just imagine trying to find 33% more of them!
  7. by   TiffyRN
    I have to believe some of it came from demand from the staff. I'm a real cynic regarding management's intentions but still. I know the availability of 12's vs. 8's has in the past affected my choice of places to work. As in I didn't complete the application process at one hospital because all that was offered was 8's.

    I could elaborate further on why I prefer 12's but it's just the usual reasons others state.
  8. by   llg
    Quote from purplemania
    do the math. If we work 8 hr. shifts that means we need three rotations each 24 hours. If we do 12 hr shifts we need 2 rotations each 24 hours. Fewer staff needed. Less money for benefits for the extra staff. But not less overtime as employers still must pay you OT for more than 40 hours worked. If it is hard to find good nurses now just imagine trying to find 33% more of them!
    Actually, you shouldn't need 33% more nurses for 8-hour shifts because the nurses would work 5 shifts per week instead of 3. In reality, the hospital gets more hours of work per nurse with 8 hour shifts. Plus, it's usually easier to find coverage for sick calls, etc. as people are often willing to stay an extra 4 hours (or come in 4-hours early) to cover a hole in the schedule if they are only working 8. A lot of 8-hour ****, part time people yields the best flexibility and availabity for coverage with minimal overtime.

    3 shifts x 12 hours = 36 hours per week.
    5 shifts x 5 hours = 40 hours per week.

    However, there is time lost for the employer as there are more change-of-shift report periods with double coverage when you have 8-hour shifts.

    In the long run, the financial differences aren't that great either way. In all the places I worked, the switch to 12-hour shifts was driven by the staff, not the management. Mothers wanted to save on childcare expenses by only working 3 shifts per week instead of 5 ... but still wanted full time pay and benefits.

    llg
  9. by   TheCommuter
    I actually love compressed work schedules because they enable me to have more days off per week and, therefore, accomplish more tasks. I work Saturday and Sunday from 6am to 10pm and have five days off in a row while being paid for a 40-hour work week. I attend school full-time during the week to complete my RN prerequisite classes and, so far, I think it's working out. However, I wouldn't want to speak too soon.
  10. by   Furoffire
    Dear Nurse4Kiddos,

    I did not mean NOC's are easier, I have heard for sleeping purposes it is more easier with the 12's opposed to doing 5 8 hour night shifts : )
  11. by   mtngrl
    Personally I do not think 4 days off are worth the 3 12's. I did it for only a little while and I felt so screwed up and unhealthy and I will never do them again. Like someone else said, you do need a day to recover. And your shift days are ALL work, no time for anything. You just cant really eat healthy (if you get a bite in at all) on the days you work...no time. I started losing weight and feeling crappy and that's when I said enough of this crap!
  12. by   Gompers
    Quote from nurse4kiddos
    I'm not sure where you get the idea that working 12 hour nights is better than 12 hour days. The only difference is that there are fewer people around during the shift, but many nights I am just as busy as they are on the day shift.
    It's much easier to only have to work 3 nights a week than 5. You can schedule yourself to be off for stretches at a time where you can be "normal" and sleep at night. If you work 5 nights a week, that's pretty much impossible.
  13. by   Rnandsoccermom
    Actually, ICU's and ER's started it years ago because the most difficult shift to cover was the 3-11 shift. It is impossible to be a working wife and mother and work that shift 5 days a week without destroying your home life. It is a sacrifice that wives and mothers won't make. So, have them work twelves, cover that time period and give them 2 more days off. Concessions on both sides.
  14. by   meownsmile
    I think part of it came out of continuity of care for patients also. You have to agree that people get better care when there may be only 2 nurses caring for them over a 24 hour period than if 3 or 4 people are taking care of them.

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