8hr vs. 12hr work days

  1. I cant help but wonder if the nursing profession would benefit from lowering the number of hours worked in a day. I know that most nurses enjoy the extra days off by working 3 twelve hour shifts a week but those last few hours of the day come when the staff is tired and isnt that when errors are more likely to occur? It seems to me that splitting the day into 3 eight hour shifts would cut down on nurse fatigue and therefore cut down on nursing errors. Plus that would allow more time to recover before the next shift. What are some ways that you have been able to combat fatigue? What do you think about shorter work days for nurses in general?
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    About sjm30

    Joined: Oct '12; Posts: 2; Likes: 3


  3. by   flyingchange
    My facility operates on 8 hour shifts. I like them a lot, especially because I have time to decompress and enjoy my family after work. We pull occasional 12's to fill staffing holes (for OT) but, by and large, we're here for 8. People complain about working 5 days in a row, but that's what the rest of the world does
  4. by   lrobinson5
    This brings up a question I have been meaning to ask. I am in my last semester of school and we are doing a hospital rotation through Kaiser. It seems that they have BOTH 8hr and 12hr shifts at the same time/same unit. So there will be a handful of nurses still working, and a few are giving report to go home. Does anyone work in a facility that does this? I was wondering how people felt about that.
  5. by   loriangel14
    My facility does this. We have both 8 and 12s and it does take some getting used to. You will have part of the staff leaving but not all. You may be staying and your charge nurse may change.It works out fine once you get used to it.
  6. by   SummerGarden
    Some employers offer 8 hour days... However, the nurses who work full-time must put in 5 days a week (not 3 unless he/she works part-time). Personally, when I worked the floors, I preferred 3-12s at night. 1 day a week I slept, I was always available to run personal errands, and I was available to add a second job. I was able to endure such a schedule because I was physically in-shape.

    Working 8 hour shifts 5 days per week offers very little time to recover. Plus, you are not able to run many personal errands because everything is open when you are at work. In addition, there is very little chance of adding a second job if needed unless you do not mind having no time off during the week (I know nurses who work 6 and 7 days per week, but I don't care to live that kind of life).
  7. by   canadiandude
    Good idea ... but then with 8 hour shifts we wouldnt be working 3 days a week now would we. working 5 days in a row would be hell btw.
  8. by   tigerlogic
    Fewer days allows for a clearer head space and is probably healthier for night shift workers based on some research I've read. You can argued that only 2 nurses per 24hr day provides better continuity of care. But in the end there is never one fit for everyone.
  9. by   wooh
    More handoffs lead to more opportunities for error due to miscommunication. Eight hour shifts, you spend all your time charting, no time to actually get anything productive done.
    And 8 hour days might be great for getting more rest, but 8 hour nights? Not so much rest when you work 5 night shifts per week.
    Then the joy of finding people willing to work 3-11, which is the worst 8 hours of the 24 hour period.
  10. by   Despareux
    Love my 12 hour shifts. I do start to slow down a bit after 9 or 10 hours, but as long as I drink enough fluids, eat right, and get enough sleep, I can keep going without feeling mentally or physically exhuasted. I feel like I have a perfect balance in my life with 12 hour shifts. I get to go to a job I enjoy and be around like-minded people, while getting paid for it; I have so much more time to hang out with my family; more time to plan for meals and actually cook them; I can volunteer at my kids' school; and my husband and I have more us time. I've worked the 8hr/day, 40hr/week schedule--it sucked because I only had two days per week to sleep in and do whatever I wanted, AND I needed more recovery time.
  11. by   RunnerRN2015
    I went into nursing to get away from working 5 days a week. I would much rather work 3 12s. I want the flexibility of having several days off in a row if I need them and being able to be off on a weekday rather than only having the weekends off.
  12. by   amygarside
    I think it will depend on the preference of nurses. There are both pros and cons to the two schedules.
  13. by   LexRaven
    Quote from amygarside
    I think it will depend on the preference of nurses. There are both pros and cons to the two schedules.

    I agree. 8hrs shifts work for me now but 12hs shifts seem better for me when I start my family.
  14. by   tokidoki7
    At the the last facility I worked at I was on a rehab unit and staff worked five 8s or two 12s+ two 8s. I worked the latter and it was horrible because I had to rotate day/night twice a week. I was exhausted, miserable, angry and I basically had no life. I couldn't even go back to school. Since then I have left and now I work casual doing LTC. Most of the shifts I get are 3-11, but I choose which days I want to work. I typically work 3-4 days a week, often doing one double shift. I like the flexibilitly I have in my schedule now and I don't feel worn out and taken advantage of. I will definetly be going shopping on Black Friday this year!