are all nurse shifts 8 hours or longer?

  1. hi

    this is my first post - i'm just returning to school and am on ssdi for rsi (repetitive strain). basically my chronic pain has gotten a lot better, but i don't respond very well to stress, long hours of activity, standing... uh.. sounds almost like what i'd imagine a job description for a nurse is.

    i'm thinking of going into nursing -- maybe an accelerated MSN program. i have a BFA already. but - are all nursing shifts, like in clinics or hospitals, full 8, 10 hour shifts? i can see where that would become a problem for me, pretty quickly. it's sort of distressing reading all the posts in this forum about nurses with disabilities.

    i get the feeling that nurses are sort of like work horses, and might be getting squeezed by the financial part of the medical field. i'm really wondering if going into nursing with an improving disability might be a big mistake.

    thanks!
    doublgee
    •  
  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   swee2000
    At my hospital, scheduled shifts are either 8 or 12 hours in length. There's no in-betweens, no 4 or 6hr shifts, etc. The number of shifts each employee works per week varies greatly. Most of the staff is part-time, working 32hrs/week or less. But there are also a few full-timers. And for those who do the weekend program, it consists of 12hr shifts every weekend.

    Shifts times start/end as follows: Days is 0700-1530 for 8hr employees and 0700-1930 for 12hr employees; PMs is 1500-2330 for 8hr employees; Nights is 2315-0715 for 8hr employees and 1900-0715 for 12hr employees(as one can tell, the 12hr night shift actually starts in the PM shift).

    The only time my hospital allows one to work less than 8hrs/shift is when: a)a unit is short-staffed and they need someone to pick up an extra, unscheduled 4 or 8 hour shift, which all depends on the unit's needs &/or employees' availability; or b)An employee is on "light duty" for medical reasons and they have a doctor's excuse which specifically states they can only work up to 4hrs. An RN on my unit, who just had back surgery 2 months ago, returned to work last week on light-duty and a max of 4hrs/shift. However, I don't know how long she will be on these restrictions.
    Last edit by swee2000 on Dec 8, '07
  4. by   Tweety
    Quote from doublegregg
    hi

    ............. but i don't respond very well to stress, long hours of activity, standing... uh.. sounds almost like what i'd imagine a job description for a nurse is.


    thanks!
    doublgee
    You hit the nail on the head, it's long hours, stressful and physically demanding, and a good deal, if not all the time on your feet.

    Please seriously consider this when deciding to become a nurse. The MSN jobs and other non-bedside less stressful and physical jobs are not typically given to new grads. You have to have experience. Even if someone said "I guarantee you a non-stressful job with 4-hour shifts sitting behind a desk" there's still the stress and long clinical hours of nursing school.

    Most nursing schools require a physical exam to prove your physically fit.

    I'm not sure nursing is a good fit for you.

    I don't want to squash your dreams. Because there are many people with chronic pain issues in nursing. But why take a chance in physically making yourself miserable?

    Good luck to you!
  5. by   doublegregg
    what are the clinical hours like, and how many hours are there per week?

    i'll have to think long and hard about the long hours. i guess it's like a 'regular job' --- a 40 hour week was required for many decades, and now in some fields it's changing. but employers need the regularity of the 8 hour day - except in nursing, where i guess long hours are preferred, for some reason.

    i'd really prefer (my body would prefer) to be able to work 4 hours - especially if there's lots of standing, walking, bending, manipulating....

    i don't know if it's my dream, but currently i'm a somatic body worker (like a massage therapist), and have enjoyed helping people who desperately need help, or are really interested in knowing how to improve themselves. i also like educating them - i try to educate them in how they can manage and control their chronic pain, back trouble, etc. through self awareness and finding out what contributes to their physical ailments (stress, overdoing activity, or ignoring the warning signs of mounting pain).

    thanks for your input,
    doublegee


    Quote from Tweety
    You hit the nail on the head, it's long hours, stressful and physically demanding, and a good deal, if not all the time on your feet.

    Please seriously consider this when deciding to become a nurse. The MSN jobs and other non-bedside less stressful and physical jobs are not typically given to new grads. You have to have experience. Even if someone said "I guarantee you a non-stressful job with 4-hour shifts sitting behind a desk" there's still the stress and long clinical hours of nursing school.

    Most nursing schools require a physical exam to prove your physically fit.

    I'm not sure nursing is a good fit for you.

    I don't want to squash your dreams. Because there are many people with chronic pain issues in nursing. But why take a chance in physically making yourself miserable?

    Good luck to you!
  6. by   doublegregg
    not sure if i could regularly go through the minimal 8 hour shifts... maybe if i go part time --- like three 8 hour shifts --

    do part time nurses get medical benefits somehow, or are they like any other part time worker who is left up to the whims of acquiring private medical insurance?

    i'd assume that a nurse on limited duty would not be looked on very highly by hospital administration, and if applying for a job would be looked on as burdensome.

    thanks for the input~!
    doublegee

    Quote from swee2000
    At my hospital, scheduled shifts are either 8 or 12 hours in length. There's no in-betweens, no 4 or 6hr shifts, etc. The number of shifts each employee works per week varies greatly. Most of the staff is part-time, working 32hrs/week or less. But there are also a few full-timers. And for those who do the weekend program, it consists of 12hr shifts every weekend.

    Shifts times start/end as follows: Days is 0700-1530 for 8hr employees and 0700-1930 for 12hr employees; PMs is 1500-2330 for 8hr employees; Nights is 2315-0715 for 8hr employees and 1900-0715 for 12hr employees(as one can tell, the 12hr night shift actually starts in the PM shift).

    The only time my hospital allows one to work less than 8hrs/shift is when: a)a unit is short-staffed and they need someone to pick up an extra, unscheduled 4 or 8 hour shift, which all depends on the unit's needs &/or employees' availability; or b)An employee is on "light duty" for medical reasons and they have a doctor's excuse which specifically states they can only work up to 4hrs. An RN on my unit, who just had back surgery 2 months ago, returned to work last week on light-duty and a max of 4hrs/shift. However, I don't know how long she will be on these restrictions.
  7. by   caliotter3
    If you are capable of completing nursing school, there are some long term care facilities that will hire a nurse to fill in at critical times for four hours. I did this at one place. It is still demanding, because you have to do what normally would be done during those four hours and have the added stress of seeing more work than can be completed in four hours. I was working during the PM med pass and was only supposed to do the med pass for a certain area of residents, all doable. But the other nurses wanted me to also do the weekly summaries, and to be able to take care of the things, like doctor calling, etc., that clearly could have been done by the day nurse. I caught on fast that too much was expected of me and left that position. It was just too much work for four hours.
  8. by   sharona97
    Quote from doublegregg
    hi

    this is my first post - i'm just returning to school and am on ssdi for rsi (repetitive strain). basically my chronic pain has gotten a lot better, but i don't respond very well to stress, long hours of activity, standing... uh.. sounds almost like what i'd imagine a job description for a nurse is.

    i'm thinking of going into nursing -- maybe an accelerated MSN program. i have a BFA already. but - are all nursing shifts, like in clinics or hospitals, full 8, 10 hour shifts? i can see where that would become a problem for me, pretty quickly. it's sort of distressing reading all the posts in this forum about nurses with disabilities.

    i get the feeling that nurses are sort of like work horses, and might be getting squeezed by the financial part of the medical field. i'm really wondering if going into nursing with an improving disability might be a big mistake.

    thanks!
    doublgee
    Hi and welcome,

    I too,am on SSDI for a respiratory problem that also effected my back deep muscles. And it takes such small amounts of activity, household stuff, not even close to nursing energy, that puts me right back to almost square one.

    I have to agree with Tweety here and also let you know that nursing is physically demanding, let alone taxing your brain.

    I understand so much the need and want to enter (for me back into my 29 years of nursing) and worry if I can do it. It's a great rewarding experience along with alot of headache: but helping the sick and needy is not an easy task.

    So I guess I just wanted to give you my 2 cents worth and to tell you I understand your desire. Best of Luck to you!
  9. by   ukstudent
    Hi doublegregg and welcome,
    I hate to burst your bubble but I do not think that nursing is for you. If you look on the nursing student forums you will see that the physical stress of clinicals is nothing compaired to the mental stress of nursing school. But to tell you about clinicals, this is what my program was like, and talking to other students at the time it is typical. Clinicals are 8 hrs each day for either 3 days, which doesn't sound bad, but with having to write care plans and medication cards it was a god night if I manage to get 4 hrs of sleep. During those hours your clinical instructor had better not see you sitting. As we were frequently told, there is always something that needs to be done. Ha you thought about any other help degrees such as social work, health management. If you really think that you want to do nursing, see if you can become a cna and work either in a hospital or LTC and see if your body can hold up prior to spending a lot of money and time.
  10. by   Tweety
    Quote from doublegregg
    what are the clinical hours like, and how many hours are there per week?

    i'll have to think long and hard about the long hours. i guess it's like a 'regular job' --- a 40 hour week was required for many decades, and now in some fields it's changing. but employers need the regularity of the 8 hour day - except in nursing, where i guess long hours are preferred, for some reason.

    i'd really prefer (my body would prefer) to be able to work 4 hours - especially if there's lots of standing, walking, bending, manipulating....

    i don't know if it's my dream, but currently i'm a somatic body worker (like a massage therapist), and have enjoyed helping people who desperately need help, or are really interested in knowing how to improve themselves. i also like educating them - i try to educate them in how they can manage and control their chronic pain, back trouble, etc. through self awareness and finding out what contributes to their physical ailments (stress, overdoing activity, or ignoring the warning signs of mounting pain).

    thanks for your input,
    doublegee

    Clinicals are usually only 16 hours a week, but it varies from school to school and depending on what level you are. But since stress is a consideration in your illness, consider that nursing school is extremely stressful and time consuming.

    Many places have mandatory 12-hour shifts for nurses. I work in a unit that allows for 8-hour shifts, but our ICUs, neuro unit, cardiac units all have 12 hour shifts, but only 3 days a week, so people love them. There is no job where I work that offers only 4-hour shifts for nurses. Even if there were, probably orientation would be at least 8 hour shifts.

    Good luck in finding something that works.
  11. by   doublegregg
    thanks everyone for their posts, and i appreciate everyone being honest about their opinions.

    so even if i were able to make it through nursing school --- what happens as nurses get older (i'm 52) and they have trouble keeping up with the demands of a shift? is there a place for them to use their experience without the physical pressures? or do they have to soldier on?

    i'm looking for a second career that i can be active in for at least 20 more years.

    i don't figure i could be a -- i guess cna or lpn?? it seems like they would really be doing a lot of physical work - but i was also hoping that getting an advanced degree (MSN) might lead to more opportunities in environments that would be less stressful or demanding.

    thank you,
    doublegee

    Quote from ukstudent
    Hi doublegregg and welcome,
    but with having to write care plans and medication cards it was a god night if I manage to get 4 hrs of sleep. During those hours your clinical instructor had better not see you sitting. As we were frequently told, there is always something that needs to be done.
  12. by   swee2000
    Quote from doublegregg
    not sure if i could regularly go through the minimal 8 hour shifts... maybe if i go part time --- like three 8 hour shifts --

    do part time nurses get medical benefits somehow, or are they like any other part time worker who is left up to the whims of acquiring private medical insurance?

    i'd assume that a nurse on limited duty would not be looked on very highly by hospital administration, and if applying for a job would be looked on as burdensome.

    thanks for the input~!
    doublegee
    Yes, at my hospital, part-time employees are eligible for benefits, including health, dental, vision, &/or life insurances. However, one must work a minimum of 32hrs/week in order to qualify.

    As for your last comment, I do not know what my hospital's position is regarding hiring/not hiring nurses with pre-existing long-term, limited duty restrictions. For current employees, it would probably depend on the restrictions and how long they're in place for....but I can't be 100% sure on that, either. Also, depending on the restrictions, you may not be allowed to do any patient care for the duration of time you're on limited duty....per the hospital's policy. For example, when I was on light-duty earlier this year for a back strain & sciatica, I could not do even vital signs on a patient. Instead, my manager had me do different clerical assignments and assist the unit educator with projects, organizing/setting-up orientations for new employees, etc.
  13. by   nursemary9
    Hi

    I'm sorry to have to agree with several other posters.
    I really think Nursing would be too much for you.
    I have done this for 40+ years. I am 62 yrs old.
    I have had 2 total hip replacements in the past--16, 17 yrs ago.
    I am overweight.
    I have arthritis all over my neck, shoulders & spinal column.

    I work full time.
    We have both 8 hr & 12 hrs shifts on my unit; needless to say, I opt for the 8 hrs. 12 hrs is just too long--I'd probably be dead!!! LOL
    Oh, I could probably do it for a few weeks, but that would be it.

    Sometimes I feel I can barely make it, but I do because I must. Oh, I could go part-time, but then, my benes would be pro-rated. I'd have to pay more for the insurance. My DH is retired & is elegible for medicare, but I still have a few years left, & quite frankly, can;t afford insurance if I quit.

    This really is very hard work;Even after all these years it is extremely stressful & in the beginning of a career it is even more stressful because you are new.
    The education was extremely stressful even 40 years ago & from what I hear from our students is even more stressful now.

    i usually try to encourage students, but I just really think it would be too much. I'm sorry
  14. by   adoyo
    Hello all nurses!!
    I am currently working at an EMI Unit where I double up as a Bums' Specialist!!
    I am not yet used to 13 hour shifts and that is why I have been out of this Forum for such a great length of time!!
    If only nurse were well paid, we would not be subjected to such long hours of toiling inorder to earn our living!
    This kind of hard labour will only discourage young adults from joining Nursing.
    I have overheard that somewhere they r plannig to train those with physical disabilities n mental disabilities in nursing and that is when nursing will be just like mere caring!!
    I bet I'll b retired by the time the first lot of that group will be practicing! I cannot imagine working with a colleague on a wheelchair and I delegate her to do the Medication round or do the GP's rounds!! LOL!!!!
    I am really missing the 8 hours Shifts!! Do u know where I can land one and get well remunerated!!
    Adoyo alias Adoyre.
    Last edit by adoyo on Jan 7, '08

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