What is an average 12 hour shift like for a nurse - page 2

by DeezKeyz

10,481 Visits | 17 Comments

I don't know much about nursing and I'm really wondering what exactly a 12 hour shift would be like for a hospital nurse. Thanks.... Read More


  1. 1
    Quote from Patti_RN
    DeezKeyz, Not to be rude, but people on this site are nurses who discuss their careers and nursing issues. We try to help and nurture each other and do so by giving supportive advice to our colleagues on this site. Your request wasn't necessarily a breach of allnurses terms of service, it certainly was a time-waster for those who responded because they believed you were a student or new grad looking for career information.
    Sorry about that. To be honest I just found this site from a google search, I saw it was really active so I figured it was right place to ask. I didn't mean to waste anyone's time.
    aachavez likes this.
  2. 0
    It probably would have been best if you were honest from the get go about why you were here

    Why don't you write bout an LTC nurse..we're more interesting *jk ladies and gents*
  3. 1
    You know, the first rule of writing is to write what you know.

    I can assure you that your main character being a nurse, when you the writer, don't know much, if anything about nurses or nursing....is kind of a mistake. It will be hard for you to make the character realistic to those who know.

    The set up for supervision of nurses is as such:

    There is a Nurse Manager who essentially takes care of the paperwork end of the unit, hires, fires, disciplines, gives evaluations, deals with complaints, etc. (they do a lot more, I know, but lets keep this simple)

    During the day or night...there is a Charge Nurse. This nurse will usually assign the patients to the staff nurses. The Charge is there to ensure the shift goes along smoothly. They can jump in and help if you have a problem, handle complaints, assure that people get lunch, and that staff are actually following policies. If you are constantly being too slow, not careful, the charge should address it with you. But for the most part, we are professionals.
    ktliz likes this.
  4. 0
    Quote from DeezKeyz
    Actually I'm writing a short story featuring a nurse. Great answers so far. I'm wondering how closely are nurses supervised? Someone mentioned having to pick up the slack of the nurse on the previous shift, so is it possible or common to slack and get away with it? (I know you guys wouldn't do that LOL).
    So you are not a nurse?

    I suggest, instead of posting here, you actually interview nurses. B/c nurses will respond v differently to non-nurses. We leave lots of stuff out assuming we are speaking to fellow professionals. You will get a much richer picture w full disclosure.

    I agree so much w OP: this site is for nurses. And if your not a nurse, please, full disclosure. And we will tailor answers appropriately.

    Good luck w your article. Why are you writing it? If you supplied that info., you will get WAY more helpful, passionate responses.
  5. 0
    Well I am a student...glad you posted this question and got great responses that I can now look at.
  6. 0
    I'm also a student who was wondering the same thing, so your time has not been wasted in responding
  7. 0
    I'm also a student and had similar (general) questions about a 12 hour shift. Glad this was brought up.
  8. 0
    Quote from MJB2010
    I work on a surgical floor, overnight ahift 7pm to 730am . Here is a run down of my normal shift. I get to work, get report, and go do an assessment on each patient. Then Start my med pass, give meds to each patient. During this, I am constantly interrupted with other tasks that pop up. Calling doctors, call pharmacy to beg for them to send meds, patients needing pain medication or other "as needed" meds. Then I generally try to chart the assessments. Then I round on all the patients, reposition them, check on pain level, make sure everyone is still looking and feeling ok. Then next med pass, more charting. Then I review the patients charts to make sure no orders have been overlooked and were all properly carried out. Then I make rounds, change dressings, reposition, check pain. Then give morning meds, ambulate patients that need to get out of bed. More charting, report, go home. Now while that is all fine and good, you need to fit in blood transfusions, emergencies, patient having nausea/ vomiting, new admissions from er or pacu, any changes in patient condition. So it is very busy, constantly. I rarely take a meal break. I try to have a granola bar while charting and coffee. I have been forcing myself to drink water lately due to the headaches when I get a bit dehydrated. I have also been forcing myself to take pee breaks, I have been bad at that. Being busy is good, it makes time go fast, but sometimes one emergency can put you far behind and you just feel like you are drowning. On a good night, I get everything done and my patients are all happy when I leave.
    This is extremely close to how I would respond, but I would like to underline the statement "During this, I am constantly interrupted with other tasks that popup Sometimes I'm just not sure how my brain can continue trying to process so many different subjects in such a short period of time. Here is an example of who just trying to get report done recently went down. Sat down and got about five minutes of report. Found out that Pt A had a blood pressure that was supposed to have been medicated with a PRN medication and wasn't. Stopped report and went to give said PRN medication. Started report again. IV pump in Pt B's room starts beeping and has air in the line. It is enough to need to be unhooked from the lock, ran through and reattached. Mean time, RN that was giving report to me has been dragged off to fix a door malfunction because the maintenance man told them to put in a work order as he walked by instead of just looking to see if it was a quick fix. Finally back to report. A few more minutes in a family member walks out of Pt C's room and wants to talk to nurse giving me report about him for a few minutes. I take this time to do a quick ETOH assessment on Pt A and recheck blood pressure. No need for ativan, Thank God. Back to try to get report but family member still talking. Want to just ask him politely to finish the conversation in a few minutes, but it is technically not my patient yet. I finally finish report with nurse number one but I am also getting a transfer from ICU and need report from the ICU nurse, so off I go to become her millionth interruption of the day... Report took 1.5 hours to get that day. Now that isn't an every day occurrence for sure, but I must say, when I start out my shift behind, before I have even gotten report it can be quite frustrating.


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