This is a general question, but I was talking to a nurse and was shocked to find out that nurses can be forced to work four hours overtime on top of their twelve hour shifts for a total of sixteen hours. To her, she says this can happen as once a week. I was shocked.
*** I have no idea why you would be shocked. Until just a few years ago nurses could schedual themselves for 16 hour shifts. Now we have this crazy situation where we are told 16 hour shifts are not safe if the NURSE would like to work them, but safe enough if the HOSPITAL needs us to do them. Nursing is certainly not he only field doing this BTW. Physicians for example regularly work 24 hour shifts.
Even though I like the *idea* of working only three days a week, I have heard that twelve hour shifts are dangerous, and more errors occur from such long, exhausting shifts.
*** You have heard wrong. Working 5 days a week, in particular working 5 PM or NOC shifts 5 days a week is exausting and likely to lead to errors. In addition adding a third hand off each day greatly increases the chances of important info not being passed on and destroys continuity of care, leading to errors and mistakes.
n top of that, many hospitals only allow a thirty-minute break for twelve hours. I feel that nurses working twelve hours should get AT LEAST one paid hour break and that hospitals should not be allowed to force nurses to work four hours overtime unless in a severe emergency.
*** Once again you have heard wrong. Every hospital I have ever working in had 30 min for lunch and two 15 min breaks for a total of a hour of breaks, half of which in paid. However it's usually not like that. Nurses have down time during their shifts, there are exception of course. We have all had "those days".
With that being said, would you support more hospitals instituting 10 hour shifts? They seemed to be a happy medium between five eight-hour shifts and 3 12-hour shifts.
*** Absolutly not! It would make schedualing a nightmare (who is going to do the 4 hours shifts?) but would immediatly result in many of the most experienced nurses leaving the bedside and still results in 3 hand offs a day brining the same dangers as 8 hour shifts. I might not leave nursing but I would certainly leave bedside care if 12 hours shifts go away. That said of course 12 hour shifts are not for everyone. A hospital should be able to accomodate those who need 8 or 12 hours shifs. I have never worked in a hospital that didn't do that.
I'm not saying to eliminate 12 hours all together, but I find it repulsive that hospitals can force nurses to work FOUR HOURS longer than their shift, but won't dare to give them longer and MUCH needed breaks.
*** How often do you think that happens? In most places it's rare.
What is your opinion on twelve, sixteen hour shifts? Should sixteen hour shifts be eliminated? Which shift do YOU prefer? And do you find it more dangerous to work a twelve than an eight?
***I prefer 16 hour shifts. I used to only do 16's until the powers that be came in and eliminated them for nurses. I guess I would say either we go back to allowing nurses to do 16 hour shifts if they want, or get rid of them altogether. Very hypocritical to say 16 hour shifts are OK when the hospital needs you to do them but not if the nurses wants or needs them. I REQUIRE 12 hour shifts. No 12 hour shifts and I can't be a nurse doing patient care. 8 hour shifts are just plain dangerous for me (I work NOCs). The grind of being awake all night 5 days a week hen trying to accomadate my families days schedual on my two measly days off exausted me and was not safe for me.
*** I see they failed to take into account the errors that will result from the exoudous of the most experienced and skilled nurses from the bedside if you take away one of our primary benifits.
"Most recent studies cited in the article point to an increase in patient care errors related to successive 12-hour shifts. Geiger-Brown cites one study of 393 nurses on 5,317 shifts who were surveyed anonymously. The odds of making errors by those who reported working more than 12 hours in shifts was three times greater than nurses who reported working 8.5 hour shifts."