12 hour shifts...dangerous? - page 3

by ThePrincessBride | 14,740 Views | 65 Comments

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... Read More


  1. 5
    I love my 12s and feel the fewer times the patient is handed off the better. I cannot fathom ever wanting 8 hour shifts.
    silenced, sharonp30, nrsang97, and 2 others like this.
  2. 0
    I'm NOT shocked by the 12 hours and have even worked them. I work in healthcare as a CNA.

    I AM shocked that nurses can be FORCED by their employers to work FOUR hours overtime ON TOP of their twelve-hour shift without giving another break.

    To me, that is just unsafe and borderline abusive.

    Quote from anotherone
    I am shocked that you are shocked! Are you a nurse,op? I will never willingly go to 8s or 10s. I prefer 12s and can do that fine. But at the end of the (in actuallity) 13hr i want to go! I have been mandated to 16 hours many times. Going from 7pm to 11am with 1/2 hr break. our breaks are 30 mins for 12hrs. mandated to stay from 7pm to 11am is a lot worse than 7am to 11pm (have done both). I am so exhausted by the end of the typical night shift,only to now be forced to stay and muster up the energy for the busiest time of the day. then there arent times for a break some times since i now have 8am meds and sugars and baths. than the discharges start....
  3. 1
    I would much rather work 12's than five 8-hour shifts. I work 3 on and have 4-5 days off, depending. We are never forced to work 16 hour shifts where I work - we may be asked to stay for an extra couple of hours but most of time if a nurse is going to be late, our charge nurse will take report for the nurse that hasn't showed and we will also provide a written report. For the most part I am okay with 12's...I don't really start to get tired until 0400-0500. After 12 hours, though, my brain starts to shut down. Personally I think working more than 12 hours in a shift greatly increases the risk of making an error.

    We only get 30 min breaks, unpaid.
    anotherone likes this.
  4. 0
    Quote from ThePrincessBride
    I'm NOT shocked by the 12 hours and have even worked them. I work in healthcare as a CNA. I AM shocked that nurses can be FORCED by their employers to work FOUR hours overtime ON TOP of their twelve-hour shift without giving another break. To me, that is just unsafe and borderline abusive.
    Yes i knew what you meant. I am still suprised that even as a cns you never saw this. I guess it varies greatly by employer. But we are illegay mandated to 16 often enough.
  5. 0
    I work in the LDRP setting and I perfer 12s in terms of continuity of care. That way mommas and babes are not being passed off by a plethora of different staff during their stay. Helps us build a rapport and working relationship, both of which I find exremely important in this setting.

    That said, I did know about the extra hours. However, where I work/in my state, we can sign a release upon our employment relieving us from this burden if we so wish.

    Our break is a 30 min, unpaid. Though I am a pumping mom, so I actually break out for more and thankfully have the support of my co-workers to be able to do so.

    In general, my unit is staffed extremely well. Typically 1:1 in labor, and 1:3 couplets when post partum (sometimes we do the occasional 1:4 couplets). And we always have a call nurse scheduled to come in if need be, and if we anticipate it, sometimes a second call nurse is put on just in case.
  6. 0
    Quote from ThePrincessBride
    I'm NOT shocked by the 12 hours and have even worked them. I work in healthcare as a CNA. I AM shocked that nurses can be FORCED by their employers to work FOUR hours overtime ON TOP of their twelve-hour shift without giving another break. To me, that is just unsafe and borderline abusive.
    Yes i knew what you meant. I am still suprised that even as a cns you never saw this. I guess it varies greatly by employer. But we are illegay mandated to 16 often enough. At one point we had about 100hrs open on night shift aline due to staffing for the floor eing at a critical low. new grads were hired (weeks of orientation) . This is pretty common on some units. high turnovers, onky new grads hired, once it starts it is difficult to get under control. in the meantime we get mandated
  7. 4
    I prefer two 12's......parttime....
    cosmicmama, anotherone, melmarie23, and 1 other like this.
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    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.


    "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."
    *** 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.


    wooh and anotherone like this.
  9. 2
    They don't force anyone over for our 12 hr shifts but they do sometimes ask the 8 hr people to work another 4 or 8 hrs if they want but it's never forced. However, our 12 hr shifts are really 12 1/2 because we don't get paid for our lunch break. That is the only break I usually get. I also rarely get out on time. I don't usually feel too tired until I get home. I think most errors result from high nurse-patient ratios more than long hours on our floor anyway.
    nrsang97 and PMFB-RN like this.
  10. 0
    I like the idea of 8x5 better.


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