12 hour shifts...dangerous? - page 3

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... Read More

  1. by   OnlybyHisgraceRN
    I prefer two 12's......parttime....
  2. by   PMFB-RN
    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.

  3. by   Nurse ABC
    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.
  4. by   wish_me_luck
    I like the idea of 8x5 better.
  5. by   PMFB-RN
    Quote from wish_me_luck
    I like the idea of 8x5 better.
    *** This is true for many nurses. Particularly older nurses. Any decent hospital should be able to accomodate nurses needs. Any hospital that is so inflexable as not not allow 8 or 12 hours shifts depending on what the nurse needs has little respect for it's nurses and likely isn't a good place to work anyway.
  6. by   mappers
    10?? Ten doesn't divide into 24 evenly. That can't work. Shifts must be factors of 24 if the job is a 24-hour one. (Unless you have a lot of overlap.)
  7. by   K+MgSO4
    Quote from mappers
    10?? Ten doesn't divide into 24 evenly. That can't work. Shifts must be factors of 24 if the job is a 24-hour one. (Unless you have a lot of overlap.)
    Where I work in Victoria Australia we work 10 hr ND. 2x8 hr day shifts. AM 7-3.30 PM 1-9.30 our day shift overlap insures lunch breaks and education
  8. by   FurBabyMom
    I'm on the fence what I like more. They all have positives and negatives if you ask me. I worked 12s as a floor nurse at one job, then 8s on orientation at two jobs now, and 12s back on the floor after orientation at my second job. When I complete orientation at this job I will work four 10s. Twelves could either be easy, or a pain. Depended, honestly, on my patient load and what my coworker 'team'/'group' was on a given day. I'm excited to try 10s. I think it will be nice - not as short as 8s, not as long as 12s. I will admit, GENERALLY 7a-11a is the busiest time, but sometimes 7-11p can rival that - depending on your group of patients. I'll have more 'day' time off working 10s on days than I would have working 12s overnight. When I worked 12s overnight, I did have an hour commute to and from work, so if my day at work went smoothly I'd be up for 14 hours just working and getting to and from work. If I was mandated, it was scary driving home. I didn't like working those last 4 hours - it was a lot to juggle and inevitably the mornings I'd been mandated were the mornings from hell, where we had multiple rapid responses or a code or something of that nature that really messes with your morning.

    I saw someone pointed out preferences - I think it's more than preferences. Some nurses work best in the 8-10 hour range, others can handle 12s just fine. Some can handle 16s fine. Others cannot. I think if you give it a try and it doesn't work smoothly, you don't feel comfortable with it - it should be something reserved for emergencies. And no, scheduling 9 people one day/night and 2-3 the next does not constitute an emergency. The latter is poor management. It was done to me multiple times as a floor nurse. When my NM tried to mandate me one morning after the fact I worked 5 12s in 7 days already - I (as politely as possible) to her to check her mandation/overtime book and select another victim. Lol...when you work four 12s one week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday) and five the next (Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday) - and your patients are asking if any other staff work on the unit...probably something wrong with staffing. AND to top it all - I worked in a state where mandatory overtime was illegal and where the BON explicitly prohibited mandation.
  9. by   KelRN215
    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.
    Would it shock you if I told you that at my (former) hospital not only could we be forced to stay four hours beyond a 12 hr shift, but that we also didn't get paid overtime in that situation?

    I have worked 16 hr shifts without so much as a pee break before. If you're getting asked or mandated to stay for 16 hrs, you can bet it's an insane day on the floor.

    When I worked in the hospital, I preferred working 12 hr shifts. The hours in the hospital are insane and waking up at 5am 5 days a week, working til 11 and not getting home til 1am 5 days a week or working overnight 5 days a week all sound awful to me. Since I stopped working in the hospital, I now understand how bad 12 hr shifts, rotating shifts and horrible hours were to my life. I work 2 jobs now and work more than 50 hrs/week but I have exponentially more time on my hands than I did working 3 days/week in the hospital. Why? Because rotating shifts are not kind. When I was in the hospital, I could be expected to work 12 hr night shifts Friday, Saturday, Sunday and then turn around and work Tuesday and Wednesday 12 hr days. Many times, I'd go from 8am Friday until 8am Monday (72 hrs) on a TOTAL of 8 hrs of sleep. It took so long to recover from all these shifts that I could go an entire week with doing nothing other than working and sleeping.

    Now, I hardly ever work weekends and when I do, it's only for a few hours. 5am is not a part of my life. If I need to come into work late or leave early, I do. Oh man, I do NOT miss hospital nursing in the least.
  10. by   KelRN215
    Quote from K+MgSO4
    Where I work in Victoria Australia we work 10 hr ND. 2x8 hr day shifts. AM 7-3.30 PM 1-9.30 our day shift overlap insures lunch breaks and education
    I can't see this ever happening in the US. Hospitals wouldn't view it as financially sound to have overlapping shifts of nurses. Breaks are not federally mandated and, even in states where they are, there is little to no enforcement. I live in a state that mandates breaks for any shift longer than 6 hours. I can count on my hands the number of breaks I got in 5 years of working inpatient. I didn't get paid if I worked through them and I didn't get paid if I stayed late hours after my shift.
  11. by   Ntheboat2
    I love 12 hour shifts. Yes, they get exhausting. However, I would much rather have to drag my butt to work 3 or even 4 days a week instead of 5. For me, once I'm already there...I might as well just stay. I'm not one of these people that likes to go home early. The once in a blue moon surprise day OFF is nice, but half shifts or getting sent home a few hours early aren't for me. Half the battle is showing up. Of course, I have to drive a little ways and I LOVE my sleep so the hardest part for me is getting up, getting ready, and driving there. Adding another day or two of that ritual would be much more awful than working a couple hours longer.
  12. by   Ntheboat2
    Quote from IcySageNurse
    What other college educated profession is treated this way? Forcing us to work for 12 hours in a row and giving us a short 30 minute break. We're treated like uneducated common laborers, perhaps worse.
    I have a college education in another field and I like the "uneducated, common laborer" schedule better. A big part of why nursing was so appealing to me is the 12 hour shifts, the opportunity to work nights, and the big bonus (literally and figuratively) the OVERTIME!

    We get paid really well to work overtime. The pay makes it hard to say no when they ask you to take an extra shift. I would hate it if they went to 5 eight hour shifts and those overtime opportunities went away.
  13. by   beachfashionnursing
    12 hour shifts are tiring. I am starting a new job soon that is 8-10 hour shifts.