12 hour shifts...dangerous? - page 5

by ThePrincessBride

13,902 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


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    Our hospital actually refuses to allow anyone to stay longer than 12 hours. I one time worked a 12 hour day, and they were short until 11pm...i was getting off at 7pm. i OFFERED to stay an extra 4 hours giving me a total of a 16 hour work day. My manager told me she "cannot allow that. It is dangerous for me, for the hospital for the patients. We are better off short staffed than having a fatigued nurse." She thanked me for my offer and that was it.
    Our hospital is now only hiring for 8 hour positions. Human resources told managment if the current 12 hour people want to go to 8 hours they need to do their best to accomodate this request. I go back and fourth with what i want to do. But im afraid once i go to 8 hours and i hate it, i won't be able to go back to 12's.

    I would never work for a place that FORCED me to work longer than 12 hours. just working 12 hours in general is very rough on you phsyically and mentally.
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    Where I work has a call requirement as well as overtime needs. It is not unheard of to have twenty hour work days (called in, of course) and swapping out of some big, nasty trauma just isn't feasible, sadly. But, we are given the option of "turn around" which allows us to go rest for eight hours. When we reach our breaking point, we do reach out to team mates to help cover call so we can regroup. It's important to know your limits, and everyone is going to be different. Sad to say, but sometimes I love those long shifts.~~CP~~Forgive the horrible smartphone formatting. :sigh:
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    i work 8 hour shifts (although im technically office staff at the hospital) i would love 3x12.. going to the hospitla 4-5 nights a weeks

    if you think 12 hour shifts are bad try being an EMT and working 24 hr shifts.. although most of the time at night we have had slow times and we got to sleep at the station but there have been days where i have been worked just about all 24 hours..

    one great thing about the 24 hour shifts is that i did two a week and i was done
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    I would burn out extremely quickly if I had to do bedside care 5 days a week. I also would be far more limited in employment options by commuting distance: it is uneconomical and not sensible to do a longer commute 5 days a week.

    In short, I'd leave nursing.

    10 hour shifts sound nice unless you stop for 10 seconds and think about how to schedule 24 hour care regularly, fairly, and economically into 10 hour blocks.

    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.
    Doctors, NPs, PAs, paramedics, many types of engineers, military officers, computer scientists, many educated office workers, managers, and many many many more.
    PMFB-RN and anotherone like this.
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    Quote from PMFB-RN
    *** 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.
    Uh...there is a difference between scheduling YOURSELF for sixteen hours. Yes, I've known about sixteen hour shifts for quite awhile now. What I AM shocked about is that hospitals can force nurses to work sixteen hour shifts because of a silly scheduling error THEY committed AND that these nurses aren't given more adequate breaks. I feel that is ILLEGAL. You are misreading my post.

    And you can't compare Physicians to nurses, seeing as how many Physicians are allowed to sleeping cots and pages.


    *** 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.
    I'm quoting the article, PMFB and even my dean of nursing who feels that twelve hour shifts are unsafe. She is a world leader in EBP. I doubt you know more her than her.



    *** 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".
    I work at a TWO hospitals, one of them magnet status. Are you telling ME what MY hospitals do or don't do? Step back.



    *** 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.
    Okay.



    *** How often do you think that happens? In most places it's rare.
    Have you worked at most places? No. I was speaking to a nurse and she told me that this happens to her as much as one a week.



    ***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.
    Again, you are misreading my post. STEP BACK AND READ IT AGAIN. I won't repeat myself again for someone who clearly misread my post.




    *** 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.



    Even a skilled nurse can make a mistake

    ETA: Sorry if the tone came off as harsh (just re-read it). I was just a little frustrated b/c I thought my post was being misunderstood. Sorry if it came off as abrasive!
    Last edit by ThePrincessBride on Dec 6, '12
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    Quote from MusicEMT
    i work 8 hour shifts (although im technically office staff at the hospital) i would love 3x12.. going to the hospitla 4-5 nights a weeks

    if you think 12 hour shifts are bad try being an EMT and working 24 hr shifts.. although most of the time at night we have had slow times and we got to sleep at the station but there have been days where i have been worked just about all 24 hours..

    one great thing about the 24 hour shifts is that i did two a week and i was done
    I've worked twelve hours. I can do day shift (easy peasy), but I cannot do a twelve hour night shift. It is too brutal for me. But I could not do a sixteen hour shift and the thought of being forced to work four extra hours makes me cringe.
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    I'm quoting the article, PMFB and even my dean of nursing who feels that twelve hour shifts are unsafe. She is a world leader in EBP. I doubt you know more her than her.
    *** (chuckle, chuckle) Yes I can remeber back in the day I too though the dean and instrucors in my nursing school were highly knowlagable about the nursing world.


    I work at a TWO hospitals, one of them magnet status.

    *** Oh I am sorry for you! That goes a long way twords explaining why you have such strong feelings about this and why you ae under the impression tha nurses are being abused to such a great extenant. Have hope! I am sure that after you graduate you will have more oppertunities and can find a job at a nice non-Magnet hospital.

    Even a skilled nurse can make a mistake
    *** Naturaly. However any study of he risk of errors in 8 vs 12 hours shifts that does NOT take into account he exodous of a large number of the most everienced and skilled nurses isn't valid.
    KelRN215 and anotherone like this.
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    Where I was working, they took the half hour break out of the 8 hr shift pay automatically. But, you weren't REALLY allowed to take the time off during the shift. Legally they had to show that a break was given on paper. Does this happen everywhere?
    anotherone likes this.
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    Having worked 8s and 12s...I wouldn't say 12s are dangerous. I know that I don't function at my best at the end of a 12 hour shift, so I prefer not to work them if I can help it. But that is me. Some people do 12s and thrive. Some people do 16s and thrive. I thrive best on 8s so I lean towards working 8s.

    IMO, if you're not suited for working 12s (or 16s), then yes, it could be dangerous. Anything over 16 is definitely dangerous IMO no matter who you are.

    If I were to work 12 hours at my hospital, I would get two 30 minutes breaks. I am required to take at least one of them, because according to state law, if I don't take it they have to pay me an entire hour of extra pay for skipping a lunch...so they will move heaven and earth to make sure I take that break. I can opt out of the second break if I chose to without penalty to the hospital--apparently a lot of nurses do--but if I wanted it, the hospital would have to give it to me.
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    I've always worked 12s. They work for me.
    I've never seen any nurse be forced to work past her/his scheduled shift. Eight hrs or 12.

    There have been a couple of times after a grueling 12 hrs, when I've sat down to chart an entire nights events, and I couldn't put two words together in any kind of legible way. Scary.


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