12 Hour Shifts

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    Ive always wondered aout 12 hour shifts. Ive worked them before. Ill admit its nice to only have to work 3 out of the 7 days. Sometimes I feel its overwhelming. I would like to only have to do an 8hr. How do you feel about 12 hour shifts? I guess my real question is, what can I do to help me maintain more energy and pep for the full 12 hours?
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  3. 17 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    I personally LOVE 12's and wouldn't do 8's if my life depended on it. On the floor it helps cut down on missed information as you only have 2 RN's per 24 hours. In the ER, where I work now, it doesn't matter so much as our turn over is (usually) fast. As for keeping your energy up, I usually have a 5 hour energy shot when I wake up around 4pm, then a soda with lunch around 2-3am. But I have magical sleeping powers and get a solid 7 hours when I work.
    redhead_NURSE98! likes this.
  5. 1
    I have worked a few 8 hour shifts and don't like them.. Not enough time to do all that was needed in my opinion, I have to agree with above re missed information. I always feel rushed when I pick up a 8 hour shift. I love 12's.........I get plenty of sleep, sometimes a coffee on my way in and a soda around 2-3a with lunch. I am a night shifter, I can't function on days
    anotherone likes this.
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    I'm torn on 12s. The Pros: more continuity of care, fewer days worked, more days at home. Cons: exhausting, if you've got an unpleasant patient then you are stuck with them even longer. On work days I get absolutely nothing done but work and sleep.
  7. 0
    I think 12 hour shifts are not safe for nurses or patients.. When I worked the evening shift (3-11) we had 12 hour shifts who by around 3-7 pm. shut down. More medication errors were documented during that time. Nurses need a break from all the craziness. I think possibly a 10 hour shift would work better due to the overlapping of shifts and finishing your work. Just my opinion.
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    I prefer 12s, because of the continuity of care...I honestly can say I feel more tired working five days a week than three 12s. It also helps when work three 12s that you have at least a break in between. My job has a schedule plan where you at least have one-days of during weekdays, plus the weekends of, with the exception of the third weekend to prevent fatigue.

    When I do nights, I usually make sure on my days off to go to stay at least until 2-3 am, get up early, get a few things done, then go to sleep in the middle of the day, to give a cycling rhythm of tolerating the shifting times.
  9. 1
    Any time I've ever worked an 8 hour shift, it felt like I'd still been there 12. Although it can be exhausting, I also feel like 12s are more economical - especially since I drive an hour to work each way.

    The only negative is that my first night off after a couple in a row I am utterly useless.

    ~ No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Consent -Eleanor Roosevelt ~
    anotherone likes this.
  10. 1
    Love my 12s. Would NEVER go back to doing 8s.
    scrubsandasmile likes this.
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    There is evidence that job performance deteriorates when you get past 10 hours & this is shorter if the workload is high or intense. That is why there are current Federal regulations limiting the working time for airline pilots and truck drivers - who have jobs in which lack of focus can be deadly. So - why in the world are nurses allowed to work such long hours???? No answers, just an observation.

    It may be interesting to take a look at the correlation between safety incidents and fatigue in your organization. Look at the time that the error occurred and how long the individual had been working and what their workload was. It's interesting.

    Shouldn't we be organizing healthcare practices according to what is better for the patient rather than the nurse?
  12. 2
    Truck drivers don't have errors related to miscommunication during handoff. How may pilots work overnight?

    8 hour shifts are great. IF you work days. It's people with LOTS of experience that are the majority in this thread advocating for 8 hour shifts. How many of y'all still work nights?
    Good Morning, Gil and anotherone like this.


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