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Anyone else frustrated with 12 hour shifts?

Specializes in Education, IV Therapy, Travel Medicine.

Hi fellow nurses,

I am frustrated with the short sightedness of nursing management with only offering 12 hour shifts. Do they realize how difficult this is on the typical family, much less the over 40 nurse. We say we have a nursing shortage but, then we have many nurses at home wanting to return but, unable to do 12 hours. Which, we all know if never really 12 hours but, much longer (commute, park,report,etc). Not to mention the fatigue factor. 12 hours should be one option not, the only one. We could have a few 6 hour shifts to incorporate the stay at home mom and keep them active in the profession. In my experience teaching nurse refresher courses it is a common frustration for those trying to return. What do you guys think?

Crocuta, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, ER.

I'm in utter love with my 12 hour shifts. It will be a long time before I voluntarily go back to 8's or 12's. For me, it's all about working 3 days a week and having four to do whatever I want with my family. Some months I feel like I haven't really been at the hospital - not that I don't love being there, too.

clemmm78, RN

Has 25 years experience.

I never liked 12 hour shifts and avoided working in units that had them. As you say, it's not 12 hours, it's a lot more with the commute and everything.

I know that many people love 'em. Not me. There should be a choice.

RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience.

I suspect management knew all too well about how much easier it is to staff 2 shifts a day instead of three.

I do remember the days of the 8 hour shifts and how it was difficult to get enough staff for 3-11 shifts. Most new grads were required to do some rotation to that shift, and still there were still days the floor ran short on evenings.

lpnflorida

Specializes in psych. rehab nursing, float pool. Has 30 years experience.

I personally love 12 hour shifts. Yes it makes for a long day I get up at 0415 in the morning to get the things done I need before leaving the house. It is a 45 min drive to work, by the time I get home it is 8 pm. Still I love the extra time off from work and would never accept 8 hour shifts again for that reason.

Perhaps you can speak to your DON or whoever makes those types of decisions and see if they would be amiable to two nurses job sharing the same fte. Meaning the 2 nurses would work one half of the 12 hour shift. Granted benefits would be reduced as getting in your 32 hours weekly would not be there. But if you are all in agreement they might be open to the suggestion.

I think there is another reason why 12-hour shift were implemented in hospitals....it alleviates quite a bit of the "she said, she said" factor.

When 8-hour shifts were common...early shift blamed everything on the night shift, 2nd shift blamed the morning shift..night shift claimed that the 2nd shift didn't get enough done, day shift claims that they were too busy and night shift had "all night"....oh...we have heard it all!

A shift is more likely to do their job...when they have to have a face-to-face report from the people that is going to be taking over...and these are roughly the same folks that handed you the shift to start with.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 14 years experience.

I prefer more days off per week, and the only way this can possibly be achieved for me is through compressed work scheduling (three 12 hour shifts per week, or two 16 hour shifts per week). I absolutely love having 4 to 5 days off per week.

I worked five 8-hour shifts per week as a floor nurse, and it got tiring quickly. The process of preparing to go to work on a daily basis requires plenty of motivation, energy, and time. Waking up, showering, dressing, and driving to and from work is a surefire way to consume time if I must do it every single day of the week. I simply don't have it in me to do floor nursing 5 days per week.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 14 years experience.

I think there is another reason why 12-hour shift were implemented in hospitals....it alleviates quite a bit of the "she said, she said" factor.
In addition, there are some facilities in my area that still staff with 8-hour shifts.

However, nobody really wants to work that dreaded evening shift (2 to 10pm or 3 to 11pm). Day shift is coveted and desired by many, and night shifts are also preferred by some people. However, people have the tendency to accept evening shifts only until something "better" comes along, and then they jump off the bandwagon into a unit with "better" hours. Evening shift takes up part of the day, the entire evening, and a few hours of one's night, so this shift tends to have the highest percentage of employee turnover in my area. 12-hour shifts eliminate the problem of having to find staff to cover that blasted 8-hour evening shift.

ChristineN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatric/Adolescent, Med-Surg.

In addition, there are some facilities in my area that still staff with 8-hour shifts.

However, nobody really wants to work that dreaded evening shift (2 to 10pm or 3 to 11pm). Day shift is coveted and desired by many, and night shifts are also preferred by some people. However, people have the tendency to accept evening shifts only until something "better" comes along, and then they jump off the bandwagon into a unit with "better" hours. Evening shift takes up part of the day, the entire evening, and a few hours of one's night, so this shift tends to have the highest percentage of employee turnover in my area. 12-hour shifts eliminate the problem of having to find staff to cover that blasted 8-hour evening shift.

Wow, when I used to do 8's I LOVED them. I even looked into working on a unit where nurse's do either 5 8's or 2 8's/2 12's, and they were fine with me filling an evening shift gap.

Magsulfate, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 13 years experience.

Lots of good responses here. I think the BIGGEST reason why most hospitals are going to the 12 hours shifts, is because of the staffing issue.

It is hard to find that nurse who will want to work 3-11p. There are still hospitals out there that will do the 8 hr shifts. Personally, I like the 12 hour shifts better because you get your working hours over with in 3 days, and after that if you want to work, you're into OT woohooo!

queenjean

Has 9 years experience.

In our facility, the average stay on my floor is slightly less than 3 days. 12 hour shifts mean that the pt has fewer nurses, meaning increasing continuity of care.

The bulk of our met/codes and falls occur in four hour bundles around shift change (honestly, we don't have that many, our sample is small but this is the trend so far). Adding an additional shift change in there might increase these events.

Staffing--it's a more efficient use of staff hours. Less report=money savings.

I personally like the 12 hour shift. I declined a job at the VA for precisely that reason--there was no way I was going to work 5 days a week! I really wanted to work at the VA-benefits were great, it seemed like a good facility, felt like I was really helping--but I did not want to commute and work 5 days a week. So I chose a 12 hour shift closer to home, slightly better pay, worse benefits.

I read a paper that stated that while there were some measurable differences, overall there were no statistical differences in outcomes and errors between 8 and 12 hour shifts. I was surprised at that, even with my support of the 12 hour shifts. I guess I'd just always believed what I've heard, that 12 hour shifts were worse, statistically.

Our hospital SNF uses 8 and 12 hour shifts, but it is a scheduling nightmare. I think they are planning on returning to 8 hour shifts, and those who want 12s get to transfer to somewhere else in the facility.

I love the 12 hour shifts. I think having the 4 days off is better for my family than working 5 days with shorter shifts. I do see a time in the distant future where I won't want to work 12 hour shifts anymore, but I wonder--if I'm not up to the 12 hour shifts, I don't know that I'd be physically up to working the floor at all. I'm slowly finishing my BSN and then I'll probably start my masters, with the idea of teaching or working in some more organizational standpoinw--public health, school system, etc--once I can't work the floor anymore. I work with a nurse in her 60s, and she runs circles around us. I'm hoping I'm like her in 25 years.

NurseKatie08, MSN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Transplant, Education. Has 12 years experience.

I guess I'm the only one that doesn't mind evening shift...I work M-F 3p-11p & love it, except I will say that the 5 days are draining. When I was a tech, I used to work D/N rotating, 2 8s & 2 12s, or 3 12s depending on the week, and I absolutely HATED the lack of consistency. If I could work the 3 days a week, I think I would like it, but I like having my mornings to myself to do whatever I need & then go into work at 3.

Just showing a little love for 2nd shift...

tntrn, ASN, RN

Specializes in L & D; Postpartum. Has 34 years experience.

I guess I'm the only one that doesn't mind evening shift...I work M-F 3p-11p & love it, except I will say that the 5 days are draining. When I was a tech, I used to work D/N rotating, 2 8s & 2 12s, or 3 12s depending on the week, and I absolutely HATED the lack of consistency. If I could work the 3 days a week, I think I would like it, but I like having my mornings to myself to do whatever I need & then go into work at 3.

Just showing a little love for 2nd shift...

I, too, love 3-11! The only time I worked Day Shift was when my daughter started kindergarten and having no time with her became a real problem.

I recently turned down a perdiem job (I work 1-2 shifts a week) primarily because it was a 12 hour job. It was exactly what I wanted, except for that. AND the possibility of scheduling 8 hour shifts was there, but if those were gone, then it would be necessary to schedule 12 hour shifts.

The very thought of getting up 5a and not getting home until 8p, or worse! leaving at 6' and not getting home until 8a was enough to start a near panic attack. I just can't imagine being gone from my home, on my feet, for that long. And my observations where I currently work are that the 12 hour people rarely, if ever, get out in 12 1/2 hours. Usually it's more like 14. There's just no way I would be able to do that two shifts back to back, and my attitude, both there and at home, would be horrible.

In addition, I am very cautious about those last 4 hours of nurses with whom I work. Often, some of them exhibit less conscientiousness about their job and duties, even trying to "trade" for a less labor-intensive assignment when we come in at 3.

When my DH had surgery last year, I was happy to have 8 hour shift nurses for his caretaking. (This was not at my hospital, where I wouldn't have taken him: ever.) At each change of shift, we were greeted with fresh faces, nurses who hadn't gone home from the hospital a few hours earlier, only to be back-again. Their patient-nurse ratios were very reasonable also, which was why I wouldn't have taken him where I work.

We don't have a very high turnover on 3-11. We recently added 12's and very few staff on 3-11 volunteered to take those positions. Most came from days and nights. Now however we have a lot more work when we decide staffing, we often have too many nurses coming on at 7pm. There usually isn't an even match at 7p either we had more nurses on days and end up short at 7p or we have more scheduled for night shift and have a surplus at 7p.

cc_nurse

Specializes in NICU.

Personally I love 12 hr shifts, once I became accustomed to the routine they rarely drag by, especially now that I am on day shift. I hate getting up at 4:30 in the am, but its a small price to pay IMHO.

I don't know if I could have worked full time when I first finished school if it was a 5 day a week grind-yuck-but of course to each his own.

I love 12 hour shift, because I work 3 days only, think about 8 hour and 5 dyes that is a lot. Only add 4 hour work three days, that good it is help me and my family specially my kids. I help my wife to baby-sitting the rest of 4 days instead of paid babysitter. :up:

txredheadnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in Correctional, QA, Geriatrics. Has 39 years experience.

I'm surprised no one has mentioned 10 hour shifts. You get 3 days off in a row and it was great to have extra hands during those busy times. I currently self schedule in my community based position and will do 10 hour days when I need a week day off.

DeepFriedRN

Has 8 years experience.

I LOVE my 12 hr shifts!! They can be exhausting, but I feel like having the 4 days off is more balanced for me and for my family.

diane227, LPN, RN

Specializes in Management, Emergency, Psych, Med Surg. Has 32 years experience.

I would not work a 12 hour shift ever. I am the charge RN on a really busy 34 bed unit. Eight hours of it is about all I can take at one time. It is very busy on 3-11 and we run the entire shift. I just can't keep my mental strength up for more than 8 hours.

I'm surprised no one has mentioned 10 hour shifts. You get 3 days off in a row and it was great to have extra hands during those busy times. I currently self schedule in my community based position and will do 10 hour days when I need a week day off.

I used to work 10 hour shifts and loved it. Get that extra day off a week, but not so tired you can't get much done. I find that my first day off after 3 12's is pretty much a throw away day as I'm so tired I don't get much done. Loved 10 hours, but not practical for management. Better for the staff, though.

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