12 hour shifts

  1. The staff in our CCU would like to go to 12 hour shifts. Currently we have a mix of 12 hour shifts and 8 hour shifts with the majority being 8 hour shifts. Our nurse manager states that there is no way 12 hour shifts would work and it would make staffing too difficult esp. when a nurse calls in. I am curious how many of your units operate on 12 hour shifts and how you think it works. How do you cover call ins...esp that last 4 hours of a 12 hour shift ? Did it improve staff morale, do you have less call ins,etc? Any input would be appreciated. I still hope to sway our NM opinion on this subject. Thanks
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    About BJRN76

    Joined: Mar '00; Posts: 9; Likes: 8
    Registered Nurse


  3. by   traumaRUs
    This comes at an opportune time for our unit too. I work in a large (more than 60,000 visits per year) level I trauma center. Our nurse manager was dead set against 12 hour shifts - we currently have 8 and 10 hour shifts. However, she agreed to a trial period. At the moment, there are four full-time RNs that work 9am to 9pm. The four of us got together and came up with a schedule and submitted it. Everyone seems very pleased with it. None of us call in much, so that isn't an issue. Recently, management in an effort to boost morale is taking a survey to find out who else would be interested. We have an acute nursing shortage here and morale could use the boost. Hope this helps.
  4. by   Dayannight
    Several years ago the nursing staff at our hospital was given the chance to vote on whether we would like to change from 8-hr to 12-hr shifts. The majority of nursing voted for the 12-hr shift and it was put into place - we've been doing 12's since. Yes, morale did improve. Having more than one or two days off at a time can make a big difference. Most of us wouldn't return to 8-hr shifts for anything! As for call-ins, a number of us don't mind putting in an extra shift or two a pay period as that still leaves us with 2 or 3 days off a week. (Sure wouldn't want to work extra after putting in five 8-hr shifts!) We have "in house registery" for those willing to work extra shifts - pay is time and a half. Less than what the hospital would be paying for outside registry. This has been working well for us.
  5. by   Embibi
    12 Hour shift was implemented in our Unit way back 1992.It was adopted in response to the Nursing shortage prevalent at that time.So instead of covering for 3 shifts, the Administration can only focus on staffing for 2 shifts.We were very excited then,I mean the younger group.The senior nurses were at first adamant to the idea,but since it went into votation and the 12 hour shift won,thye have no choice but to go laong with it.after 6 mos, the reactions were mostly positive up to the point that the floor units adopted it as well.Now all Depts are 12 hour shift.With 4 days off a week and a lot of latitude for overtime and personal activities, nobody thinks of going back to 8 hour shift.
  6. by   ICUkids
    I have worked 12 hr shifts all my career, 14 yrs. It is wonderful. My unit would not want anything but. ICN does some 8 hr but only because of a merger, it makes the schedule difficult. I did mgnt for awhile and being there 5 days was more intense than the word can ever reflect. Even if my day was ok, being exposed to the stressors of staff and patients/families was a drain. At the end of my 8 hrs. I had little left to give. I stepped down to go back to 3 day a week and I am so much happier. The exposure to "Intensive Care" can be hard, our pt. population is 80% cardiacs and when we are full at the beginning of the shift and have 6 post ops, the day is sure to be a bit dicy as a charge nurse. 3 days a week I can do it, I have a life outside that is rewarding. We have had self scheduling for years despite threats to go computerized since some of the new folks don't get the system.
    Hope this helps.
  7. by   darinda
    In our hospital, the CCU, ER and L&D all work 12's. The general floors work 8's. I work in CCU so can only comment on our unit. The work is tiring and the shifts can certainly be long, but none of us would want to do shorter 8 hr shifts and be there 5 days a week. We do occasionally have call-ins, but we don't ordinarily have trouble covering them. Most nurses will agree to come in for eight, then another will agree to come in for the last four. When asked to do extra it is nice to have the opportunity to do a shorter shift. I think a lot of nurses out on the general floors would like to go to 12 hour shifts.
  8. by   Over-the-hill-Nurse
    The hospital I work in has done 12 hour shifts since 1989. For the most part it works well. We work every third weekend to cover the weekends and take call every 6 weeks. For call ins it is paid at time and a half so it makes it more worth while working extra. Our shifts are 7a to 7p. ER is the only shift that covers from 6a to 6p. I for one like the 12 hours. For the most part we don't have alot of problems with call ins. We also work 2 twelves and usually 2 days off and work 1 twelve. It sure beats the 8 hours. I work CCU and am drained from the twelve hours. 5 days a week is murder! I wouldn't go back to it now if they offered it.
  9. by   Nurse Tessie
    At present, in my unit, we work 2 long days per week, 8am to 8pm. We also have one 10 hour and one 6 hour shift. However, we feel that once we are in in the morning, we might as well be there for the whole day, also gives better continuity of care to the pt. So this month, we have a new system on trial, whereby we will work 3 8 to 8 shifts per week and 4 shifts one week in every 4. It'll be interesting to see how it works out.
  10. by   eliyel
    We used to have 12-hour shifts but they changed it to 8. It didn't make any sense to us why they would do that. 12-hour shifts were better for us because it meant lesser days spent in the hospital and longer days off.
  11. by   SwimNurseRun
    12 hour shifts = less handoffs of report where information can be forgotten or misinterpreted. 2 nurses taking care of the patient in 24 hours gives more continuity for the patients, too. If you come back multiple days in a row and have the same patients again that is even better, knowing the patient's history and their baseline from the day before.
  12. by   turnforthenurse
    We do 12's, always have. Call-off's aren't really an issue because of staffing, but sometimes an RN will call-off and we will have to take 5 patients (normally we take 4 per RN) but our night supervisors are great and will try to find someone to come in, even if they come in later at 2300. I personally like doing 12's...less days spent at the hospital working and as SwimNurseRun stated, there is more continuity with just 2 nurses taking care of a patient over a 24-hour period vs. 3 if they do 8-hour shifts.

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