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Changing to 8 hour shifts


Ok I feel silly even posting this. I'm currently working 3 twelve hour shifts a week. I'm thinking about moving to a unit with 5 eight hour shifts. I'm worried this will be hard to adjust to. I'm used to have 4 days off during the week for appointments, etc.. But this new position is mom-fri with weekends off. Any thoughts?

I'd consider it if I got every weekend off but I know 5 days in a row is really tough for any nurse. As for 8 hour shifts compared to 12, you will probably feel a bit more rushed then you did but it's definitely doable. I only do 8's now and I don't mind them but sometimes you just can't get everything done and I rarely take my meal break. What kind of job is this if you don't mind me asking? Hospital, facility, office?

It's a hospital job. I'd be going from bedside nursing with a 4:1 ratio to recovery room with a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio. It's something I've always wanted to do. I'm over being a bedside nurse, so I'm excited about the change, just concerned about the lifestyle adjustment. I'm sure over time I could go to a 12 hour position if I wanted to. But I find 12 hour shifts very tiring now.

Ok I feel silly even posting this. I'm currently working 3 twelve hour shifts a week. I'm thinking about moving to a unit with 5 eight hour shifts. I'm worried this will be hard to adjust to. I'm used to have 4 days off during the week for appointments, etc.. But this new position is mom-fri with weekends off. Any thoughts?


Screw that. There is no way I would do this job if I only had 8 days a month that I wasn't required to show up at the hospital. 3x12 is great.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

I absolutely cannot devote five days per week of face-time to patients. I've been there, done that, and have the burnout scars on my psyche to prove it. I can work five days per week in a role that entails no direct care, but five days in a row of dealing with patients and their families? Forget it.

Working three 12-hour shifts per week and getting four days off per week is the happy medium that ensures my survival in this harried profession better known as nursing.


Specializes in PCU / Telemetry. Has 9 years experience.

Sorry, three days in a hospital is enough for me. I'll do 12 hours a night forever as long as I can have my free days off.

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Here.I.Stand, BSN, RN

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.

Some of the nurses from my ICU moved to the PACU and they love it! And recovering, extubating, and sending a pt to the floor is very different work than med-surg, so you could find that the five days feel different than five days in med-surg would. Would it be possible to take the new position and then cut back to 0.9 or 0.8 down the road?

Yeah I have no experience beyond med surg but it sounds a lot more doable in the PACU with a smaller patient load.


Specializes in Behavioral Health. Has 21 years experience.

I left a 5 day a week (8 hrs rountinely turned into 9+) job in an office for 3 12s. I hated having to take PTO for a doctor or dentist appointment! Not to mention I would rather sear my skin off than going grocery shopping on a weekend.

imintrouble, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC Rehab Med/Surg. Has 16 years experience.

Five eights with a 1 or 2 /1 ratio would be great.

Five eights med/surg. Not a chance.

Loved 8 hours shifts! Just when you feel like leaving, it is time to get ready for shift change and patient handoff to the oncoming shift. And if you ever needed an RN to stay over for 2-3 hours to help when short staffed, they are fresh enough to be able to do that, while you almost can't worry about helping the next shift when you work 12 hours. I also found that folks who might have been feeling a little under the weather (headache, cramps) would tough out an 8 hour shift, but call out for a 12 hour shift. Yes, you do work 5 times a week, but it is in small enough doses not to be as overwhelming as a 12 hour shift. You can still schedule appointments in the early morning (if you work 3-11) and in the late afternoon (if you work 7-3), and 11-7 shift can pick their sleep time around their activities. The evidence-based research findings also support 8 hour shifts as being safer, because the majority of errors are made in the last 4 hours of a 12 hour shift. But, to each his own on shift preference. It's nice that some hospitals give choices.

Thank you Penguin67. It's nice to hear something positive. I'm exhausted working 12s. If I work 2 in a row, the day after I'm so tired I don't do anything. It'll be an adjustment, but if I don't go forward, I can never go back. I just worry about hair, mc appt scheduling but other ppl manage it so I can. It's nice to have 4 days off when trying to plan a vacation, but I don't travel too much.

Plus my husband works mon-fri so we will be on the same schedule.


Specializes in PACU, pre/postoperative, ortho. Has 10 years experience.

JMoney, I'm doing the exact same thing. Going to 8hr shifts in PACU from 12 hr nocs on the floor. Once orientation is over, I'll only be PT (3-8s) though & will pick up PRN/float on the floors.

Big adjustment but we can do it!

I just got out of 5 8's to 3 12's (I'm still on a floor though) - the thought of going back to 8 hour shifts turns my stomach! I agree that going to PACU is a whole different world.

danielle2000, MSN, RN

Specializes in Family Practice. Has 1 years experience.

I think you will adjust fine. You may fine yourself with less fatigue in the long run. Change is always a challenge but as we do make different transitions we realize in the end it was the best decision. Currently, I still work long 12 hour shifts but it works for my classes so I could not take an eight hour shift if I wanted to do. Good luck with your position. :-)

xoemmylouox, ASN, RN

Has 13 years experience.

Everyone is different. I loved working 3-4 12's. Right now my full time job is 8hr shifts x 5 days a week. I can't want to go back to the days of 12 hrs. For others 8hrs is more than enough in one day. I hope you enjoy your new position. Good luck!

roser13, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC. Has 17 years experience.

I think it's a great position. 12's are wearing you down, so 8's will be a welcome change. No family members in PACU. Patients can be challenging, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. PACU was always very gratifying for me.

It is definitely a challenge to fit your personal life around the edges of 8-hr days but I find that many care providers offer a late evening or two during the week. Or you take a PTO day every 3-4 months to cluster all the necessary appointments.