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Effect of 12 Hour Shifts on Patient Care and the Nurse: A Need for Change.

Nurses Article   (9,060 Views 91 Replies 918 Words)

LindaGracie is a ADN, BSN and specializes in geriatric, psychiatric/mental illness.

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How can I bring change to 12 hour shifts on patient care?

Many nurses find it difficult to work 12 hour shifts both physically and cognitively. Research has shown working 12 hour shifts often effect nurses’ critical thinking, productivity and job satisfaction which impacts patient care and patient safety. This Article discusses a change theory which can be used to implement changes to the current practice of working 12 hour shifts. You are reading page 2 of Effect of 12 Hour Shifts on Patient Care and the Nurse: A Need for Change.. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

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I read this article with great annoyance.  One of the things I love about nursing is the flexibility.  The best staffing options that I ever had was a floor with a mix of 8's and 12's. While it may have been a headache for staffing (no sympathy, your job is staffing) it allowed for less disruption on the floors during change of shift and it allowed those who wanted 8's and/or 12's to have them.

I can say I am just as tired after 8's as I am after 12's (and I almost never work past 12- unless its a code or something). I did 4 8's for a few years. My work life balance is significantly better with 12's than 8's My hospital did not offer 5 8's, so you only worked 32hrs weekly.  Also, I have don't 5 8's in a week and by the end I am more tired and my frustration tolerance is much lower.  Obviously an n of 1 is not statistically significant, but it is significant to me

I wont get into the sources cited, but on first reading it seems like your articles are fairly cherry picked to fit your conclusion.

If you don't want to work 12's, then don't.  Advocate for mixed shifts instead and staffing solutions that work for your facility. Broad based solutions usually lead to everyone being unhappy.

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tinyRN72 has 6 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Cardiovascular Stepdown.

5 Articles; 91 Posts; 3,177 Profile Views

One of the things that keep me working in hospitals is the ability to work 12-hour shifts. I love the freedom of having 4 days off every week, or to be able to pick up a day, enjoy overtime, and still have 3 days off. 

I can make more money with less stress in other careers. If I were forced to work 5 8-hour shifts, I would look at other options. 

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Snatchedwig has 11 years experience as a ADN, CNA, LPN, RN and specializes in Medsurg.

2 Followers; 331 Posts; 2,626 Profile Views

On 10/14/2019 at 9:24 AM, OUxPhys said:

Our CNO hates 12 hour shifts but she knows she would have no nurses working the floors so we have them. I work at a hospital that requires 80 hours every two weeks so we do 6 12's and an 8. However, they use the threat of 5 8's or 2 12's 2 8's if you abuse the call off (they look for patterns). They also tell managers to schedule people more 2 12's 2 8's (instead of hiring more people....shocking).

I have no problem doing 8 hour shifts but it won't be on the floor. If they staff a floor with adequate nurses and nurses aids 12 hour shifts are doable. 12 hour shifts become rough when you are understaffed and are getting slammed with admissions and discharges, that's where the issues arise IMHO. 

Wow require? Your place sounds tough

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mmc51264 has 7 years experience as a ADN, BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in orthopedic; Informatics, diabetes.

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I love 12 hour shifts. With traffic and getting ready, an 8 hour day is not that much shorter.  I drive 40+ miles to my job. I don't want to do that 5 days a week and spend more time each direction because of rush hour traffic. 

I worked a hour shifts my first job and never got to see my kids, it seemed. 

I have been able to do my BSN and MSN because of working 3 days a week. I am old, too. I'm 55 and 12 hours, to me, seems easy. I used to work with horses and that was a tougher, 16-18 hour day, 7 days a week. 

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Lachel specializes in Geriatrics.

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Not only do they work 12 hour shifts, but are mandated often too. Threatened with their employment, because many don’t know they have laws that actually protect them from the cutting back management so they can get a big bonus at the end of the year! These nurses need to stand up and protect their livelihood! Management will move right along as if you never existed after they ruin your life, and blame you for their errors and hire someone else to manipulate without a second thought! So, it is important that you read your handbooks and know your state and federal laws about issues that threatens your livelihood, and causes patients to get inadequate, neglectful care! Always remember protect your patients’ and your own assets! It’s a man’s eater world in the health care field! It’s all about management making sure they and corporate see the increase of the mighty dollar at any cost! 

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Here.I.Stand has 16 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro.

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When I started my current job I worked 0.8 FTE, 8 hour 2300-0730.

I LIVED TIRED.  

I’m not exaggerating.... if I was awake I was tired.  I could possibly do day shifts.... or 1500-2330 if I didn’t have school-age kids who are home in the evening.

But there is no way in hades I will ever work that many 8 hr night shifts again..... talk about increased fatigue!!

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Lachel specializes in Geriatrics.

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Yes. Nursing is mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting. When you’re someone that cares and are really doing your job it takes a toll on you. There’s plenty of nurses that can work, work, work, but many of them don’t do their work. Now there’s some a few that has Engery for days and can do it! But many of them suck up those hours and do nothing! When you come back still tired and hurting lol you have a mess left from the nurses that always pick up and have 100 hour checks! You can tell the difference between the ones who are there because they have good hearts and the ones that are there for money only! Then there’s a few that’s there for both and that’s ok too. Kids are a lot by themselves. I found out being very organized helped lol but I couldn’t keep organized hahahahaha. It helped every time I tried though. And working a job when they’re in school helped a lot. So, like getting them in a program where they got dropped off in the morning and then they would pick them up after school for the after school program helped out a lot. I don’t know if you have anything like that where you’re at but these are just some things that made life easier for me. The only other thing I did was work night shift and had a babysitter at the house while they sleep or paid like my sister to let them sleep over at night and I slept while they where at school. It’s a lot when you have kids especially with 12 hour shifts. 

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HappyMonkey is a ADN, RN and specializes in ER, ICU, MS/Tele, Corrections.

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Give me my 12'ves.  I like only driving 3 nights a week, out of rush hour timetable. I also like the continuity of care those 12 hours give me. I feel like I have time to complete actual nursing work ( along with 7.5 hours of charting) and still know my pt's face (but NOT what side their IV is in.. grrr).

I'd probably go nuts if I had to go back to working 5 8-hour days... like it was ever actually 8 hours!

~Monkey

 

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Lachel specializes in Geriatrics.

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I prefer 12 hour shifts also. The only thing I didn’t like is getting mandated after working one. But, I knew legally they couldn’t mandate me after working 12 hours. So, I would make they tried to mandate me!

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Lachel specializes in Geriatrics.

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Lol I’ve seen some of the craziest stuff you probably wouldn’t believe it!! Lol

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317 Posts; 1,790 Profile Views

On 10/14/2019 at 8:07 PM, MSO4foru said:

My 3 12s work great for me. Those 8 hrs sound great in theory but you have to be in the right situation for that to work. 

Exactly!  My first 8 hour job (in charge of two clinics) sounded great; I thought I'd go to the gym, do my grocery shopping etc and still have several hours to relax.  Lol.  It was frequently more than 8 hours, overtime on the weekends, being exhausted by the end of the day and trying to do things at the same time as everyone else working 8s.  I won't say I'll never do it again because I've learned that lesson but it's not something I'll enjoy!

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Absolutely no way I’d stay in acute care if I was forced to do 5-8 hr shifts instead of 3-12 hour shifts. I agree there should be an option for those who want it, however. I’d quit in a hot second if I had to work 8s again. 

Way more problematic I think is the rotating shifts. My employer requires most to work day and night shifts. Absolute hell on the mind, body and spirit. 

Edited by beekee

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