Forced to do 12 hr shifts

  1. I've been working 35 yrs on a med- surg unit on the 3-11:30 shift in a world where 12 hr shifts are becoming the norm. I was told by my manager today that the few remaining 8 hr employees will have to change to 12 hr shifts..... I knew it was coming. A part of me is excited to work one less day a week but I have a history of anxiety related insomnia when I know I have to get up early and function. Working evenings, I can rely on going back to sleep in the morning to make up for a nite of broken sleep. I've never been a morning person and am really nervous about getting a good nights rest to function at 7am, not to mention working for 4 more hours than I'm used to. I have roughly 6 more yrs to retirement and make a good salary, enjoy my work so I hate to change jobs. I have always been very organized and get out of work on time, but I'm really apprehensive about turning my life's schedule around. Any suggestions for successfully making such a transition?
    Last edit by Brian S. on Mar 1
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    About pensivern

    Joined: Nov '10; Posts: 10; Likes: 9
    from CT , US

    32 Comments

  3. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from pensivern
    I've been working 35 yrs on a med- surg unit on the 3-11:30 shift in a world where 12 hr shifts are becoming the norm. I was told by my manager today that the few remaining 8 hr employees will have to change to 12 hr shifts..... I knew it was coming. A part of me is excited to work one less day a week but I have a history of anxiety related insomnia when I know I have to get up early and function. Working evenings, I can rely on going back to sleep in the morning to make up for a nite of broken sleep. I've never been a morning person and am really nervous about getting a good nights rest to function at 7am, not to mention working for 4 more hours than I'm used to. I have roughly 6 more yrs to retirement and make a good salary, enjoy my work so I hate to change jobs. I have always been very organized and get out of work on time, but I'm really apprehensive about turning my life's schedule around. Any suggestions for successfully making such a transition?
    The key to successfully transitioning is to embrace it. You've decided to keep the job, so focus on the parts of the transition that benefit you.

    It could be that 12 hour night shifts would be easier for you than 12 hour day shifts. They're usually more lucrative as well.

    Talk to your PCP about your sleep. Maybe Ambien or Ativan will aid your sleep.

    I love my 12s -- hopefully you'll learn to love them too.
  4. by   NurseCard
    I agree, sounds like 7pm-7am would work better for you!
    I too love 12 hour shifts and never want to go back to 5 8's a week!
  5. by   pensivern
    Ruby Vee, I already have ambien and a benzo script- in very limited quantities-so I'll have to ration those for those nights before work. I did have the option of doing nights, but the thought of working while the worlds asleep turns me off and I think would screw me up even more-I wish I was more adaptable as there's a lot more down time on the night shift and yes, definitely more lucrative.
    Last edit by pensivern on Feb 28 : Reason: Typo
  6. by   missmollie
    Quote from pensivern
    Ruby Vee, I already have ambien and a benzo script- in very limited quantities-so I'll have to ration those for those nights before work. I did have the option of doing nights, but the thought of working while the worlds asleep turns me off and I think would screw me up even more-I wish I was more adaptable as there's a lot more down time on the night shift and yes, definitely more lucrative.
    Rather than rationing them out, see if you can switch to something like trazodone. You'll get the amount you need, and it works great with no "hangover" when you wake up. Talk to your PCP, and see what they recommend!

    3 days a week, four days off. Keep telling yourself that. Welcome to 12's!
  7. by   pensivern
    Because of my history with sleep anxiety, I've tried trazedone- it just doesn't work for me unfortunately. It put me in a half asleep/ half awake state all night and I felt like a groggy zombie the entire next day. I should say,because I'm part time, it'll only be 2 days a week..... So that's a huge plus. I know most nurses love their 12's, but I only know 1 nurse over 50 yrs old who likes them- the rest wish they could still do 8's.
  8. by   JBudd
    Quote from pensivern
    I know most nurses love their 12's, but I only know 1 nurse over 50 yrs old who likes them- the rest wish they could still do 8's.
    Now you know 3 I'm 58, and love doing only 2 12's a week. Mine are night shift, far fewer suits, lot of team work, more money.
  9. by   pensivern
    Ok, come to think of it, there are several nurses over 50 who seem to like their 12's, but the vast majority of of them work nights. The major complaints are from the day crew
  10. by   Libby1987
    I've had that anxiety related insomnia, it is horrible. But with working 2 days a week and gaining one day back, try to look at that extra day as a safety net for catching up. And start off by taking great care of yourself on your regular days off. Go well rested and nourished into these potentially sleepless nights and tell your insomnia to GFYS. "It's okay insomnia, take your best shot, I'm prepared to rest here awake all night in my warm comfortable space."

    You'll make it through your 12 hr shift without sleep if you go into it with some reserve even if it's just rest versus sleep the night before. In my experience, the best thing for anxiety induced is to live through it and win in spite of it, don't be afraid of it, it won't stop you.
  11. by   MrNurse(x2)
    You may want to consider subacute rehab or LTC. Eight hour shifts are the norm there, and work load is different than acute care. Made the change after 30 years and I doubt I will ever go back.
  12. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from pensivern
    Because of my history with sleep anxiety, I've tried trazedone- it just doesn't work for me unfortunately. It put me in a half asleep/ half awake state all night and I felt like a groggy zombie the entire next day. I should say,because I'm part time, it'll only be 2 days a week..... So that's a huge plus. I know most nurses love their 12's, but I only know 1 nurse over 50 yrs old who likes them- the rest wish they could still do 8's.
    I'm in my 60s and I love them. So do my similarly aged friends.
  13. by   pensivern
    Quote from Libby1987
    I've had that anxiety related insomnia, it is horrible. But with working 2 days a week and gaining one day back, try to look at that extra day as a safety net for catching up. And start off by taking great care of yourself on your regular days off. Go well rested and nourished into these potentially sleepless nights and tell your insomnia to GFYS. "It's okay insomnia, take your best shot, I'm prepared to rest here awake all night in my warm comfortable space."

    You'll make it through your 12 hr shift without sleep if you go into it with some reserve even if it's just rest versus sleep the night before. In my experience, the best thing for anxiety induced is to live through it and win in spite of it, don't be afraid of it, it won't stop you.
    Thank you Libby!! That's an awesome response- it's evident you lived through this successfully. My dad passed last month and I decided then it was time to focus on my health- Since then I'm excerising and doing strength training everyday before work and I can already feel a difference in my energy level. Your comments make so much sense and give me hope!
  14. by   pensivern
    Do you workdays or nights Ruby?

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