How did nursing ever "buy into" 12-hr shifts???

  1. My unit has lost four nurses to other non-hospital jobs, so the nurses can be home in the evening with their young children.

    How did we ever get to 12 hour shifts?
    How do we get OUT of them???

    I only see them benifiting the hospitals or young nurses w/o families who enjoy the extra days off.

    12 hrs nearly kill off us 'over forty' nurses, in sheer physical exhaustion
    (my first day off is spent w/ feet up and naps, recouperatiing...)
    12 hrs means gone before children go to school and gone when they come home and go to bed.

    12 hr shifts leave so many of us so tired and 'burned out' that it is difficult to care about the Profession of Nursing, like participation in our nursing organizations, getting quality CEUs, etc.

    QUESTION: are 12 hr shifts helping or hurting the nursing profession?

    Last edit by HazeK on Aug 17, '02
  2. Poll: Do 12 shifts help or hurt Nursing, as a profession or as individuals?

    • Helps nursing profession, and is good for individuals

      31.48% 51
    • Helps nursing profession but difficult for individuals

      16.05% 26
    • Hurts nursing as a profession but is good for individuals.

      6.17% 10
    • Hurts nursing as a profession and is not good for individual nursing

      22.84% 37
    • 12 shifts have no effect either way on the professionalism of Nursing

      20.99% 34
    • who cares? it's just a job!

      2.47% 4
    162 Votes
  3. Visit HazeK profile page

    About HazeK

    Joined: Aug '00; Posts: 425; Likes: 13
    L&D RN


  4. by   NancyRN
    No other profession expects 12 hour days on a regular basis. Compare our physically demanding job to office workers. They sit at a desk, get regular lunch hours, and hardly ever put in a long day.

    Every error I've made has been after 10 hours on the job. I don't feel sharp mentally or physically after 8 hours.
  5. by   ERNurse752
    It can be good for some, and bad for some...
    For me it was good. I'm single, no kids. I got 4 days off per week which was nice, although I admit, the first day off I was pretty worthless.
    I'm doing 8's now, and while it's nice to know I won't be stuck there for the next 12 hours, I don't like being there more days a week.
    When my mom was doing 12's, it was rough b/c she was dead-tired when she got home, and still had to help my brothers with home, etc etc etc...
    Bottome line, I think it's good for some, but it shouldn't be the only or main option for those it just doesn't work out for.
    A children's hospital near me mandated 12's a year or two ago - guess how much staff they lost? Not sure of exact numbers, but now another hospital in the city has a good-sized pediatric hospital with all their old staff. hehehe...
  6. by   micro
    twelve hours shifts.......

    the 0700 to 1900 still doesn't look bad to me......
    but I am older now, you see........
    the 1900 to that is a killer time for me...........

    so now, what do I five days a week eight hour shifts.........

    i miss the days off of the twelves.........

    oh, that lottery ticket , where is it???????????????
  7. by   Enabled
    I think hospitals proposed it so that in some ways nurses would only be working 36 hours a week thus cutting the actual wages but maintaining the poor benefits we have. Some facilities have a schedule such as Thurs, Friday 8 hrs, Sat and Sunday 12, Mon=Wed 8 with the following week off It still comes out the same no. That also is a way that managed care has increased the hours so that not as many nurses would be needed therefor a savings to the facility but a curse to the staff.
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    i dunno it sure works for me. I LIKE working one or two 12's a week and being off the rest of the time w/my family. And there are a LOT of professions that work 12s or more. Military for example and no we did NOT get premium pay to do it; if the job had to be done or game to be played, you played til done, even if it was 18 hours. SO coming from that background, I don't mind the 12 hour nights here and there.
  9. by   Stargazer
    Guess it depends on the individual. When I worked at the bedside, I loved 12-hour shifts. I felt it was easier to plan care and pace myself over 12 hours as opposed to 8. I loved only working 3 days a week. And as someone with a "desk" job now, I would sell my soul for the opportunity to do 12-hour days at my current job.

    My former boss actually suggested 4 - 10 hour workdays a week to her boss, who is a corporate 8 - 5'er who wasn't impressed with her arguments about efficiency and flexibility and increased productivity.

    I do understand the physical demands--I coudn't do more than 3 12-hour days in a row without getting very, very cranky. I think units work best when individual nurses can choose between what suits their needs better: 8 or 12-hour shifts. But I certainly don't think we ought to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
  10. by   Glad2behere
    I luv em. Wouldn't have it any other way.
    Those days off are great for pursuing more skills and education, allows one to become involved in a hobby, and moonlight on the side. I really like the 7 days on and 7 days off or the 14 on 14 off.
    If you work 8, that day is done anyway...only difference to me is if I am lucky enough to eat pm and where, and I really don't need the caloric intake anyway.
  11. by   night owl
    It may be helping the hospital, but I would think it would be killing the "over fourty" crowd. I work 8 hours. Sometimes I look at the clock at the end of 8 and say, If I were working 12's, I'd have 4 more to go! They'd have to bring me to my car on a stretcher!! Right now after 8 hours, they practically have to bring me to my car in a w/c. I'm 47 y/o, Not 21. After bangin the linoleum for how many years now? 26-27, these legs are really starting to feel it all. Keep the 12's...20 years ago they would have sounded great. I sure am not able to start them now.
  12. by   Glad2behere
    I forgot to add that I'm 48, I can do the marathon....but I like the all the time off. It's like having two lives at once....I luv em.
  13. by   HazeK
    "I certainly don't think we ought to throw the baby out with the bathwater."

    probably true!

  14. by   dawngloves
    I agree with NancyRN. Cops don't even work twelves!
  15. by   mark_LD_RN
    i love twelves ,even worked 16's once. it gives me so much more time off to do things its like a vacation everyweek!