Mandatory 12 Hours Shifts or Flexibility? - page 2

Our unit went all 12-hour shifts a few years ago, much to the dismay of several people, but eventually all adjusted and we're supposed to be 12 hour shifts. Lately however, (now is a whole new... Read More

  1. by   emily_mom
    Originally posted by New CCU RN

    Any unit that is going to have absolutely no flexibility to work anything but 12's....seems to be putting themselves into a bad postion for problems with retainment, calls ins, and upset nurses.

    But, units that let nurses come and go and make their own schedules isn't being fair to those who work 12 hour shifts all the time. How about turnover from these tired folks who have to pull more weight because of other nurses who don't want to work them?

    I agree that 12 hour shifts are hard and not everyone can work them. However, when it is agreed upon that the facility or unit is going to switch to them, everyone has to compromise. The facility I work at only does 12's, and you understand that going in. For other employees that were there when the change occured, they had the option of leaving if they didn't like it. It sounds harsh, but our unit is very well run. We never use agency nurses or run short. We actually have less staff then when we did the 8's. Everyone likes the new system and esp likes the fact we only have to work every 3rd weekend.


  2. by   askater11

    What about the people that CAN'T work 12 hours. I've inquired and inquired about a babysitter from 4-8 A.M. but I've had no luck thus far.

    I truly feel facilities have to look at EVERYONE. There needs to be the flexibilty or else they'll be losing AWESOME nurses. (ME!!!)

    Our units getting rid of 8 hour and 4 hour nurses completely. (as we quit we (4 or 8 hour position turn into 12 hour positions only))

    As they have been getting rid of positions we've had a mixture of all types of shifts...12, 8, 4 hours. We cover ourselves well...and us contigent people are very flexible. Many times they've called me and I've come in....very, very rarely do we work short staffed.

    I'm very limited where I can work...and unfortunately VERY limited when it comes to 12 hours. It took me 4-5 denials from places because I can't work 12 hours midnights to finally get hired in the position I've received. I'm truley afraid a lot of nurses will have to limit their hours or get out of nursing.
  3. by   whipping girl in 07
    Well, my unit has flexibility, but only if you work day shift.

    We have several people who work 8 hour days, but none who work 8 hour nights. So on the days that there's one or two people scheduled an 8 hour day, night shift people get called and asked if they can pull a 16. How fair is that?

    There for awhile I was getting called every single day (and saying no 99% of the time).

    I think flexibility is fine as long as we have enough people working. But it's not really fair to expect me to work a 16 so someone else can work an 8. They should only schedule 8s if they can find someone else to cover the other 4, if the shifts are 12 hour shifts. That's just MHO.

    I agree there should be a mix of shifts, but you can't overstaff one shift and let another run short just to make everyone happy with their schedule.
  4. by   montroyal
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by emily_mom
    [B]But, units that let nurses come and go and make their own schedules isn't being fair to those who work 12 hour shifts all the time. How about turnover from these tired folks who have to pull more weight because of other nurses who don't want to work them?

    What isn't fair? As a perdiem nurse I agreed to the working conditions I would be happy to work. I assume that is the same with the full time staff. If you think you aren't being treated fair, change your schedule, your status or leave. Those nurses who work 12 hour shifts aren't pulling more weight, they are doing the job they choose. When I work, I pull my weight. I just choose to work a very limited schedule. If you choose to work full time 12 hour shifts, that's your choice. If your tired because of the work schedule , then its time to re-evaluate your priorities. Forcing people to fit their lifes priorities to you will never happen. Who should set the one true "standard" for the shifts. Anyone who thinks they are pulling more weight because they work more hours, is someone I would never want caring for me. I care more about the quality of care given while someone is working than the quantity. As long as a nurse is practicing the profession of nursing to a high standard everytime they do work, this should be the only standard of who is pulling their weight and who isn't
  5. by   SmilingBluEyes
    you are not pulling others' weight by chosing to work 12 hours -----those others are exercising their right to work a shift/shifts that work best for them. nothing wrong w/that. flexibility is key....whether i put in 4 , 8 or 12 hours, you can BET no one is pulling MY weight but ME, and that would include any nurse working 12s on a fulltime basis. don't think for one minute cause you work 12s on a regular basis, you are pulling more weight than you should.. you chose to do this. i choose NOT.
  6. by   RNforLongTime
    In my ICU, you can work 8 hr shifts or twelves, or four hr shifts if you like. I work 40 hrs/week and I work 2 twelves and two eights. I live 45 minutes away from where I work so the less times I have to drive in the better. I refuse to come in for 4 hr shifts and I refuse to come in for3 twelves in a row. I've done it before but by the time that 3rd twelve rolls around, I am a walking ZOmbie!
  7. by   hogan4736
    Originally posted by montroyal
    I am one of those nurses who only work four hour shifts. I do this because I have a full time job outside of nursing, not childcare issues. I pick my four hour shifts to help fill in a short area. The staff is always happy to see me, and appreciate the help. Most of the nurses I work with have told me they wish the could only work one four hour shift a month as I do, their are no hurt feelings. The web site of my hospital has over 100 full time RN positions listed as being open. With this many open positions, any help only goes to improve patient care, not hinder it.

    Per diem people such as myself have made a conscious decision that nursing is not our first priority. The reasons are as varied as the people. Any hospital who tries to force nurses to fit their needs instead of the hospital fitting the needs of their nurses , will eventually find themselves short of nurses. If any nurse I work with thinks this is unfair to them, I only ask they talk to me and let me know. I would be more than happy to ensure I do not fill the need on their shift. I would much rather work with people who are happy to see me.
    Bravo...I have been a manager, and have hired "4 hour a month" nurses, and have always hated mandatory minimum # of hours per month that many hospitals require to be in the pool...4 hours per month would do a lot for our (oftentimes) negative attitudes...
    wake up managers, it hardly costs anything to keep a seldom used employee, and this nurse may bail you out only once a month, but isn't that better than working short, or covering it yourself????????

    just my 2 cents!
    Last edit by hogan4736 on Dec 10, '02
  8. by   hogan4736
    Originally posted by SmilingBluEyes
    I am "one of those perdiem people who cant stand to be torn away from my kids for more than 4 hours at a time" during the week..... SO WHAT, GET OVER IT! I agree, montroyal. NURSING IS NOT THE NUMBER ONE PRIORITY IN MY LIFE: MY FAMILY IS! AND IT STAYS THAT WAY! I LOVE those 3p-7p shifts and they pad my checks nicely..... besides,

    I like being home when my son goes off to school in the morning, to ensure he eats a good breakfast and gets encouragement to face the day EACH day. I like being with my 3 year old most the time cause let's face it, they grow up too fast and I don't want to look back and wish I had been there more when they were little. I would much rather they spend the majority of their time with ME, not a daycare provider. So, in this way it works for me.

    Finally, someone from the old school...being home (w/ family) is where "it" is at, and where I love to be. I brag about working 3 days a week, and secretly laugh at the general "9-5" public, when I grocery shop on a Tuesday morning, and see everyone scrambling to go to their office, while stuck in the "rat race"
    Not to disparage anyone, but just appreciating that, when it comes to family, the 3 - 12s (or any flexible, non - traditional schedule) rule!!!

    Yea, I'm in the "rat race" but I feel that I'm in the lead!
  9. by   emily_mom
    I knew I was going to get flamed for my post, but I still stand by it (although a little further away). The original post from 3rdshift said that he works at a facility that has switched to 12 hour shifts a few years ago. So, why are people throwing in whatever shifts they want, whenever they want, without caring about the others who work their straight 12's? This is the point I was trying to make, not rip on everyone who chooses to work 4's or 8's. That was totally not the message I was trying to convey. If your institution allows you to work 8's and 4's, that's great!! But, the whole point of the original thread was how to deal with those that are not following unit policy. The people that have posted have MADE A CHOICE to work 4's or 8's and that is OK with the facility they are at. It is not always this way. It is obviously not ok where 3rdshift works, and that's why he has a problem with it. If this happened where I work, it would also be a problem.


    Hope I clarified myself.....
  10. by   GPatty
    I, personally, would love to have the different shifts to be able to cover. My hubby does leave at 4am, and I don't get home till 7a. I don't like it, but what can I do? I need my job!
    I would like to be able to change my hours to go in at 7p and get off at 3a. Wouldn't that be nice?
    Places that schedule different hours for different needs, definitely get my vote.....
  11. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I hear you Kristy......but the orig post is titled "mandatory or not?"......i say, mandate too much and it will be "not" when people vote with their feet and move to a place where they have some flexibility extended to them. but thank you for your clarification.
  12. by   NicuGal
    We tried having people work only 12's, but there are too many people that need 40/wk. If people want to work 12's, that is fine, if they want to work 8's that is fine too. Where I work, we can work pretty much anything from a 4 to a 16 if we so desire. We have 100 nurses, including parttime and perdiem and we have no problems with our schedule. I am one of the people that work 8 hours shifts....I work 4 a week. And it is because of child care....Try finding somewhere that is open from 6am to 8pm...pretty impossible. And if someone wants to be home with their kids, than that is no one's business actually. If I want to be home to lay on the couch and watch tv, that is no one's business either.

    I think that workplaces need to be flexible so that there is a higher retainment! That is one of the reasons that people leave, and therefore, leave your unit short! Should they be, not unless you have a 100 percent vote too!
  13. by   Tweety
    On our unit it was the nurses, under the direction of the manager that switched to all 12-hour shifts. But it was ultimately the staff's decision. But that was a whole crew ago, and the needs of the current staff have changed. Back then in the mid90s there was an abundance of staff, and new grads were having trouble getting in.

    The market has changed. There isn't staff, and we're using a lot of travelers and contracts.

    I agree, mandate too much, then loose the staff. Still the overwhelming majority favors 12-hour shifts.