Quote from purplemania
do the math. If we work 8 hr. shifts that means we need three rotations each 24 hours. If we do 12 hr shifts we need 2 rotations each 24 hours. Fewer staff needed. Less money for benefits for the extra staff. But not less overtime as employers still must pay you OT for more than 40 hours worked. If it is hard to find good nurses now just imagine trying to find 33% more of them!
Actually, you shouldn't need 33% more nurses for 8-hour shifts because the nurses would work 5 shifts per week instead of 3. In reality, the hospital gets more hours of work per nurse with 8 hour shifts. Plus, it's usually easier to find coverage for sick calls, etc. as people are often willing to stay an extra 4 hours (or come in 4-hours early) to cover a hole in the schedule if they are only working 8. A lot of 8-hour ****, part time people yields the best flexibility and availabity for coverage with minimal overtime.
3 shifts x 12 hours = 36 hours per week.
5 shifts x 5 hours = 40 hours per week.
However, there is time lost for the employer as there are more change-of-shift report periods with double coverage when you have 8-hour shifts.
In the long run, the financial differences aren't that great either way. In all the places I worked, the switch to 12-hour shifts was driven by the staff, not the management. Mothers wanted to save on childcare expenses by only working 3 shifts per week instead of 5 ... but still wanted full time pay and benefits.