Which would you prefer, 8 or 12 hr shifts? - page 2

Sorry if this topic has been brought up before. I just want to get some fresh opinions on how nurses feel about the length of their shift, and how it affects pt care, and family life. Twelve hrs... Read More

  1. by   susanmary
    I prefer 12 hour shifts. I work "part-time" -- 32 hours -- usually two 12's and one 8. Just got off working 6 out of 7 days straight and now I'm off for 7 days. Working 12 hours shifts sometimes makes a difference regarding "catching up" with paperwork. However, I work on a med-surg floor & the admits usually start early (exactly 3 pm!) on second shift. All in all, I think the nursing care is less fragmented having 2 instead of 3 nurses care for a patient. We strive to do primary nursing -- so the patients, in theory, become more familiar/comfortable with their nurses. Sure, I get tired, but I absolutely do not think patient care is compromised with the 12 hour shifts. Ever.

    Whatever works for you. Some nurses prefer working 12's, some prefer working 8's -- it's really individual. For me, the less commuting/working time the better. Work is not my life nor do I define myself by my profession. I define myself by the kind of person I am -- and to me, being a good mom/wife & having a happy life comes first.

    You'll figure out what works best for you by experience Best of luck to you in your career and in your life.

  2. by   live4today
    I always use to prefer the 12's versus the 8's because it afforded me more time off, more pay in a shorter period of time, and greater flexibility in my life. When I return to nursing, I will again choose the 12's over the 8's, and I will again prefer the per diem hours because I absolutely hate being "owned" by someone, and working per diem (agency or hospital perdiem) makes me feel more in charge of how I spend my hours of living.
  3. by   Teshiee
    I prefer 12's I rather work long hours than being at work 5 days a week. For child care it is hard luckily my husband has his own business where his schedule is flexible. He takes his son to day care I come home and rest when I go to work he picks him up and I go to work at night. It works out very well. I wish other day care get with the program of extended hours. There are a lot of jobs that parents worked beyond the 8 hour day!
  4. by   Gomer
    12-hour and only 12-hour. I work 2 12-hour shifts at my hospital for the benefits (insurance mostly) and then I'm free to work at other local hospitals as a Per Diem ($39/hr) or In-House Registry ($43/hr). I can work as much or little as I want (or my bank account can stand). Never want 8-hour shifts again!
  5. by   RNforLongTime
    I work three 12 hour shifts a week. I get four days off in a row a lot. Last weekend I had a 4 day weekend and next weekend I have another 4 day weekend. Personally, I think that working 3 twelves in a row is too much. I have done it before and by the 3rd 12 hour shift, I was basically a walking zombie!
  6. by   mopsi
    I love 12's..It just seems that no one wants the night 12's..and the people who have senority and day 8's(the laziest ones) will not flex..these are the same ones who make sure the admissions come in on 3-11...These are all LTC scenarios..The hold facilities lord over you when you are full time staff is unreal..They claim its just making the nurses "more accountable" when they have you there 5 days a week..I think this translates into you're there to get more of other peoples jobs dumped on you...more often..I often wonder why do the laziest nastiest ones get such positions of power..I know that those days off keep me sane..and I'm better, fresher and sharper for my 12's after a break.I have a daughter and I'm a single Mom so I really enjoy spending time with her..For those of you who think it's too hard to roll for 12 hours..it's how you pace yourself..and somehow the vision of 3 or 4 days off just moves ya along..Employers today want more of you than just your skills..They will suck the life out of you if you let em...12's give nurses time to unwind and become human again..Remember..That quality were supposed to possess to deliver proper patient care???
  7. by   whipping girl in 07
    I like working 12 hr nights (12 hr days are hell, but then so are 8 hr days. ). If you fall behind, you have much more time to catch up if you are working 12 hrs. I get so much done between 7-11 that if I have to come in at 11 I feel like I'm behind.

    As for child care, I have a neighbor who watches our son if I'm working at night and my husband is out of town. She takes him to daycare in the morning when she takes her kids. If I do have to work some day shifts, she picks him up from school and keeps him till I get home. If you have a neighbor or relative who can help you out that's probably the best thing. I'm still working on convincing my mom that she needs to move down here near me! That would solve a lot of problems.

    If you're working 12 hr days, maybe you could find a high school or college student who could help out after daycare hours until one of you gets home. You might even be able to get one of the afternoon workers at your current daycare to do it. I've had several babysitters that I found in this way; one that would take Ian to school with her in the AM because I had to go to clinicals so early (two days a week); two others that would occasionally take Ian home with her (or to our house) when daycare would close and watch him till I got home. It worked out really well.

    Maybe you and your husband could work your schedules so that one of you is always at home. That's how a couple of our weekend nurses have done it, and it works well for them. When my husband is not out of town, he is home with Ian on the weekends and after I go to work. When Ian starts school next year, it will be nice to not pay daycare, as I'll be picking him up every afternoon after I get up.

    After saying all this though, if both of you are going to be gone all the time if you work 12 hr shifts, maybe it would be better if you worked 8s so that your child does not have to spend 14+ hrs a day with a stranger. If the floor you'll be working on gives you the option, go with what you feel will give you the most time with your child. Trust me, those years rush by, and you can't get them back. My son only goes to daycare 3-4 days a week when I need to sleep, and only till 3:30. It makes a big difference in attitude and discipline when my husband or I are the primary caregiver. You can certainly tell when I have been working a lot and my husband is out of town; Ian is a mess, really hard to get along with! Come to think of it, so am I!

    So do what works best for your family, and put them before your job. No one ever looked back on their life and wish they worked more.
  8. by   lisamcrn
    Here's what I've experience with working 8 and 12 hour days. I didn't get to see my children in the mornings either way. Working 8 hour days my family had a schedule for events, housework and 6 enjoyable hours together. Working 12 hour days meant that I got home around 7 after running to daycare to pick up the two little ones, my mom brought the 3 school age girls home and then everything seems to be choatic. The little ones want held and loved, the big ones has homework and/or activities that we have to run off too. They all need attention. Then there is the daily pickup your stuff and get ready for the next day routine. On a good night I have the energy to do the dishes we use.

    I think it all depends on your family. 12's aren't working well for mine. The extra days I'm home I have to "catch-up" on having a life and my obligations toward the household. My children are clingy because they think if I leave I will be gone "for a long time". I have worked 12 8's in a row (day shift) and keep things rolling and work 2 12's and am exhausted. My mind and body can't take much more.

    I do think if my children were older I would be happy with 12's. I could rest when I get home and not be in a whirlwind of activity at home and work. But I will emphasize what someone above mentioned. They are only young once....and it goes so fast. What may work well now may not when your child gets holder.

  9. by   Tiiki
    I too have struggled with the issue of 8 vs 12's. Personally I have always preferred 8's. It allows me time at the end of a day to still enjoy my family. The only time I really prefer 12's are at night, I feel an 8 isn't enough. I have am currently moving into a position that is straight 12's. I have had the flexibility to this point of doing both 8 and 12's. More time off is all I can say. I would never have done it when my children were younger, but they are now 13 and 14 so I don't feel the pull from home as much, just the personal exhaustion from my job!
  10. by   Nursemelo
    i still have a bit to go before i graduate but at the hospital in my city here in canada you only get 8 hour shifts if you are part time, full time has to work 12 hour shifts. make sense??
  11. by   cinrn68
    Having worked on a unit where we did 6 12-hour shifts and 1 8-hour shift per pay period, I personally feel that the 12-hour shift lets you get all your work done AND your charting without having to run around like a maniac to get it done before the end of your shift. Yes, it's a little more tiring to work the 12's, but it saves driving in traffic (I work in the city) and killing yourself to finish your work. The other benefit is the extra time off and if your facility allows switching a few shifts, you can end up getting a week off here and there, which is impossible when working 8-hour shifts. There are pros and cons to both shifts, I'm sure, and those who work 12's will tell you all the pros for 12's and those who work 8's will tell you all the pros for 8's. Basically, it's whatever you get used to. When I started nursing I couldn't imagine doing the 12-hours, and now I can't imagine going to an 8-hour schedule!
  12. by   clgmezzo
    I left a job that after years of begging and false promises never gave me more than 1 12 per week. I love 12's and here is why
    if i work that day is pretty much shot for me for the most part. I might as well have that only happen 3 days pe weeks
    i get home around 8 p and can still put my kids to bed and see them before night night time
    i get 4 days at home with them, and have more chances for flexible overtime if its available.
    the extra 4 hours seems like the Shortest part of the day for me, the 8 hrs is the long stretch and the 4 hours is like this little chunk stuck on at the end
    I love them and id never go back!!!
  13. by   Katnip
    I prefer 12s. I commute and have to get up before 5am. Doing that 5 days a week would make me quit my job in a heartbeat. I like having 4 days off a week to get things done.