Which would you prefer, 8 or 12 hr shifts? - page 3

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   Lucy4
    After nearly 25 years I have worked every shift and every combination imaginable. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. As a new grad my only choices were 8 hour shifts on evenings or nights. I yearned to work 12 hours and finally got a job working 12 hour weekends for full-time benefits and 40 hours pay (early 1980s). This position met my needs at the time as it allowed me to finish a BSN degree. Have worked 3/12s for years and loved the extra days off the schedule allowed. Currently am working days - 2/8s and 2/12s. After returning to work from a serious orthopedic injury I am finding the 12 hour shifts intolerable. I can make it through the first 8 hours without any problems but am wiped out after the extra 3-730PM shift. Also, I don't have the energy and stamina I had a few years ago and find it hard working consecutive 12 hour dayshift.

    I recently asked my manager to change my schedule so that I can work 5/8s and offered to work some evening shifts. She is going to get back to me but doesn't think she can fit me into the schedule as there isn't a need for 8 hour shift nurses. Only parttime nurses can have straight days, 8 hour shifts. New positions are posted for 2-12s (7A-7P) and 2/8s (3-11) or 3/12s nights. Guess new grads don't want to work much off shift anymore (who does). Anyways, I am rather disgruntled that after 25 years of nursing I am working 12 hour shifts without a choice - self-supporting so need the 40 hour per week income and benefits. Now I am venting!
  2. by   Nuru99
    Definitely prefer 12's!!!!
    Whenever I've worked a 8 shift it always felt like I was trying to squash 12hours work into 8 hours. Also I hardly ever left on time 'cause I was running around like a blue a**** fly. So I figure better to work till 7p and at least have a semblence of having finished you work than supposedly working to 4p and not leaving till six.

    At least this way I get paid for the work.

    Oh yeah and I like the time off too.
  3. by   shockem
    for me its easy..has to be 12s..can get much more done on a day off then after working 8 hours........ ( more like 10 anyway by the time u get there and back and all that)
    Quote from CountrifiedRN
    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 seems like such a long shift, especially for the fast paced (to put it nicely) type of work that is required of nurses. But it seems that almost no hospital offers 8 hr shifts anymore. It seemes to me that especially if you had to work a few shifts in a row, you'd be pretty burned out by the last day. I have been wondering how I'm going to cope with a 12 hr shift when I get out of school and have to perform nursing duties. Is a 12 hour shift better from a nursing standpoint because of the extra time to get assessments and charting done? Or do you really get "extra" time in that 12 hrs?

    Now that I have a toddler, I'm also wondering how I'm going to arrange for daycare since my husband also works 12 hour shifts and has to commute almost an hour to work, so he can't help with picking up our son from daycare, or dropping him off. The only daycare around here that has extended hours is the hospital daycare which right now has a 2 year wait list. (Can't get on the list until you're actually an employee) What do nurses do for child care?

    Which do you feel is better, 8 or 12 hour shifts? Do you feel that 12 hour shifts might compromise pt care due to fatigue, or does the shift just fly by?

    I remember what it was like working 12 hr night shifts as a CNA, and I am trying to imagine what it will be like as a nurse. I get exhausted just thinking about it!
  4. by   movealong
    Personally, I like 4 10 hour shifts a week. 12 hour shifts are too long, more so if it's a bad shift, no breaks, multiple codes..........and I'm not young anymore. I worked 12 hour night shifts, which were killing me. I never got off on time, so forget the 12 hours, add a nonpaid 30 minute lunch and I was easily doing a 13 hour shift.

    5 8 hour shifts made it seem like I worked all the time. It was a grind.

    I find 10 hours perfect.... not too long, one extra day off a week. If i want to work overtime, I can still have 2 days off weekly.

    Right now I work 4 9 hour shifts weekly and then am oncall for 4 hours weekly.
    I like my 9 hour shifts, since I work from home, a 9 hour shift equals the old 8 hour shifts plus the drive I used to do back and forth. I am loving it. I used to drive 25 mils each way to work. Now I am not racking up the miles on my car and use very little gas anymore.
    Last edit by movealong on Apr 6, '04
  5. by   VivaLasViejas
    I work 4 8's per week.......it's the ONLY way to go for me. I did 12-hour nights back when I first started out, and after six months I didn't know if I was coming or going! It took me the first 2 days of my four off just to recuperate from doing three consecutive 12's, and had no life at all on the days I worked. But then, I was already 40, and to make matters worse I was also about 50 pounds heavier than I am now. I'd be OK until about 5 or even 6 AM, which is always when anything bad that's going to happen during a given shift hits the fan, and all the call lights go off because everyone's got to go to the bathroom at the same time! By the time I got out of there---usually not until 8:30 or 9 AM---I was so exhausted, and my back & my feet hurt so bad that I almost didn't care what happened to the patients........not a good attitude to have, obviously.

    Yes, it sucks to work 3 in a row, have only one day off, and then come back for three more in a row before getting a 4-day weekend (Friday through Monday every other week). But I love the 3-11 shift, and I'll stick with my schedule because there's no way I'm gonna do 12's unless it's an occasional shift in ICU or Maternity, where the pace is soooooo much calmer and everything is so much closer to the nurses' station.

    Which reminds me of why I hate day shift, even on an 8-hour basis. Not only does the 7-3 shift start about 3 hours before I'm alert and competent, it's too crazy: there are too many procedures, too many meals to serve, too many doctors, families and administrators, and WAY too little money. I recently did a couple of 11AM-7PM stints at the request of my nurse-manager (although I still got paid my regular evening-shift pay differential ) and it reinforced my sense of why I don't "do" days: I ran twice as hard as I normally do, did 6 admits in as many hours, prepped two patients for surgery, and dealt with two infusion patients who were getting blood. And I was the PRN nurse! Those on teams had it even worse: some had as many as 7 patients with an aide and 5 without, post-ops kept coming up and needing Q 30 min. vitals, baths and meals had to be done, frail patients hand-fed, etc. No thanks---I'll stick with evenings!
  6. by   canoehead
    I added a poll to this thread. Get your vote in now!
  7. by   KailuaNurse
    Personally I like 8 hour shifts, if I didn't have to work 5 days in a row to make it full time. I have worked a mix of 8's and 12's (four 12's and 3 8's in a pay period plus one day of call) on both day and night shifts. Working days was okay with this schedule, but working nights was unbearable! I still felt like I was always at work. Right now I am a day/night rotator working 12's (two months on each shift). I like this schedule better because I have more days off and I don't feel like I am constantly living at the hospital. Now only if I can switch over to straight days! That would be heaven!
  8. by   NeuroICURN
    Personally, I work four 12hr shifts per week. I'm actually only required to do two 8s and two 12s per week, but my theory is this...If I'm there for 8, I may as well stay for 12! It's only 4 more hours.

    Also, factoring into this is the fact that the hospital I work at is 45 miles from my home. (Its not that long of a drive though because it's all highway)

    AND...when you work 12s, you're more likely to get your same assignment back. Which as any ICU nurse can tell you, that's usually a good thing.

    Oh and did I mention that our OT rate is fabulous at our hospital??? Gotta love that 8 hours OT every week!!!

    Well, that's my humble opinion!
  9. by   PedsNurse1981
    More time off!!! Need I say more?

    True, it's very difficult at the beginning, but you get used to it.
  10. by   talaxandra
    I hate the idea of a twelve-hour shift, but that might just because I've never come across one - we work eights by day (with a two hour overlap from 1300 - 1530) and ten at night, which I like for all the reasons all the pro-twelve poster have. Another two hours, though, and you'd have to scrape me off the floor!
    Last edit by talaxandra on Apr 6, '04
  11. by   webbiedebbie
    I'm mixed on both...I love the extra time off with 12's, but working nights and sleeping all day makes it feel like I'm missing a day. I also miss making 40 hours of pay for the week. That means I am making about 4,000 less a year. BUT I hate working 5 nights a week even though I like the shorter shift.
  12. by   LydiaGreen
    I'm graduating shortly and am currently more than halfway through my 600 hour preceptorship. We started out in clinicals with 8's, last semester we did 10's. I am SO happy that doing preceptorship, I am doing 12's. 12's means more days off for papers, studying for boards, and seeing my husband and children. There are many students preceptoring in the same hospital and all of us were warned about how terrible 12 hour night shifts were, the nurses were almost giddy expecting to find us sleeping standing up or babbling incoherently. I can honestly say, I LOVE 12 hour night shifts. Very much preferred over 12 hour days - there is still a lot of work on night-shifts. I have been "working" mostly med-surg, but my preceptor also does OB and CCU and I have spent time in both areas. All three of those areas are busy most nights.

    My kids aren't big on day shifts either - I kiss them goodbye in the morning, and get home just in time to kiss them goodnight (we work 0730-1930 or 1930-0730). On nights, I get up at 1400 and pick them up at 1500 and they have a few hours with me before I have to go in to work. So, they prefer nights too.

    What I like about 12's is that yes, there are weeks where you work 4 or even 5 shifts, but then you can be off for six days and work only 2 shifts and then be off for three or four more days. There are busy, hectic weeks, and there are wonderfully slow weeks. It gives you time to HAVE a life. I'm already done my spring yard work! Going to school five days a week last semester, I wasn't done my spring yard work until after I got out of school in May.

    Definitely prefer the 12's. I do know what one of the previous posters said about 4 - 10's though. My husband works 4 - 10's and has a three day weekend every weekend... he loves it and so do I and the kids.

    Working in the "real world" is nothing like clinicals - it's much easier. Not only do you have more knowledge and more skill, the nurses are great and support you in the same way that they support each other. I love working with the ladies at the hospital I am doing my preceptorship in and I have an interview for a part-time/casual position at this hospital in a week and a half. I CAN'T WAIT. I'm told I will be VERY popular on the call-in list because I prefer 12-hour nights, and I prefer weekend shifts (when my husband is home with the kids).

    Good luck and hopefully, you can easily find the shifts and the schedule that works for you and your family. It is a juggling act and I know how the young ones can react. I went back to school when my youngest was starting JK and she went from being very independent to being very clingy. If you have wonderful childcare, do whatever you have to to keep it. My sitter is the GREATEST lady in the world. The sitters I have had in the past made sure that the kids were in one piece at the end of the day, but my sitter now does amazing things with my children like sliding, nature hikes, ice fishing, swimming, baking, crafts. It is so wonderful to know that they are not only SAFE, but LOVED when they are with their babysitter.
  13. by   spiritus
    [QUOTE=CountrifiedRN]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.

    I WAS in a former life a paramedic, and I DID twelves...they wrecked my homelife, and my health....I developed ME as a result of the messes that
    the screw ups for shifts caused...I will NOT work twelve hour shifts...I can be JUST as effective as a nurse if I work EIGHT. It does SO effect patient care, and anyone who has opposing views is more than welcome to say so, at least to me. Ain't here to judge, only to learn.
    Just cause some of those out there prefer to work three days in a row(Or is that out the window with STAFFING) does it mean that I can work that long and NOT make a mistake in something....like for instance, oh, say, DRUG errors??? I **MIGHT** do a twelve if there is good reason, like there might
    be a delay in handing over, or in times of emergency, but other than that,
    I will NOT risk my life or the patient's by being supernutnurse.

    Or lose my temper with some poor person who is probably as tired, grouchy,
    perimenstrual, and hungry/ thirsty as I am? No THANKS...I'd rather be poor,
    and work EIGHTS...Anyway, that is my two pence!!!
    Spiritus (Who thinks that twelves are just another way to say,"Pass the Prozac!")And did you notice I'm a bit,er,:angryfire PASSIUONATE about this??
    Last edit by spiritus on Apr 6, '04 : Reason: misspellings!!