Which would you prefer, 8 or 12 hr shifts?

  1. 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!

    • Twelve hours?

      68.97% 40
    • Eight hours?

      31.03% 18
    58 Votes
  3. Visit CountrifiedRN profile page

    About CountrifiedRN

    Joined: Jan '02; Posts: 1,032; Likes: 7


  4. by   KatyRN2bee
    That is a great question. I am graduating next week (RN...........finally) and have a job lined up on a progressive care unit......they were only offering the 12 hour shifts so that is what I ended up with. I did my preceptorship on that unit and it was 8 hr shifts and i still left exhausted .....this leads me to believe that at least initially the 12 hrs will be tough......hopefully my days will be spread out a little so that I have time to recouperate
  5. by   nilepoc
    3 twelves in a row, or I will not take a job in the facility. I sometimes work more than six in a row, and I relish my eight day stretches of off time between those shifts.

    On a related note, search for the thread I started on most consecutive twelves in a row.

  6. by   fergus51
    12, definitely 12
  7. by   Sleepyeyes
    wow, you guys are gooooood!
    I just haven't the endurance for 12's; rather do 8's. Also get credit for my OT on 8's.
  8. by   Brita01
    I prefer 8s because I seem to get more done during the shift and I feel capable of working more days. The only thing that's tolerable about 12s is that I don't HAVE to work as many days. But I'm so tired after working only two back to back. As an agency nurse, I choose only to work every other day. I don't see how you guys work all those 12s in a row. It amazes me.
  9. by   hapeewendy
    12's 12's 12's
    not because you get more time to do the things you need to - we all know thats impossible in nursing
    but most importantly, it gets you more time away!
    I can handle having every other weekend off quite nicely thank you
    the eight hour workers at our place seem to be there all the time, as weird as that may sound
    I'm doing a 12 week rotation working at the desk, 8 hr days, and its KILLING MEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    not literally , just annoying as heck when ur body is wired for 12 hrs and then off for a few days
  10. by   nightingale
    I prefer 8s but work 12 usually becasue I am an agency nurse.
  11. by   fedupnurse
    12's have the benefit of more time off and stacking your shifts to get a nice stretch of days off. Our med surg people were stuck there for 12 when they did 8's because they were so grossly overworked. Most of them are happier with 12's. There are a few hospitals around me that offer whatever shift you will work 4-6-8-10 or 12 hrs. I couldn't see myself going back to 5 eights a week!
    Have you thought about prn/per diem? Are there several hospitals near you? One may be more flexible than others. Also ask what the policy is if it is non-union particularly about what happens if relief is late or calls out. I know a lot of people in non union hospitals that get stuck staying.
    Good luck!!
  12. by   kewlnurse
    I will never work 8's. Whom ever the jacka$$es were thar came up with the 40 hour 5 day week wasn't doing anybody any favors. You should not spend more time at work than at home. My job must revolve around my life, not my life revolve around my job.
  13. by   night owl
    I only wish they had 12 hr rotation at my facility. I would jump on it in a minute! It would save wear and tear on my car since I drive one hour each way and those eight day stretches... ooooh baby!!! It would be like a vacation to me. But, I can only dream for we do the five day, fourty hours a week routine and it stinks because I feel like I'm always there. I work 12-8 and I get up and go to work the same day I left work. ((sigh!)
  14. by   CEN35
    well.........i work 8's, and an occasional 12. while the 12's c/b nice....because of the extra time off and the possibility of picking up extra shifts without being there all the time! however, i know some days by the time 4-5 hours comes around i feel like i have already run my a** into the ground! on those days, i can only imagine being there an added4 hours! so put me in the undecided catagory!


  15. by   ceecel.dee
    We work both at our hospital, but I prefer the 12's (to get a stretch of days off if they block your schedule out right). After 12's, 8's feel like half days!