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12 hour shifts...3 is plenty

Nurses   (44,662 Views | 35 Replies)

joanna73 is a BSN, RN and specializes in geriatrics.

1 Article; 43,724 Profile Views; 4,767 Posts

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SolaireSolstice is a BSN, RN and specializes in Adult Oncology.

247 Posts; 5,255 Profile Views

I choose to work 3- 12s. I am a dedicated weekender, and it was my choice. I wanted those 4 days off in a row, and I wouldn't want 5-8s. I worked 5-8s while I was a unit clerk, and I LOVED it when we switched to 12s. While at first I felt like I was missing out on a social life, now I have slid into a routine that suits me and my family very well. I don't care that I only see my son for maybe an hour on the days I work. He's being cared for. And he's a teenager and doesn't want to see me anyway. But I HATE that people think because I have 4 days off in a row I have "all this free time". Well, yes, but I work a full time schedule and that's MY time, and it's not free.

In fact I will charge quite a bit for it.

I quit a second job I worked only one day a week because they seemed to not get that I wasn't at their beck and call and if my patients' cancel or they don't need me to please LET ME KNOW so I don't drag my ass into work for nothing. "But what's the big deal, you were scheduled anyway." Well, yes I was, but honestly, I already worked this week, and this is extra, not something I'm doing for fun. So I took back my time. And I'm happier for it.

Then my father gave me crap about how I "only work 3 days a week." I may let him have his head back in a few days once I'm done chewing on it.

I am very protective of my time off now. I will only schedule one day w/ appts so I have the other days to do what I wish. Then life interferes and I agree to come in and relieve a sick co-worker, or get called to jury duty (because remember, I only work weekends, so it's not like I get time off from work for that), and I hear from someone how nice it must be to have "4 days off". Yes, but I EARNED them.

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OTAS specializes in Cardiac, Neurosciences.

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Nursing is a second career for me. I graduated with my BSN last June at the age of 53. I have a partner of 22 years, but no children. He teaches four nights a week. My walk to/from work takes about 30 minutes, so I don't have much of a commute.

I currently have a temporary full-time position on a neurosciences unit here in Vancouver (BC). A normal full-time schedule on my unit (and on most units here in Vancouver) comprises two 12-hour days (0700-1900) followed by two 12-hour nights (1900-0700), with four or five days off in between.

Before working this routine, I thought it sounded crazy. Now that I've done it for awhile, though, I find it pretty manageable. I find the third day quite restorative after two 12-hour days, and usually sleep a little later. I catch up on tasks and errands, go to the gym, try to do something fun with my partner, and have a short nap before heading to work in the evening. After night shifts, I follow the excellent advice of one of my preceptors: eat a little breakfast, drink some chamomile tea, and take a melatonin tablet. I usually sleep 5 or 6 hours (about the same as a normal night's sleep) and feel pretty rested when I wake up. I usually take a 1-hour nap on my "lunch" break during the night, and find it pretty helpful.

I'm usually a little tired on my first day after four shifts, but then I was usually tired on Saturday after working five 9-10 hour days in my old advertising career. I really enjoy the string of four or five days off, especially since my partner and I can enjoy things like skiing, cycling and swimming when most of the world is at work. My constantly-changing schedule is a new challenge for us after years of a regular Monday-Friday routine, but we're adapting pretty well and learning to enjoy the benefits.

I love my work, even though Neuro can be pretty heavy (high acuity, lots of total-care patients). Most of my co-workers are younger than I, but they seem to be pretty content with this particular kind of shift work. I should add that there are some nurses who have worked on this unit for more than 20 years, and are still doing the 2 days/2nights routine.

I can see how this schedule would be very difficult for someone with children (I don't think I'd like it if I had children of my own), but many of my colleagues have kids and somehow manage to make it work.

To sum up, I'd say four 12-hour shifts is plenty do-able as long as there's a 'break' of sorts in the middle.

Edited by OTAS

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joanna73 is a BSN, RN and specializes in geriatrics.

1 Article; 4,767 Posts; 43,724 Profile Views

That's just it. I am also protective of my time off now. When I was in nursing school, during the time off I worked 6 days a week in order to avoid huge debt. Now that I'm a nurse, I don't mind helping out once in a while, and I have. However, I REFUSE to allow anyone try to guilt me to work more. I don't want to. Sure, it would mean a little more money, but, for what end? Besides, it is really no one's concern how we spend our days off.

The scheduling and flexibility is one of the things that attracted me to nursing. That's why I left my other line of work. Too much mandatory overtime.

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SolaireSolstice is a BSN, RN and specializes in Adult Oncology.

247 Posts; 5,255 Profile Views

The real issue is, people will do what they have to do in order to survive, pay the bills, buy groceries. Plenty of people work 2 jobs, leave the older children in charge of the younger and work *7* days a week, full-time on both. Because they HAVE to. If you are in a position where you can choose one job vs another based on schedule, number of days off, and how much you get to see your children, count your blessings. I know I do.

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DroogieRN has 2 years experience.

304 Posts; 10,671 Profile Views

I work 12h shifts. We don't self-schedule and so I often will have three or four in a row, one day off, and then back for another day. I just finished my fourth 12 yesterday, which actually became 15, and I am exhausted, mentally and physically. Today, I am good for absolutely nothing and tomorrow I will need to do a lot of things to get ready for another 12 on Thursday.

Nursing is a second career for me. I zealously guard my time off. I almost never pick up extra shifts, either -- and don't feel a bit bad about it. And those four days off per week? I almost never have them consecutively.

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KaitRN specializes in LTC, New to Tele/ Cardiac!.

52 Posts; 2,429 Profile Views

It's so funny that I'm reading this post- I just finished my 3rd 12 in a row, which always is really 13+ hours, and recently our hospital has been understaffing us (cutting costs? I have no idea...) so that on night shift, we end up getting 6 patients at a time, on a critical care cardiac unit. We're supposed to only have max of 5! I just woke up, and, like every other day I have off, there was a voicemail from my boss asking me to work extra tonight.. I rarely ever call back because I feel that my days off are for ME, and I need ME time!!! I feel guilty about not helping out because we have been so short lately, but I know it's not my problem- They need to staff appropriately! I need to keep myself mentally and physically healthy.. So I'm not calling them back, and this post made me feel better about that :)

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joanna73 is a BSN, RN and specializes in geriatrics.

1 Article; 4,767 Posts; 43,724 Profile Views

Hi KaitRN

Don't ever feel guilty for taking me time. You worked your shifts, and if you decide not to pick up more hours, so be it. The lack of staffing in many of these facilities could easily be solved, especially since there are thousands of unemployed nurses. Let management figure out the staffing. That's not your problem to worry about.

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DroogieRN has 2 years experience.

304 Posts; 10,671 Profile Views

It's so funny that I'm reading this post- I just finished my 3rd 12 in a row, which always is really 13+ hours, and recently our hospital has been understaffing us (cutting costs? I have no idea...) so that on night shift, we end up getting 6 patients at a time, on a critical care cardiac unit. We're supposed to only have max of 5! I just woke up, and, like every other day I have off, there was a voicemail from my boss asking me to work extra tonight.. I rarely ever call back because I feel that my days off are for ME, and I need ME time!!! I feel guilty about not helping out because we have been so short lately, but I know it's not my problem- They need to staff appropriately! I need to keep myself mentally and physically healthy.. So I'm not calling them back, and this post made me feel better about that :)

I am in exactly the same situation on the same type floor. Yesterday, as every day, we were short and I was drowning all day. Stick a fork in me; I am done. They're about to become even shorter, because I am going to quit.

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SolaireSolstice is a BSN, RN and specializes in Adult Oncology.

247 Posts; 5,255 Profile Views

I am in exactly the same situation on the same type floor. Yesterday, as every day, we were short and I was drowning all day. Stick a fork in me; I am done. They're about to become even shorter, because I am going to quit.

You have to do what you have to do. It's not healthy to be unhappy with your work, or workplace in this instance.

Now, share, what will you do? Stay home for a bit? Take some time? Or have you already got something else lined up?

I'll share to make it even. I'm taking one of my weekends off and going to visit a girlfriend for a full week. We both are leaving our husbands and children and jobs behind to fend for themselves while we sip wine and have nubile young men with exotic names massage our smelly, calloused feet. Then I'll return to servitude :p

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DroogieRN has 2 years experience.

304 Posts; 10,671 Profile Views

You have to do what you have to do. It's not healthy to be unhappy with your work, or workplace in this instance.

Now, share, what will you do? Stay home for a bit? Take some time? Or have you already got something else lined up?

I'll share to make it even. I'm taking one of my weekends off and going to visit a girlfriend for a full week. We both are leaving our husbands and children and jobs behind to fend for themselves while we sip wine and have nubile young men with exotic names massage our smelly, calloused feet. Then I'll return to servitude :p

LOL! I do so appreciate the laugh; thank you! I will hang by my fingernails to reach that magic one-year mark if at all possible (three more months) but in the meantime, I am applying for anything and everything in which I have an interest and am remotely qualified -- I started doing that today. I live on the border of two other states and have begun the process of becoming licensed in those states to widen my search. I am trying right now to decide whether the danger to my license outweighs the negative appeal that unemployment has on the resume...

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621 Posts; 5,502 Profile Views

i do 3 12's a week at my main job and pick up an 8 hr shift from time to time at my other jobs. some weeks 3 12's is more than enough work for me and other weeks i can work more, just depends.

12's don't bother me, it depends a lot on the person and the work they do, some nursing jobs are more taxing than others.

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crb613 has 7 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Med Surg/Tele/ER.

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I do 3 12s one week 4 12s the next week, and I like it that way. I know its not for everyone, but it works for me. Now if I could get off of nights, I might feel human again!

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