12 hour shifts

World International


Is there anyone out there working 12 hour shifts? Do you think they are an advantage? How does your roster unfold? Do you have more time at home or are you too tired to care? We are going to trial them in the operating theatres - any theatre nurses doing them? Cheers

gwenith, BSN, RN

3,755 Posts

Specializes in ICU.

We do ten hour shifts and think ourselves adventurous but this is in QLD and you know how backward we are up here:chuckle

Probably if you post on the main board you will get a good response in the morning - all our American colleagues are asleep at the moment

There have been quite a few threads discussing 12 hour shifts - try the search option you should be able to dig them up.


160 Posts

I LOVE 12 hour shifts! But, in my nursing career, I have only done 12 hours. A couple of assignments I would do 2-12's and 2-8's. I HATED the fact that I was working 4 days a week. Though the 8 hours just seemed to fly by.

I seem to have a lot more time for me, working 12's. And since I am now traveling, it gives me more time to do the touristy thing.

For a long time, I had a hard time doing 3 in a row. On that 3rd day, I was really tired. But, for some reason, I can do many in a row. That first day after many in a row, though, I am very tired.

I work nights, always have, and not working them in a row I think is harder.

12's are the BEST! In fact, I am on day 4 of a 7 day stretch off!!:roll


64 Posts

Greetings from California, where I just finished a 12 hour shift.

Advantages: you have more days off, and can easily arrange little mini-holidays or have long, long weekends. It is less confusing for the patients to change nurses only 2 times a day, and if they're really lucky they may only have 4 or 5 nurses total during their stay.

Disadvantages: if you work a busy floor, these shifts are grueling hard labor. And if you're not busy, then 12 hours *drags* by...

You really *must* have at least 2 days off in a row, because it will take you an entire day off to rest up enough to enjoy yourself. On days you're working, that's pretty much all you do!

Worked a combination of 6hr and 12hr shifts for over a year. Great once you got used to it. This is approximately how it worked:

Week 'A'

Monday 12noon to 18.00hrs

Tuesday 06.00hrs to 18.00hrs

Wednesday 06.00hrs to 12noon

Thursday Off

Friday 12noon to 18.00hrs

Saturday 06.00hrs to 18.00hrs

Sunday 06.00hrs to 18.00hrs

Week 'B'

Monday 06.00hrs to 12noon

Tuesday Off

Wednesday 12noon to 18.00hrs

Thursday 06.00hrs to 18.00hrs

Friday 06.00hrs to 12noon

Saturday and Sunday Off.

Week 'C'

Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday 18.00hrs to 06.00hrs

Thursday to Sunday Off

Week 'D'

Monday to Wednesday Off

Thursday to Sunday 18.00hrs to 06.00hrs

Week 'E'

Monday to Thursday 18.00hrs to 06.00hrs

Friday to Sunday 18.00hrs to 06.00hrs

After a bit of a weird start (not used to this sort of timetable) with the only two weekly shifts - the rest fell into place and we all benefitted.

Great having the alternate weekends off.

Keep a positive mind, good food, regular sleep and you will find that you can work well and not get burnt out.

Still going strong and over 60!


146 Posts

More than 3/4 of our staff work 12 hours because it's pretty tough to work more days, and also try to help out by picking up extra. Working 12 hours allows for more of a home life by having more days off. On days you work you sure eat stramge hours if you want to eat meals with your spouse, and kids should have eaten already,

Works great for full time night people so that child care arrangements aren't as tough.


27 Posts


1. More dayoff

2. long break between working days

3. Earn the same (or even more money), although you work less day, plus you get more nightduty allowances...as you get more nightdutiesp[


1. It can be very exhausted during day if you have a very sick patients/respiratory weaning patients/HDU patients (i'm a ICU nurse btw), it can take a day to recover...

2. You will have MORE nightduty.. up to 50/50 ratio ... it can stuff up your whole body

3. day and night duties mixed togather in one week, like 2 days and 1 nights, or 2 nights and 1 day, and you may not have breaks between night and day duties... it completely stuff you body up...

Some places allows you to block the night duties togather, but it make you feel that you are on night duties forever, eg. on night duties for a month...

Finally, the ANF does not allow to allocate more than 4 12 hr shift in a roll


135 Posts

More often than not I am completely pooped after 8 hours. Can't imagine doing 12. I can imagine you'd definately need your breaks, I'd hate to think what my brain would be doing if I wasn't getting a chance for a proper meal break. . scary...


10 Posts

thanks for your replies.


28 Posts

Specializes in ICU, PICU, Orthopaedics, Spinal.

The PICU I work in has a choice of 8 or 12 hour shifts. I gave the 12 hour shifts a try for a few months last year, but gave them up for a couple of reasons:

1. I was SO exhausted on my days off, that extra 4 hours makes a huge difference, leaving home at 6:15 and not getting home until 20:00 - insane

2. Its a VERY long day if you have a boring patient

3. I couldn't see the point of having all these extra days off when everyone else I know was at work anyhow, so I was just sitting around doing nothing.

I'm very glad that I went back to 8 hour shifts - I really missed my late shifts too - not being a morning person AT ALL

hope that helps



433 Posts

we do 14 hr shifts 3x a week....very tiring and look forward to my days off. we do 10 and half hours when on nights 4 nights a week


208 Posts

I did my first 14 hour shift yesterday. It wasn't too bad. I would definately do it again, but am going to "Wean myself" into them. I work weekends on our roster on our ward, usually an 8 hour shift (7am till 330pm). Now, I can stay on till 930pm and after 330pm, I get paid by the agency so it's good money. I am going to try and do that more often as I prefer days off during the week.

The worst part was a sore foot, it's got a suspected stress fracture since june. It was sooooo painful last night after 12 hours. Tomorrow, I am going to have the way overdue xray so I can get it fixed so I can work more doubles/ 14 hour shifts. Nothing like money to spur me on. :rolleyes:

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