8 or 12 hour shifts


Hello Everyone,

I am not a nurse. I am a pre-nursing student. I would just like to know do you prefer working an 8 or 12 hour shift? What are the pros/cons of working either shift? I thank you for taking time out to read and respond to my post.


Specializes in ICU.

The con of working 8s is you have to work five of them to work full time, where you only have to work three 12s. I would never survive at this job if I had to work five days per week. It's just too stressful.

loriangel14, RN

6,931 Posts

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

I love my 12s. I am here less and I have time for a second casual job.


388 Posts

I hate working five days a week. I am dead tired when I get home and I have three young kids that demand my attention. If I worked 12's I would have a life outside of work instead of taking naps during the day on my days off.


700 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg. Has 1 years experience.

12 hours for me! The benefit? Only working three days a week instead of 5. I hated 8 hour shifts 5 days a week. I felt like I lived at work. 12hrs gives me more of a chance to relax and recharge on my days off. Also easier to schedule vacations and make plans.

RNperdiem, RN

4,580 Posts

Has 14 years experience.

I have worked both. 12 hour shifts are my preference. When I worked 8's I usually had to stay late to chart. 7-3 covers the busiest time of the hospital day and there is too much work, sometimes to fit neatly in to an 8 hour day. With a 12 hr, I can push off writing progress notes until afternoon.

After work, I was tired and just wanted to go home, so I wasn't able to make much use of the time after work. With 3-11, I spent most of my time before work counting down and rationing my energy. 12 hrs are simpler- a work day or a day off. It is one or the other. The time off really feels free.

12 hours does sound like a long time, but when you stay busy and keep fit, a long shift is possible.

Specializes in Oncology, Medicine. Has 8 years experience.

12s, hands down. More time to get everything done and dine well. Prefer my full days off.

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.

I hated 12s. Days, I would leave before my kids were up and get home just before their bedtime. Nights, I had no energy for anything but sleep.

That said, I work PT so I still have plenty of days off. If I had to work FT, I would prefer 12 hr days. I would only work FT 12 hr nocs if we were starving.


105 Posts

I work 12s as a PCT and I love it. But we have a rotation... so its kind of a hybrid of 12s and one 8 hours shift and a 6 hour shift due to the altered weekend hours at the clinic I work at. Usually I work three 12s one week during the weekdays and then the next week I do two 12s and one 8 and one 6 which every other weekend off. I love my schedule, but I wouldn't mind having three 12s all the time.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.

It all comes down to personal preference. Some nurses prefer three 12-hour shifts whereas others prefer five 8-hour shifts.I now work five 8-hour days per week in a work-from-home role that does not involve patient care.

However, if I ever had to return to direct patient care, I'd definitely opt for three 12-hour shifts per week. I simply do not want to devote five entire days of face time to patients, their families, and my coworkers. Also, I enjoy more days off, and working three 12-hour shifts enables that to happen.

Specializes in Family Practice, Mental Health. Has 32 years experience.

Whatever you're doing, you're doing it for twelve and a half solid hours......or eight and a half solid hours.

You'll likely have a chance to experience both shifts during your lifetime as a nurse. Eights and twelves are frequently seen in the same hospital, and sometimes on the same floor.


24 Posts

I am a CNA working at a hospital. I've only been here a month and I absolutely positively hate 12 hour shifts. I honestly wish I would have stayed at the nursing home!