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8 or 12 hour shifts

Nurses   (32,058 Views 73 Comments)
by LPNTOBE2017 LPNTOBE2017 (Member)

2,775 Visitors; 92 Posts

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Working 8 hours 5 days a week gives the potential for working 10 days in a row if you need the bookend weekends off. (Having worked 11-7 for 20 years.) Note the word 'potential'. Usually one would work between 3-7 shifts consecutively, since hospitals function 24/7/365. Working 12 hour night shifts 7a-7p means you actually lose 4 or more days per week to work, what with a nap the first day of work and sleeping several hours after the last day and feeling wiped out the remainder of the day. Not to account for splitting of your work shifts tying up even more days. However, it does allow for a lot of free time on off nights for house cleaning, studies and the like. Me- I work 2 - 12 hour shifts per week, the best of all worlds.

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OrganizedChaos has 10 years experience and works as a LVN.

7 Likes; 1 Follower; 63,819 Visitors; 6,876 Posts

I'm working 3:30-11:30, M-F & I love it. I see my son in the morning & can do whatever I want before work. I've worked 12s & you have no life.

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2,775 Visitors; 92 Posts

I would like to say thanks for all the replies that I have received. I am in my early-forties and I am presently taking my pre-requisites for entry into either a BSN or ADN program for fall 2017. I am not sure what degree I am going for. But I am just wondering will I be able to physically handle working a 12 hour shift. I have a boyfriend ,but I have no children. I do like to spend time with my friends, family and go shopping ect. I would have to say that working a 3x12 hour shift seems pretty good if I could get 4 days off. I know that I am getting ahead of myself but I was just interested in the topic.

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307 Visitors; 4 Posts

HI I HAVE WORKED 16 12 and 8 hour shifts. I WOULD RATHER TO 16 and get my hours out the way.I work 5 8hour shifts. I LOOK FORWARD TO THE WEEKENDS OFF.

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345 Visitors; 2 Posts

For acute care, I like 12 hour shifts. I have been doing 6 on, 8 off for the last couple of years on a med-surg floor. I was really liking it for several reasons, but our supervisor found out I was doing it and informed me it was against hospital policy, even though I assured her I was being safe. I liked the continuity of care and so did my patients. There were usually 2-3 patients I would have for all 6 days. Charting was easier, changes in condition were easier to identify , meds were practically memorized and shift reports were brief. The other nurses on my floor would say I was nuts for doing it, but honestly, I was not any more tired on day 6 as I was on day one....and definitely more alert than any shift I pulled when I was working nights.

I think staffing for acuity is more important that the shift lengths or amount of consecutive shifts worked in a row. I see a fair amount of studies about 8 vs 12 hour shifts or the dangers too many 12 hours shifts in a row, but not so much research about the correlation of patient acuity levels and nurse fatigue / burnout. I worked ortho/neuro at my last job, with typically 6 patients and CNA shortages. 6 patients who are morbidly obese, postop, in a lot of pain, with severe mobility issues often requiring CPMs in bed and braces out of bed , along with confused patients constantly trying to climb over the bed rails and screaming out all day, made for MUCH harder shifts compared to 5 A&O walkie talkie patients.

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bgxyrnf has 10 years experience.

6 Likes; 10,640 Visitors; 1,208 Posts

Working 8 hours 5 days a week gives the potential for working 10 days in a row if you need the bookend weekends off. (Having worked 11-7 for 20 years.) Note the word 'potential'. Usually one would work between 3-7 shifts consecutively, since hospitals function 24/7/365. Working 12 hour night shifts 7a-7p means you actually lose 4 or more days per week to work, what with a nap the first day of work and sleeping several hours after the last day and feeling wiped out the remainder of the day. Not to account for splitting of your work shifts tying up even more days. However, it does allow for a lot of free time on off nights for house cleaning, studies and the like. Me- I work 2 - 12 hour shifts per week, the best of all worlds.
This touches on a good point: If you're working the NOC shift (19-07 or 23-07) then the twelves can be rough because they chew up the following day and permit little discretionary time in the days between the work shifts.

I find the 23-07 much more accommodating to the live-in-the-day/work-in-the-night life than the 19-07 shift. This is, in part, because I can get through an 8-hr shift on 4-5 hrs of sleep much more easily than I can a 12-hr shift and also because there's more latitude to schedule my sleep time.

I am decidedly mixed about which I prefer. In my case my feelings are irrelevant because I have no other options than the 8's.

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LadyFree28 has 10+ years experience and works as a Clinical Nurse.

9 Likes; 74,931 Visitors; 8,427 Posts

I used to work 2 12s and 2 8s, then switched to three 12s.

Most of the time I found myself working 4 12s because since I was there and staffing was an issue, it was a great time to add overtime; although some days when there was an 8-hour shift, you were there a shorter time, and some days getting out earlier can be sweet relief.

Now that I am on 3 12s, I have more days off and my schedule is more flexible...that extra day matters.

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Whitesranch has 20 years experience.

3 Likes; 1,339 Visitors; 36 Posts

Get your bsn...a lot of hospitals want that these days!

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5 Likes; 8,668 Visitors; 410 Posts

If you have children and you want to see them, or are older, 8 hour shifts are the way to go, depending on where you work. When I worked in the hospital, I was scheduled for 5 8-hour shifts, but often was asked to stay over. I had an hour drive each way, so a 12-hour shift ended up being 14 1/2 hours. No time for a life that way! sleep and shower and back in! If there was a way to do it, I would love to work 4-10 hour shifts - the best of both worlds!

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Luna Nightingale has 9 years experience and works as a Night shift charge nurse working on neurological/o.

858 Visitors; 9 Posts

As a nurse, I have only worked 12 hr nocs , and I would never change it to go to days (although I have filled in and helped on days). We don't have a lot of doctors, PT, family, etc. to trip over, and teamwork is great on my unit. And no, lots of patients don't sleep at night (especially with new postops, new admits, etc.)... so we are consistently busy.

In my civilian life (prior to being a nurse), I worked in law offices for 17 years with the standard 5 day per week schedule. I would never go back to days, 8 hour shifts, and personally prefer my 12 hour shifts. I work a 3 on, 2 off, 3 on, 6 off night shift schedule. So every other weekend I have Friday am through Thursday evening off. I am in work mode for those days, and then have a nice stretch off to do what I want. Currently buying a house, so I will have lots of fun projects for my six days off.... :)

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citylights89 works as a Operating Room.

11,822 Visitors; 315 Posts

I work 10s. It's right in the middle for me.

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misstrinad has 1+ years experience and works as a RN.

1,727 Visitors; 84 Posts

I have worked in LTC doing 8s for 7yrs, we don't do 12s here. I like doing 8s because my entire day isn't shot, I can still run an errand after work and get home when my daughter does and cook dinner and have time to do things in the evening. I also only have .6 bid so it's easy for me to pick up OT. I do about 2 double shifts (16 hrs) a pay period and my OT pay starts as soon as I've been on the clock for 8 hrs. So if I need to stay late to chart or meet with the supervisor I get paid OT wages. If I worked this .6 as 12 HR shifts I would have to pick another 12 HR straight time shift to hit 80 hrs for the pay period, and then pick up more to get any OT pay. I'd rather do 2 16 hrs shifts and 4 8s and get the OT pay. Having a low bid also makes it easier to get time off for all the camping I do in the summer.

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