How many miles does an average RN walk per shift?

Nurses New Nurse


I was thinking about how many miles per shift an RN would walk if they were in med-surg, ICU, etc. I recently shadowed a physical therapist as I was thinking about PT school. I made the mistake of wearing shoes that were not comfortable for extended periods like that. Believe me, I will never do that again. When I got home that day, I was in so much pain it was crazy. Not trying to sound like a patsy but my knees HURT. I've never scoffed at the physical demands of health care jobs but until you shadow for a day, you don't know how hard it is. Combine that with the physical requirements to move patients, etc. and I see why RN's burn out. So along those lines of reasoning, I wondered if anyone knew how much one walked during an average shift.

I was talking with a nurse who wore a pedometer and she had 12,000 steps for a 12 hour shift. I think that is more than 3 miles but I am unsure of the step and mile equivalencies.

I wear a pedometer regularly. On a good shift it's about 3-4 miles, on a bad shift i've done as many as 7! :eek: I sure other nurses/healthcare professionals can relate! :nurse:

Specializes in Home Care.

I worked a 12 hour shift yesterday, I was so busy that out of that 12 hours I figure I sat for a total of 1 hour. I spend most of the day standing or walking; sometimes I have to run to catch a resident going out the door. I really should wear a pedometer one of these days.

I wore a pedometer for one clinical day (8a to 3p) and had close to 10,000 steps. Now that I'm doing 7a til 7p (or 8! lol) I'm not sure I want to know. Great shoes are SO important!

Specializes in er icu.

I worked a 3 person asignment on pcu and walked 3.9 miles. I work er, icu and pcu. I think a busy night in an er would be 9 miles will report progress. Ps Iam 6ft 2 and took 3978 steps

ER nurse. I walk 7000 to 12000 steps per 12 hour shift. My phone has a step counter in one of its Apps. A couple nurses have actual pedometers and the phone is usually 1000 or so steps behind them. Personally I think these amounts are ridiculous and I would be interested to see how much time is spent standing. How many shifts a nurse doesn't get a meal break or the mandatory labor law 15 minute breaks every 4 hours or how many shifts we don't even get to pee for 12 hours. It is a little painful after a busy day walking to my car than realizing, I didn't pee today..

Specializes in ICU Stepdown.

I'm an ER tech and the usual step count is at least 10K pet shift. The highest mile count I've seen is 10 miles. I use an Apple Watch

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PCVICU and peds oncology.

PICU... depends on the patient assignment. Sometimes I actually sit more than stand or walk. But Saturday I walked 3.47 miles during my 12 hour shift and yesterday it was nearly as far, 3.43 miles. Single patient. Most of my steps were laps around the bed; there's a lot of equipment in this particular patient's space and the family had a large armchair parked near the bed that I had to go around to do anything with my pumps. Nobody would move out of my way and I didn't ask... not worth the risk of being complained about...

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