12 hour shifts

  1. How do you survive a 12 hour shift?

    Is there some advice you would give to making it easier for someone who has never done 12 hour shift?
  2. Visit bulletproofbarb profile page

    About bulletproofbarb

    Joined: Jul '03; Posts: 219; Likes: 65
    Registered Nurse


  3. by   live4today
    I work twelve hour dayshifts, but by the time I actually clock out, I've already put in an added hour plus...many times without my rest breaks and lunchtimes are shortened to 20 minutes.

    Surviving one hour on a job of nursing takes skill honey. :chuckle
    If you make it through eight hours still standing, the added four will just numb you so you won't know that you can't go on. :chuckle

    For me...I do twelve hour shifts because I couldn't stand being at work five days without a break, or with one day off and back to work. I don't want to be at work everyday. It takes a lot of mental energy for me to prepare to be at work three twelve hour shifts a week. What gets me through it? Knowing I will have a two or three day stretch of "off time" in between.

    Sometimes I work two twelves in a row with two or three days off, and sometimes I work a twelve, off a day, back on a twelve, then off two, then work two, then off three.......... It gets hairy at times, but my off time is precious.

    Do what is comfy for you dahlin. I wish you the best while your at it.
  4. by   Jayne LPN
  5. by   Scotty
    I have worked mostly 12 hour shifts for 8 years. For one year, 3 years ago, I had to work 8 hour shifts and found this much harder. I was too tired after a shift to do any exercise or anything pleasant. I just crashed out. My two measly days off a week weren't enough time to do all of the things other than work that I wanted to do.

    With 12 hour shifts you have great time off and don't spend as much time or money travelling to work. The last few hours of the shift can be difficult. You have to look after yourself - get plenty of sleep and healthy food on the days when you are working. Some of the young ones go out on the town between 2 12 hour shifts. I don't know how they do it.
  6. by   bulletproofbarb
    I spoke to the Nurses Agency that were in Australia from UK, and they said they had 12 hour shifts and it shocked me, I'd never heard of it. Thinking about it though, in my last job, I used to finish at 430pm and soemtimes, they would ask me to work through till 8pm so without realising it, I guess thats twelve hours but it wasn't hospital work, just clinical stuff.

    I like the idea of being able to work a weeks worth of $$ in 3 days.

    Scotty, I never really thought about the cost of going to work, time and money wise, I will need to save as much money as I can when I go to UK so thats one place I can start!
  7. by   corks
    I work 12 hour night shifts with an hours drive either side. You get use to it. 4am is my brick wall, after that it's plain sailing. Don't clock watch and stop drinking anything after 4am that way your sleep won't be interupted for a bathroom visit:imbar
  8. by   Whisper
    I have worked 14 hour shifts (0700-2100) on my last placement, although thankfully I never had to work more than four in a row... I still get the urge to leave at 1500, but once I am passed that I am okay... but I am so happy to see the night shift when they arrive.

    Working twleve hour nights gets easier after doing the long day shifts, but then when i get my break on nights I don't sleep I normally log onto here and catch up with everything that is happening. My rough time on nights is about 0300, but once I am passed that I am usualy okay, although I have been known to drive home with very loud music on, and the windows down on the car in the middle of winter!!

    On my new placement I am working 9-5, monday to friday, and I hate it!!! I hate having to do my shopping and fighting with crowds at a weekend, I never thought I'd say this but at least working weekends I can do my shopping on a quite weekday on my day off.

  9. by   Good_Queen_Bess
    I don't mind doing the odd "12-hour" shift (7am - 8.30pm with hour break). More than one a week kills me. 2 in a row and I want to cry! LOL. It's great for days off, but if it's a busy/bad shift you can't escape at 2.30pm. You'll either like it or not.
  10. by   Anne/Scotland
    I work mon-frid 9-5 (well suppose to stop at 5) I miss the extra days off and paying the visa on time!! due to no near banks
  11. by   uk_nurse
    i would love to do 12 hour shifts. i do 14 hr shifts. but i do get 4 days off!!!
  12. by   VivaLasViejas
    When I first started in hospital nursing, I did 12-hour nights for eight months until I realized how useless I was for the last 3-4 hours. By the time 0700 finally rolled around most mornings, I was about half-past give-a-sh**......and that's a dangerous attitude to have in our profession! That was when I went to the nurse-manager and asked to go on 8's, which was unusual but not unheard-of. I eventually burned out anyway working full-time, then found out later what REAL burnout was when I was putting in 14-hour days and bringing work home as a LTC manager. Now I work three 8-hour shifts per week and am always fresh and ready to problem-solve, because I've had enough time off to really relax. I can occasionally be persuaded to stay over when it's a bad shift and there's no one able to come in at 11PM, but it doesn't happen often and it's MY choice to stay (and at my pay rate, the time-and-a-half makes it well worth my while to do so).
  13. by   tntrn
    Most of these posts about 12 hour shifts scare me! I work in a OB unit where most of the nurses work 12 hour shifts, but a few of us are hanging on to our 8 hour spots. They are 7-7 shifts and each 12 hour shift is supposed to be matched with another one for 24 hour coverage of that FTE.

    When we arrive at 3 pm, some of the 12 hour people start whining about how tired they are, how they've already worked for 8 hours, and I guess because we're fresh, they think we should now take the hard patients, the brunt of the work while they get to loaf. Sorry, but they CHOSE to work 12 hours, and that means a full 12!

    I have decided that if I or any of my family is ever hospitalized for any reason, my first question(s) to the nurse will be: Do you work 12 hours shifts? How many hours have you been here already today? How many days in a row is this for you? Depending on the responses, I will seriously consider requesting a different nurse be assigned.

    Many of the posts here ldemonsrate the reasons why I feel this must be done. I see how the 12 hour nurses are 'functioning' and often wonder how they even get home safely. As far as having more time with their families, I think that means only on their days off.

    It's really hard to listen to administrations say how concerned they are with patient safety and the giving of good care, when they are obviously loving this kind of staffing. I'm really looking forward to retiring because I don't see nursing going in a good direction at all. Sadly, it's that same observation that makes me afraid for all of us.
  14. by   suehp
    I work usually 2 12 hours shifts and 2 8 hours shifts in a week and I prefer it for the extra day off I get - especially if my days off are at the end of a week and beginning of the next!!

    I have worked 3 12 hours shifts (8am-8pm) in a row once.But me and my staff pretend at 4pm that we have just arrived on duty... it is a bit stupid really but it works for us - helps us through the day!!!