Nurses General Nursing


I am just finishing my nursing school, I am graduating in May with an ADN. We have to do this thing we call precepting for 104 at the end of school before we graduate. I have been doing mine with a great nurse on a medical floor, she works 12 hour shifts. They are killing me!! My feet, back, neck are in knots. The thing is I have been hired to work in an ICU that works 12 hour shifts. Does anyone have any suggestions to helping these shifts go by more smoothly and not ruin my body while I'm at it? The other thing is how many 12 hour shifts are other hospitals asking their nurses to work back to back, the nurses I know work 2-3 in a row.


349 Posts

Hee hee!! Ahh, memories...I remember thinking the EXACT same thing...'how in the hell do these people DO this every day and not DIE from it??!!'

Sit down a lot. Stretch. Get good shoes. Drink water. Eat fresh fruit. Stretch when you get home. If possible, when you move into another house, be a b**** like I was and DEMAND a whirlpool tub (heh heh). Stretch before work. Yes, all of this sounds kinda goofy, but it helps. You'll get used to it in a little bit, DON'T WORRY. But do go out and buy good shoes...TOMORROW. Do not put it off!!

Almost forgot to answer your other question! I work 3 12's in a row...I'm greedy...I like my days off AAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL in a row (we have self-scheduling). Some places actually refuse to 'allow' nurses to do 12's, if you can believe that!! When someone else does the scheduling, usually they only schedule 3 12's back to back if you request it specially. Otherwise, they break them up. Just ask how they schedule at the interview, and after you've been at work a couple of weeks and are off orientation, don't be afraid to speak up if you want your schedule done differently. I will say, I looooooooove self-scheduling!!


[ May 01, 2001: Message edited by: kday ]


219 Posts

kday is right on,

You have to have good shoes to start. Get in shape, both physically and mentally. Watch what you eat. Lots of carbs and protein works for me, but you will be different.

I like all my days off in a row too. So I schedule myself for 6 12's in a row. It sounds brutal but it works well for me. Keep the faith and good luck. Gary

Ellen in Ont

26 Posts

Believe it or not you do get used to it. However, I still want to collapse when I get home! We work 3 12's in a row routinely. If you can afford two pairs of good shoes, (different kinds), change them half way through your shift. (hint - try and make sure they are wide - your feet will spread - sorry). If you do get a chance to sit down for a break, put your feet up to reduce swelling. Drink lots of water (and cross your fingers that you have time for bathroom breaks). I think that the first while you will be so busy that you won't notice the shift fly by until it's over. :) There's never enough time no matter how long the shift is! Don't worry, nurses are know for their adaptability. You've made it this far. You can meet this challenge! :D


951 Posts

Specializes in Hospice, Critical Care.

Good shoes...and good socks! Support socks if ya like them; if not, socks with a lot of padding. I love 12-hr shifts but my legs still ache when I get home. Bought a percussion massager and my kids rub my legs for me (they're great kids).

I only work three 12s in a row when I schedule them that way myself. I'd much rather work 3 days/week than 5 eight-hour days! Four days off beats 2 days off anytime! Some places still require that you make up that four hours (36 hrs/week instead of 40/hrs week) somehow; picking up 4 hrs in that week or 8 hrs the next week. Mine doesn't, thank goodness. 36 hrs = fulltime. And if you work it right, you can get a real nice stretch off (work SUN-MON-TUE one week and THU-FRI-SAT the next--which gives you 8 days off in a row without taking a single vacation day!). Good luck. :)


60 Posts

The good shoes are very important and dont but those so called nursing shoes. You go to your local sporting goods store and buy the most comfortable supporting shoes you can........dont look at the price! :p


141 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, ICU, Cardiac ICU.

I'm going to agree - good shoes are essential. I always suggest to my new nurses to go shopping when their feet ache. If the shoe helps relieve that ache it will usually help prevent it. And yes, get a good pair of cross trainers or something like that, not 'nursing' shoes.

Also, you are never too young (or old ;) ) for support hose. It helps relieve some of the lower leg ache and a decreases a few of the varicose or spider veins.

Getting exercise on your days off increases your stamina also.


29 Posts

I agree with Kday. Definitely sit down for a minute and stretch. Also get some good shoes to help support your feet. I work 3 12hour shifts in a row as well. Good luck to you


859 Posts

Add me to the list of nurses who preferred 12-hour shifts (at least when I first started out--it got harder after a while!) As everyone's pointed out, it allows you to have longer stretches of days off which ultimately made me feel like I was working less. I also found it easier to plan my care over a 12-hour period than an 8-hour one, since changing lines, or getting a vent-dependent ICU pt up to a chair, or even bathing them, can require a lot of prep time. The main trick is, PACE YOURSELF! You will be exhausted if you try to run as hard during a 12-hour shift as you do during an eight. Good luck!

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