8 hr shifts vs. 12 hr shift

  1. How do the rest of you med surg nurses feel about having 8 or 12 hour shifts? I was reading in a nursing magazine that its tough to work a 12 hour shift on med surg because its exhausting. While working a 12 hour shift in ICU or ER isn't too bad because you get to know your patient a lot more. I'm probably going to be doing Med/ Surg next year when I graduate and I'll be working 12 hour shifts. So I just wanted to see if its going to be the 12 hour shift from hell or if 12 hour shifts aren't bad. I'd love to hear everyones thoughts and opinions on 8 hr vs. 12 hour shifts!
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    About luv2shopp85

    Joined: Dec '05; Posts: 609; Likes: 14

    51 Comments

  3. by   RN2B07
    Prior to nsg, I never worked more than 8 hr shifts. I was a little nervous at first, but they arent as bad as I had imagined. I love them and couldnt imagine going back to 8 hrs. Ironically 8 hr shifts seemed to drag more than 12. But I am not gonna lie, I work on a very bust M/S ortho floor and am pretty beat when I come home. But 4 days off makes up for it.
  4. by   Nemhain
    I never would have gone into nursing if 8hr shifts were the only option. I'm in love with 12 hr shifts. 4 days off a week is sheer heaven.
  5. by   AuntieRN
    I used to work 8 hour shifts actually did it for almost 20 years. Now I work 3 12's. I just graduated and passed my boards so I can only answer this from a tech's position who also works on Med/surg. I learned long ago you hardly ever actually get out in 8 hours so what's 4 more and you get 2 extra days off during the week. I would not want to go back to 8 hour shifts. I feel I am just as tired now as I was back then. Only difference is I work 2 less days a week.
  6. by   lannisz
    Maybe it's because I'm over 40, but I'm completely dead after 3 12's and find it takes me two of my four days off to recover. Some of the close to retirement age nurses on my unit have switched to 8 hr day shifts within the last year. There's a rumor that we'll have an opening for an 8 hr 3-11 pm shift soon to cover the gap. (Things are real busy after the nurses leave at 3pm and the rest of the staff have to take on more patients which is hard.) I would be more than happy to fill that shift, since my alternative is nights.
  7. by   luv2shopp85
    I was thinking it would be really good to work a 12 hour shift every other day that way it wouldn't be so physically draining. Do they let you do that?
  8. by   meownsmile
    Until recently i have only worked 12 hour days. Now i have a rotational shift and 2 weeks days 2 weeks of nights. I hate nights in general but i wouldnt want to do 8 hour shifts. I have problems with more than 2 night shifts of 12 hours in a row so that is my main reason for not liking 12 hour night shifts.
    But as i said,, id rather do 12s than 8s anytime. Better continuity of care for the patient and it gives me more time at home in a stretch.
  9. by   RNSacht
    Quote from luv2shopp85
    I was thinking it would be really good to work a 12 hour shift every other day that way it wouldn't be so physically draining. Do they let you do that?
    I am almost 40 and I work 12 hours shifts. I luv them, yes they are long, and yes some weeks I do split them up. Most floors in our facility let you self schedule. This week I am off today (monday) on Wed and Thurs off Fri Sat and Sun, Work Mon ( next week) of Tues work Wed. This is a nice break up. LUV 12's........
  10. by   youngatheart
    I work 3 12's the night shift 7p-7a. Love the 12 hour shift as usually you never get out after an 8 hour shift on time. I bet the 8 hour shift goes fast though. I would like the option of switching from 12 to 8 once in awhile, I hope they never get rid of 8 hour shift though because for some people 12 hours is to long.
  11. by   RNSuzq1
    I'm a new Nurse, but also one of the "over 40 gang"... After 3 months, I'm finally getting used to 12 hour shifts (although the last 4 hours seem to drag on forever). I'm on the floor by 6:30am and never leave until at least 7:30pm, so it's more like a 13 hour shift. I'm ok until I get home, then the exhaustion hits. We have 3 Sons - 2 of them school-age, so the days I work, really hard to find the energy to help with homework or anything else for that matter. Floor Nursing is hard, so I'd be just as tired after an 8 hours shift.

    The drawback - if you have to do a few 12's in a row - there is very little time in between to do much more than eat and sleep before you have to be back at work. On the plus side - you get 4 days off a week. I hate getting up before 5am, so it's nice only having to do that 3 days a week.

    Like AuntieRN said - what's 4 more hours for 3 shifts, if it means you get 2 extra days off a week.... I use one of those 4 days off when the kids are in school to recharge my battery on the couch with my friends Oprah, Phil and any other mindless TV shows I can find....
  12. by   am17sg05
    when i was still in the phils, i was just used to working 8 hr shift which is just enough for me.when i went here in the us, i was assigned in er then tele and i worked 3 12 hr shift.i feel very exhausted after.the positive thing is if you still want to do some part time job, you can do it more if you are working 12 hrs because you still have 4 days left(just plan how many days you want off).i used to work weekends(fri-sun) 12 hrs and work flexible time in home health on weekdays. i enjoyed it.goodluck and i hope this helps...
  13. by   DeLynn
    I work two 12's and two 8's mostly day shifts. The 8's seem to fly by, but I don't mind the 12's so much because you usually keep the same group of patients, maybe pick up one or two new ones, so it's not so bad. But after two 12's in a row I'm beat! But it's better than going into work another day.
  14. by   RNLisa
    I work 12's, I would rather work 12's and would love to have them back to back so that I have all those days off in a row, BUT, it is draining. I live 30 minutes from my work, so by the time I get home, it's get a shower, eat something quick, tuck my kids in, and go to bed. I get up at 5 am, leave by 6 am, then home around 8:15 pm. It's hard, but the days off are worth it. PLUS, doing them back to back allows for better continuity of care because you usually get the same group of patients. I am in my late 30's, so who knows, by the time I reach mid 40's I may change my tune!! But for now 12's work.

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