Need help with 12hour shifts.....

Nurses General Nursing


Started a new job working 3 12's a week....I've been told that I will do 3 12's in a row every other week. What do you think about that? I am so exhausted after 2 days in a row that I don't think I can do it....just need some opinions on this....thanks!


57 Posts

My advice, if you don't think you can do it, don't. It will be too hard on you and your family, not to mention your patients.

On the other hand, sometimes you just need to get into the groove of 12 hour shifts. I work 3 12's at least once a week, and sometimes 3 times in 2 weeks.


280 Posts

Specializes in Hey I'm now an RN!!.

I wish I had advice for you...I just started 12H NOC :o

I think I am going to die...they also scheduled me for 3 in a row. M_T_W.

I am going to change that. Can't be done for me yet, I need to figure out how life works doing this first, I think. Get some sort of plan of action. Good luck to you, I look forward to the rest of the advice posts.


44 Posts

I just did a whole year of 12.5 hour shifts, my new job has 8 hour shifts, I'm so relieved. I'd rather do 5 days a week than 3. However, my advice for 12 hour shifts is to pace yourself, make sure you eat healthily and don't eat lots of crap like chocolate as it will make you feel worse. Drink lots of water, I always felt better if I was well hydrated (it's so easy to forget to eat and drink and look after yourself when doing those long days). Avoid an over reliance on tea/coffee as they make you even more dehydrated. If you have to rush about (e.g. to pharmacy, other places away from the ward), take it easy and use lifts instead of stairs, it's little things like that which help conserve your energy. I did nearly 60 hours last week, it nearly killed me lol :chuckle . However if you remember to look after yourself TOO and TRY to take it slow you will be ok. Just my 2 cents worth.


303 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg.

For me, it took awhile (I'd say 2 months or so) to get used to 12 hr. shifts. At first, they were a killer! Once I did get used to them though, I love them. I love having 4 days a week off and I don't think I would ever want to go back to working 5 days a week again. Just give it some time, and if after 2-3 months you still feel the same way, maybe you should think about getting another schedule or if that's not possible, another job. Good luck to you! :)


6,011 Posts


A Friday Saturday Sunday's OK on days.

Any other=a KILLER.

Never was able to do a M T W or T W Th. on days.

On nights maybe if not too often.


265 Posts

I did 12hr shifts in a very busy er for 2 yrs. We would do two days on and two days off. On the weekend we would either have F,S,S off or we would work F,S,S. So, every other weekend - you'd have 3 days off in a row. Very nice. It took about 2months for me to get used to the schedule. It really is hard if you're not use to it. But, give it a try before you give it up.


652 Posts

Everyone is different..I'd give it a try to see what you can/can't handle...I work 3 -12's every other weekend F-S-S on Sunday night I'm pooped before I even start work..I just push on thinking about the next weekend when I'll be off 3 days in a row :)


93 Posts

I work 12hr nights and I would not ever go back to eight hour shifts. It takes a while to get used to. I prefer to work 3 in a row. I get into a groove of work sleep and then I have my extra days off. I can't work one on and then one off and's too hard with my sleep schedule. The only bad thing is when I work a few in a row nothing gets done at my house.:o



4,177 Posts

everybody to their own poison i would rather work longer hours than more days....right now i work weekend options 16/16=40 .. i absolutely am in seventh heaven....i am tired on mondays and fridays you will never hear me say THGIF but it pays the bills and i have 5 days off....

but if you don't feel that 12 hour shifts are for you, find something somewhere else, or ask them if they have other is a big world out there with something for everybody

Specializes in CCU (Coronary Care); Clinical Research.

I agree with to each their own...I will never go back to 8's if I don't have too...I currently work two on, two off, four on, six off (nights) and it works well for my husband and I.

The advice that I would give is to give this new schedule a chance. Don't go in thinking that you can't do it or that you won't like it- You don't know until you try it. If you try it and give it a honest shot and still hate the schedule, then try to change it. I don't know if you were working the 12's while in school...I also felt run down and tired when doing the 12 hour shifts in an environment that I was unsure of, school work during my "days off" and at night, plus family life...when I started work "for real" I was tired but not like I was while in school. As you get more comfortable in your new role, the job will still be tiring but not quite as much as when your first start (IMHO) because you are more comfortable with what you are doing. Plus as you learn to work a 12 hours shift, you learn how to budget your time, your eating habits, etc.

I really enjoy my four on becuase it allows me to get into the groove with my sleeping and the two just gets me "warmed up". Anyway, good luck.


14 Posts

I have worked 12 hour nights for 3 years. I HATE doing 3 in a row, BUT it's better than doing one on, one off, two on, etc. If you are going to work nights, you really need more than one night off in between shifts becauseon that one day off, you are too tired to do anything! Straight nights is tough on your body, but it is better than rotating back and forth days to nights. You body never gets straight doing that!

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