Jump to content

No more 12 hour shifts?


Specializes in medicine, oncology, telemetry.

During my nurse residency, it was mentioned that our health system and in general across the board, 12 hour shifts are under scrutiny. This is due to staff fatigue, errors, and continuity in patient care.

It was said that in the not-too-distant future 12 hour shifts will be going away in our health system. In bedside nursing, the four days off to recuperate from the circus that is my unit, I can't imagine being there 5 days a week!

I am looking to get out of bedside nursing anyway, but I was wondering if anyone else has heard talk of this!

What do you think about it?

Very interesting. Would love to hear the responses. I have never heard of this.

How many years have they said associates degree nurses were going to go away ?


Im not too worried about what "they say"

HappyWife77, BSN, RN

Specializes in Gerontology RN-BC and FNP MSN student. Has 20 years experience.

Twelves are not going anywhere from where I am at in the midwest.

LadyFree28, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma. Has 10 years experience.

How many years have they said associates degree nurses were going to go away ?


Im not too worried about what "they say"


I just accepted a position where I can do 12s and/or 8s; per OP's postings, I will be in the same health system as the OP.

I also work at another facility that has 8s only, and people have left because they can't and won't do 12s; they have left for other facilities in the are that do offer 12s.

It is far too competitive and a risk to do away with 12s; not sure if they are willing to take them all away and have a bigger issue with retaining nurses. :no:

Leaving aside continuity and a few other issues the main arguments against twelve hour shifts (fatigue, errors, etc...) can be dealt with by ensuring nurses have and take proper rest and meal breaks.

It stands to reason if you work a nurse to death by keeping her or him on the floor/unit for what amounts to eleven or more hours there are going to be problems. Nurses need meal and "coffee" breaks and they should be allowed to leave the floor/unit to do so. That is go to the cafeteria, outside for a breath of fresh air (or even walk around ), this or they need to be allowed at least a rest area reserved just for nurses where they can be off the clock. By this one means non-accessible to other staff, patients, and so forth absent an emergency.

This issue has been well studied and there is enough data out there to support doing the right thing by nurses. However as usual things on the ground come down to money. Places don't want to pay for staffing that will allow nurses what some consider a luxury but is there proper due.

The Nursing Debate: 8-Hour Shifts vs. 12-Hour Shifts

None of this will change until Washington enacts sane workplace laws covering nurses and their rights to break/meal times.

As exhusting as 12 hour shifts can be I think MANY nurse love that they only have to work 3 to 4 days a week to be seen as full time. There will be a lot fewer nurses that will want to work 5 days to get those full hours. I agree that breaks are important. I use to work in a factory, and when we would be busy we had 12 hour days sometimes. It really was not that bad working 1 to 3 days 12 as long as we could go to the bathroom when we needed and got our 4 breaks in. 3 10 min and one 20 min.


Has 3 years experience.

I am in NY and I have not heard anything like that. In fact, if that did come to fruition, I would immediately start looking for a new position which did offer 12 hour shifts. I have absolutely NO interest in working 5 days a week, that is one of the things that I love about nursing. I can work 3 twelve hour shifts and have 4 days per week off. I don't even pick up overtime (of which there is plenty) because I have no interest in working more than 3 days week. Now, if there was a significant financial incentive to work overtime then I would definitely consider it. Sorry, I digress. As a matter of fact, if 12 hour shifts went away and 10 hour shifts were substituted, I don't think I would be happy with that, either. In a few hospitals in CA they don't even offer 8 hours shifts. So I would be very surprised to see 12 hour shifts done away with in a widespread fashion.


Has 8 years experience.

I worked 12 's for awhile , and I've got to hand it to anyone who has done it for many years, I know that I couldn't , 8 would be my pick, I do not fore see that happening where I live, not even mentioned

I would be up a nasty creek if 12 hour shifts could not be had. Like many other nurses, I use my 4 days off from my full time position to work per diem at another facility. I actually make more money doing my 2 PD days/week than I do full time, once insurance and deductibles are taken out. Being able to cram 12 hours of pay into one day is how I (and I believe many other nurses) are able to make ends meet these days.


Specializes in PCU / Telemetry. Has 8 years experience.

12 hours is no big deal for me. I love having more days off per week than what I work. I would hate working 8s and having 2 more days of work.

Sent from my iPad using allnurses

NickiLaughs, ADN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Trauma, Critical Care. Has 11 years experience.

How many years have they said associates degree nurses were going to go away ?


Im not too worried about what "they say"

There has been steps towards this though. I've worked at 2 hospital systems that no longer higher ADNs. There are jobs, yes, but there's also restrictions. I'm paranoid, "they are watching." ;)

meanmaryjean, DNP, RN

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 40 years experience.

For those of you who love 12s and would look elsewhere if only 8s were offered, good on you. I just wish (as an experienced nurse of 30+ years) that there was an option of eights for those of us who still have something to offer at the bedside but find 12s (esp. nights) are wearing us down.

Look at it this way, when you work 12 hours, you can work, commute, sleep and shower. That's about it. When you work 8s, you can do all of the above PLUS sit down for a meal with your family, make a dentist appointment, grocery shop- whatever, AND STILL work without feeling like a zombie or giving up sleep.

valzRN, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Correctional Nursing. Has 20 years experience.

If they stop nurses from working 12's then they need to stop dr's from working 48-72 hr shifts... just sayin'. I know that if my company offered 12's I would be so very excited! Right now I work 8's and those 2 days off are nothing. Especially since I work 11p-7a. I feel like I only get 1 day off. I would much rather have the 12s.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 14 years experience.

I adore 12-hour shifts. Attempt to pry them from my cold fingers and see what happens!

Speaking as a bedside nurse and house supervisor, I'd rather not see needy patients or their unrealistic family members five days a week. I'd rather not see my managers or coworkers five days a week. I'd rather not be at work five days a week.

I'd prefer working a condensed schedule of three 12-hour shifts, which enables me to have four days off each week. I also enjoyed working two 16-hour weekend double shifts to obtain five days off in a row each week.

But contending with five 8-hour shifts a week at the bedside, a.k.a. the circus? It's hell on earth for me. I've been there, done that, and absolutely won't do it again unless I was at immediate risk of becoming homeless.

Doing away with 12 hour shifts would increase the number of nurses needed by 33% in a 24 hour period. I can't speak for anyone else but my health system has continually sought to decrease wages, benefits, and retirements since 2007. I don't think they are willing to pay the costs of health insurance, unemployment, and training costs for the necessary numbers of RNs needed dor 8 hour shifts. I would like to see how they could spin hiring 33% more nurses when they are constantly telling us we have no money for anything, much less more staff.


Has 21 years experience.

I'm with the majority of the responders. 12 hr. shifts all the way for me! I have worked 8's in the past and felt like I had to cram 12 hrs. of work into an 8 hr. day. Found it hard to get out on time. If I'm already at work anyway, I'd much rather bust out another 4 hrs. and have more days off a week. All my 9 to 5 M-F friends are jealous of my long stretches off w/o having to take vacation days. In my opinion, 12 hr. shifts are one of the few perks of bedside nursing.


Specializes in Ortho/Uro/Peds/Research/PH/Insur/Travel. Has 6 years experience.

My experience has been that older nurses tend to prefer 8-hour shifts and younger nurses prefer 12-hour shifts (for a myriad of reasons). I completed a 13-week travel contract where I worked both 7-3 and 3-11 and it was the worst experience of my 8-year nursing career. I felt like I never left the facility and, as another nurse posted, I need those 4 days to recover from the stressors of bedside nursing.