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Should I go to 12 hr shifts?

Nurse Beth   (514 Views | 4 Replies)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Writer Innovator Expert Nurse

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

18 Followers; 103 Articles; 234,782 Profile Views; 2,065 Posts

Dear Nurse Beth,

I want to continue to learn new things in the nursing field however I have many hard feelings about wanting to change to 12 hours shifts if I apply at the hospital. I am newly married and we have just started talking about having kids and I don't want to miss out their big events when they come along. If I worked 7 to 7 I wouldn't be able to get them to school or help them with homework. I have thought a lot about working in a clinic where I would have day time hours but I don't want to miss out on opportunities to learn if i did that. I am currently a second shift, 230 to 11, SNF nurse where I have been since I graduated in 2018.

Dear Newly Married,

Congrats on getting married!

I wouldn't not work in a hospital because of kids you don't have yet.

Once you get pregnant, you have plenty of time to take stock of your options. Once you have the baby, you still have time because all shifts work for a newborn ūüôā

As your raise your children, you can continue to adapt to what works for you and your family. For example, before they start school, working weekends may be a good fit. But once they have soccer games and activities every weekend, you may want mostly weekends off.

You can't control or predict everything ahead of time, but you are in a career that has more options than most.

Best wishes, my friend

Nurse Beth

Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!

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1 Follower; 774 Posts; 7,252 Profile Views

I always advise people to peruse the job postings on indeed.com (or whatever source works for you). If you are looking for a 9-5 clinic job, what are the requirements and preferred qualifications?  

Clinics aren’t the only 9-5 jobs. What about jobs with insurance companies?  Or teaching? Clinical research? MDS coordinator? Lots of options for normal office hours; I’ve only mentioned a few.

A job in acute care is never going to be a negative in your career and will likely be a positive. It may give you a leg up when the time comes. 

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meanmaryjean has 40 years experience as a DNP, RN and specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia.

3 Followers; 7,577 Posts; 65,693 Profile Views

I don't quite understand how working in a clinic equates to no opportunities to learn? 

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Nurse SMS has 9 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

4 Followers; 6,153 Posts; 48,452 Profile Views

Keep in mind if you work 12 hour shifts you only have to work three shifts a week. That leaves four days a week to focus on your hypothetical children.

If you work in the hospital you are right, you won't be there for every milestone, every holiday, every day after school. You won't if you work at all, frankly. 

If you work in a clinic, you will face lower wages, better hours, less room for advancement and fewer opportunities for career development. 

There does come a point where you can't have your cake and eat it too, unfortunately. You will have decisions to make, but I would wait to fret too much until you actually are expecting a little one. 


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kbrn2002 has 25 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Geriatrics.

3,003 Posts; 29,386 Profile Views

There are definite advantages as well as some disadvantages of working 12's. The biggest advantage of longer hours per day is less days you have to work. This can be beneficial for scheduling family events but it is also pretty much guaranteed that you can't attend any events that fall on the days that you work. 

Another disadvantage is 12 hour shifts are rarely actually 12 hours. Unless you are a rare nurse that always gets done on time and you have a very short commute. So don't forget to factor at least your commute time into your work day hours. 

There is also the matter of shifts you'd be expected to work.  If you decide that you are only interested in a 9-5 day position the hospital isn't an option that you will be happy with as they have to staff around the clock and chances are very high you'd be working at least some afternoons and/or overnights.  Same goes for any inpatient setting.  For days only you'll be limited to employers like clinics that are only open during the hours you prefer. 

In my opinion though you are way overthinking this. If you are truly debating even applying at a hospital job that might only offer 12 hour positions just because you want to start a family keep in mind you haven't started that family yet so you have plenty of time to pursue other options if you find the hours at wherever you are don't work for you. You haven't even applied at the hospital yet so if working there interests you don't hold yourself back just because it might interfere with family time at some undetermined time in the future.  Congratulations on your recent marriage by the way. 

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