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Time Paradox of 12 hour shifts

Specializes in Currently: Home Health.

So here is what is bunching up my panties. I like being off multiple days and week but I also hate it. I moved to my husband's state 4 years ago and yet to have any friends in the tiny town we live in....most of the people I know are at least an hour drive away. I would LOVE to go to a martial arts class a few times a week, however since the classes meet 3 times a week in the evening and one weekend a month it really doesn't work out. Despite the huge amounts of time I have off, I can only make 1 MAYBE 2 classes a week and because of the stupid every other weekend issue I can only make every other weekend class. Why would I pay to go to a class I can only participate in 1/3 of the time. Not to mention it is very hard to learn martial arts if you are only going once a week. True I could practice with a classmate out of class, but guess what? They can only meet in the evenings or weekends as well.

Now it may not be so bad to do my hobbies on the week days I do have off, but there is also the factor of my husband. If I don't see my husband in the evenings and every other weekend when I'm off then I won't see him at all. Not to mention the fact that I haven't seen any extended family in MONTHS because the get togethers have been on my holiday to work or my weekend to work since March.

One may say, well 1 hour drive to the city isn't to bad. You may find activities that work with a nurses schedule better there. However, I drive 2 hours to work and have ZERO desire to drive an hour to get somewhere on my days off. So as you can see I have a time paradox. I have copious amounts of time off but spend most of it in my house, which is depressing because I want some friends. But because I live in a little town where the majority of people still work regular business hours I have found it incredibly difficult to find the time to get involved with local groups. GRRRRRRRR! It's kind of making me crazy.

You're mad about the choices you've made, there are no solutions, which ones do you want to undo?

You have 4 days off every week, and every other weekend off. The time paradox, lies within you.

I currently work EVERY weekend. I make it work for me.

I am learning Tai Chi. I find classes that work for me.. and supplement my learning online.

Good luck.. think outside the box .:yes:

Maybe look for a different class even if it's a little further away.

Or think of different hobbies. And if you're tired of your schedule look for a different job.

Sent from my iPhone using allnurses

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

I moved around a lot when I was younger. I made friends with the people I worked with -- who all understood that ALL of us had to work sometimes. For example, we might take a work break with someone and discover that we both wanted to see a new movie. So we would check our work schedules and find a day we both had off -- and go together. Or go for lunch and shopping on a weekend off -- or some such thing. Gradually, friendships grow by simply planning some time together and being friendly with the people you meet.

I have to say I have never heard anyone complain about having too much time off.. I'm sorry but if you are looking for sympathy I doubt you will find much here. There is no reason why you can't drive an hour to do an activity on a day off.. You simply don't want to make the effort to have the fun you want so badly.

You can find a 2nd job to work 1-2 days a week, take online classes, volunteer somewhere - all in your local community..

loriangel14, RN

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

If you really try I bet you can find something to do on your days off.

FlyingScot, RN

Specializes in Peds/Neo CCT,Flight, ER, Hem/Onc.

I didn't see it as looking for sympathy and I think I get what she's saying. I remember when I was working three 12s and even 4 10s. You would have thought with all that time off I could do just about anything I wanted. But I couldn't get a regularly scheduled day off if there was a particular class I wanted to take or it started at 1830 and inevitably a family wedding or picnic or some such fun event would land on my weekend to work and it was hard to get someone to switch. So even with tons of time off I was missing out on the things I wanted to do. Ironically now that I work 5 days a week I can do many more of those things because I'm off weekends and I get out of work at 4!

proud nurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in Medical Oncology, Alzheimer/dementia.

My friend (coworker) also works nights, but mostly on my off nights. We still manage to get together once or twice a week. Sometimes it's after a shift, or we'll meet for breakfast if one has worked and the other was off. And sometimes it's both of our day off on we do something fun. It just takes planning.

And I agree with llg, friendships grow by planning to spend time together. Also by being flexible. I hope you find the time to do the things you want to do.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

I didn't see it as looking for sympathy and I think I get what she's saying. I remember when I was working three 12s and even 4 10s. You would have thought with all that time off I could do just about anything I wanted. But I couldn't get a regularly scheduled day off if there was a particular class I wanted to take or it started at 1830 and inevitably a family wedding or picnic or some such fun event would land on my weekend to work and it was hard to get someone to switch. So even with tons of time off I was missing out on the things I wanted to do. Ironically now that I work 5 days a week I can do many more of those things because I'm off weekends and I get out of work at 4!

That's why a lot of people who have had experience working 5 8-hour shifts per week actually prefer them. You have the time and energy to do something social every day of the week. You get to spend some quality time with your family every day. etc. The problem with 12-hour shifts is that they take up the whole day and leave you no time to relax and enjoy -- except on your scheduled time off, which must also be used to recover from the 12's.

Awesomocity0

Specializes in Gastroenterology, PACU.

If you're so miserable, and you moved for your husband, maybe he might consider moving for you? Or you could look for a place to live that is closer to the city or your work. I think a two hour drive is a bit excessive. But if that is what it is, then I recommend finding another job. There are so many different schedules for us as nurses. I used to work 3-4 12s a week. Now I do 4 10s. And as much as I like my unit, I'm not a fan of that schedule, so I'm going to find another job that puts me back on 12s.

Also, if you join a gym, they do have flexible classes. Once again, I'm not sure what your options are for where you live, but my gym has morning and evening classes on different days a week, and I made it work when I had a variable schedule. Believe it or not, more nurses have variable schedules than do not, and although some of us moan and groan, your case of the grumpies seems more severe. So find a solution. Make priorities. And live with the consequences. You can't get everything you want.

Wrench Party

Specializes in Cardiology, Cardiothoracic Surgical.

I'm trying to go back to the hospital because I'm sick of working 5-6 days/week. I want to be able to have time off during the day to get

everything done at once. I'd love to sleep in, then putter around the house, go ride my horses or workout, and have enough time left during the day to go out.

I'm also looking forward to scheduling more than 2 days off in a row so I can go on trips! Can't wait!

loriangel14, RN

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

I love my 12s. I would never go back to 8s.

MunoRN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care.

I'm not sure how working 12 hour shifts really makes any of that worse. I agree that it would suck to have a 2 hour commute to work, but why would it be better to have to do that 5 times a week instead of 3? Would you really feel more like driving an hour to do things on your days off if you only had 2 days off a week and were driving long distances the other 5?

you can't find anything to do on your days off? I work 4 10's and I have find plenty to do on my days off. I would love to work 3 12's if they would let me! If you're that unhappy with your schedule then change jobs? There isn't another hospital/clinic within less than a 2 hour drive from you?

Aurora77

Specializes in Med Surg.

I can relate to the OP. I worked 12 hour nights for several years and it seemed like I never had time to do things outside the house. When I worked several days in a row, I didn't do anything besides work and sleep because 3-4 hours of sleep doesn't work for me. I also had trouble switching back to a semi day time schedule and spent one, if not two days, recovering from my shifts.

I made the switch to 8 hour days Mon-fri and love it. I ever thought I'd give up those 4 days off but I feel so much more energetic and well rested. I actually have time to do things after work without cutting into my sleep time.

You may want to look into a schedule change, OP. It's not for everyone, big I've had a huge improvement in my quality of life.

MunoRN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care.

I think we sometimes make the mistake of comparing 8 and 12 hour shifts based on what length of shift it would be preferable to do while working days. Really, it doesn't matter which shift length day shifters prefer, the purpose of of 12 hour shifts is that it makes working nights far more tolerable for most workers, and there really is no shift length on days that is worse than any shift length on nights. So the reason why day shifters work 12 hour shifts is so the night shifters can as well.

There are pros and cons to every schedule. If you were working 5 8s a week, you would be able to find negatives in that situation as well.

If you don't have the option of working 8s, then you might want to try to reflect upon how you can begin to see the positives in your life as opposed to focusing on the negatives.

KelRN215, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pedi.

Look for another job that's Mon-Fri then. I never thought I wanted a Mon-Fri, but now that I've had one for 3 + years, I can't imagine going back. Also, join meetup.

Yup, this is the ultimate paradox of a 12-hour shift/every other weekend schedule. I feel you. But I also would never go back to working 8-hour days/5 days a week - sucked the life out of me.

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