Transition from 8 hour to 12 hour shifts


I will be starting a new job in about a month. I'll be working 12 hour shifts 7pm to 7am. I now work 11pm to 7am. Is it difficult to switch from 8 to 12 hour shifts? I will also be working in a Transitional Care Unit from working in a LTC facilty, and I'm not quite sure what to expect. Any input is appreciated!


27 Posts

The big difference between 8 hour and 12 hours shifts is that the 12 hour shifts are longer. :)

The other nice thing is that you (usually) get to work fewer shifts per week. That is a great selling point.


439 Posts

Specializes in Community, Renal, OR.


Next week I start a new job changing from 8 hour shifts to 12 hour shift 7am - 7.30 pm, so I'll let you know how I find it. I have worked 10 hour shifts before and coped well with that, so I am not anticipating too much trouble, just having to cook when I get home at that hour, but I guess I just have to be more organised. I am looking forward to working less days, so I have some time to myself.



427 Posts

I switched to 7p to 8 am about a year ago and i will never go back to 8 hour shifts again. You'll realizew how good it is when you get a stretch off. I recently had 15 days off just by creative scheduling and using 1 personal day. If your already used to the night hours adding on the 4 extra shouldn't really be that hard for you.

Jenny P

1,164 Posts

Specializes in CV-ICU.

I work an 8-12 mix-- I work 8 hour nights during the week and 12 hour nights on my weekends (that way I only work every third weekend- one short [2 12hr nights],and then every 6 weeks a long [3 12hr nights] weekend. The 3 12hr shifts in a row are tough on me; it takes 2 days for me to recover (but then again, I'm OLD! LOL!), so I always make sure I have at least 2 nights off before I work again. Yes, you will notice the difference in length of the shift, but you do get more time off from the workplace. I had worked 3-4 years of 12 hour nights before I kind of "hit the wall" and could not do it anymore (I was also dealing with 2 ADHD pre-teens at home and a Hubby with MS, though, so that fed into my exhaustion). I've been doing this 8-12 mix now for over 8 years, and it works for me.


302 Posts

I know I'll be working 3 days a week vs 5 days per week. That is definitely a PLUS! Besides the 12 hour shifts, anyone have any info about TCU and what to expect? I'm used to LTC.


97 Posts

think - 8 hours sleep - 8 hours work and 8 hours (well sorta) to have to yourself... I prefer 12 though since I get a few days off in a row and that way I can get the grocerys, pay the bill and not have to use the computer for it... I will beable to interact and socialize with other human beings... I love to get outta the

house to do the errands :)

But does this effect me now... nope... still on Mat. Leave....


648 Posts

Has 36 years experience.

I didn't work 12's long. And I wouldn't say that 12's caused me to leave the hospital. That wouldn't be true, but I couldn't have done them long.

If you have a family, there is little regeneration time on the days you work. You become sort of focused on getting to work, working, leaving work, sleeping. Unfailingly, when this topic comes up on this board, people favor 12's overwhelmingly. So people experience this differently than I do. I think 12's are hard on families, but that's just my observation. I also think nights are hard on families and they are an immutable fact of round-the-clock health care.


266 Posts

I went from 8....yeah LTC (it usually lasted 10-12 w/ OT) and now I'm doing 12's in Rehab at a large hospital.....I LOVE IT!!

Didn't have any trouble, I actually get my work done and don't feel like I'm rushing all the time. The only 'trouble' I had from LTC to Hosp. is learning all the 'high tech' gadgets they use at the hospital....hahaha

Loving it and know you will too

Good luck!!

I have worked 6p-6a several years. DO NOT attempt to plan anything else on the days you work. I have seen co-workers try to act like stay-at-home Moms, taking kids to school, picking them up, taking them to swim lessons, etc. and getting only 4-5 hrs sleep. That is a nap, not sleep. They eventually get ill or burned out. Turn off phone when you sleep and get room dark. White noise like a box fan helps. Train your friends and family not to expect you to be available on sleep days. They don't expect it from people working 9-5 jobs and can learn to respect your time too.

I agree with everything that's been said. I can't speak to LTC vs TCU. But as far as 8 vs. 12 hr nights, for me there was very little difference as I slept poorly during the day no matter how long the shift was. The 12s made it easier by only having to do it 3 days a week.

Do monitor yourself for signs of sleep deprivation and take whatever is appropriate action for you.

Specializes in ER, ICU, L&D, OR.

Howdy yall

From deep in the heart of texas

!2 hour shifts are the only way to go, wherever you work.

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