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Typical schedule?

First Year   (1,940 Views 6 Comments)
by DroogieRN DroogieRN (New Member) New Member

DroogieRN has 2 years experience and works as a Telemetry, Critical Care.

10,547 Visitors; 304 Posts

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My hospital uses rotating shifts. I hate them, but I do it, without complaint for the most part. I just finished a stretch of four 12h nights in a row yesterday morning, and I am scheduled to go back tomorrow for 7a-7p. Seriously? Not even two days to recover and re-learn to sleep at night? And the kicker is this: it will be my very first shift off of new-grad orientation. I am so nervous I feel ill and I am exhausted to boot. I love the idea of reporting off but I know that, in the end, I won't do it.

Being so new, it never occurred to me to challange the schedule when it came out -- I'm not the most assertive person, especially when I feel like I'm sort of in unfamiliar territory.

I hate feeling like I would rather go anywhere than to the hospital for work tomorrow morning... I am just positively worn out. :crying2:

Edited by DroogieRN
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NotReady4PrimeTime has 25 years experience as a RN and works as a RN, CNCCP(C).

16 Articles; 71,213 Visitors; 7,351 Posts

A lot of hospitals have a schedule of rotating shifts, particularly in Canada where every province is nearly universally unionized. By and large, at least here, it's not possible to "challenge" the schedule. When you apply for a position it's important to pay attention to the hours of work, which should be listed in the posting. If it says "days/nights" that's a signal that you'll be working rotating shifts. If you don't want to do that you need to only apply to positions that are days-only, nights-only or evenings-only.

If you've just worked 4 nights and are turning around in 2 days, then your schedule must include a fairly long stretch off. That will be when you recharge, do your housework, laundry, grocery shopping... like thousands of other nurses all over the place do. It's not easy, nothing about being a nurse is. But it does become a routine.

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DroogieRN has 2 years experience and works as a Telemetry, Critical Care.

10,547 Visitors; 304 Posts

Thanks for the reply; I appreciate you taking the time to do so. I must be feeling a little testy but I really do understand what days and nights means and I knew when I was hired that I was going to work a rotating schedule. That's really not my issue. My issue is a

I wanted to ask other nurses if the quick turnaround was the norm. Maybe I was unclear.

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NotReady4PrimeTime has 25 years experience as a RN and works as a RN, CNCCP(C).

16 Articles; 71,213 Visitors; 7,351 Posts

I don't understand how someone working full time is required to work more than fourteen 12 hour shifts in 4 weeks, which you will be if you only have 2 days off at a time. (4x40/12=13.33) One 4 week master rotation I've seen for 12 hour rotating shifts has 4 nights, 3 off, 2 days, 2 off, 3 days, 2 off, 2 days, 3 nights and 7 off. So yes, a quick turnaround (short changeover as the military calls it) is not unusual at all. It's a tiring schedule, but many people work it. A 9 week schedule my friend works is 2 days, 2 nights, 5 off, but that's utopian.

Ah, but you have some 8 hour shifts in your rotation, so it is possible to have a schedule like that. Your employer is looking at the number of hours off between shifts and making the rotation fit with local labour laws. In many places the law allows for a minimum of 47.75 hours off between a night and a day... which is what you're getting. Maybe you should look at those laws and see if your schedule actually does comply with the minimum number of hours off between shifts, the maximum number of shifts in a row and so on. If you're in a right-to-work state, don't be surprised if you learn that your employer can make you work whatever it wants and you're stuck with it.

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I feel rotating shifts are very unhealthy. Both for staff, but also for residents (can be unsafe for them, if staff haven't slept much, but still come in)

I personally wouldn't work for a hospital or facility that rotating days/nite shifts that frequently. I also don't really get the reasoning For having rotating shifts?? isn't is easier just to have AM, PM, and NOC shifts? Certainly easier on staff, and healthier.

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NotReady4PrimeTime has 25 years experience as a RN and works as a RN, CNCCP(C).

16 Articles; 71,213 Visitors; 7,351 Posts

In some workplaces it's a case of fairness... sharing the wealth (shift differentials) and the misery (nights and weekends). Some employers (mine for example) refuse categorically to permit a person to work just one shift. There are a number of nurses on my unit who would be quite happy to have a permanent night rotation, but our management will not agree to it because there will then have to be a like number of permanent day rotations (which would be far more in demand - hence the huge numberof casual staff we have), which in theory would leave the unit short on nights. Since we often ARE short on nights anyway, it seems rather shortsighted.

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