Work Schedule

Nurses General Nursing

Updated:   Published


Anyone go from working three 12 hour shifts to working four 10 hour shifts? I’m considering a position that is four 10s, no weekends or holidays and it sounds good but I’m kind of worried about working that fourth day. Also the hours vary so some weeks you work 6-1630 and some are 8-18:30. If anyone has this type of schedule, do you like it? Does it feel like you work more and home less? Are the weekends and holidays off worth the extra work day? 


4 Articles; 2,510 Posts

Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC.

In my unit we have both eight and 12 hours shifts. Both appeal to people for different reasons. Twelves can get really draining, especially when you've got three in a row. Tens aren't significantly shorter, but perhaps the no weekends or holidays will make it worth it. Hard to know what's going to work best for someone else, but if you're looking for a change maybe this is worth the tradeoff. Good luck!


1,756 Posts

I have worked both. It wouldn't be a big deal to me because the hours are similar but that's for me. You have to do what works best for you and only you know that. Also, no weekends or holidays are good too. However, you have to ask if there's a catch when the holiday falls on Monday like today. Does that mean you'll have to work a different day? The weekend? Will you still be paid even though it's a holiday and you're off? Stuff like that. It's more than the hours, it's the fine print small stuff that isn't usually discussed that gets you caught up later.

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

2,776 Posts

Specializes in school nurse.

Will 10 hours truly be 10 hours...?

If not, you're better off with three 12 hr shifts.

RNperdiem, RN

4,592 Posts

I was thinking the same thing Jedrnurse. If this is a procedural job, you work until the last patient leaves. The hours listed might be approximate.


718 Posts

I think it depends upon why you are looking at this job.  I work 4 8s, and those 8s are usually 9s or 10s.  But they're still better than 12s that are more like 13s or 14s.  I have no desire at all to work 12-hour shifts.  Even working 4 days, those are 4 days that I get to see my whole family.  If I worked 12s, I'd leave before my kids were up in the mornings, and be home at bedtime.  The schedule you describe would be ideal because I'd always be able to have dinner with my family (or at least spend a little time before bed).  The no holidays or weekends would be ideal because of more time with them.

But if you're looking to work fewer hours overall, you might be better off with 3 12s (which is already 4 fewer hours right off the bat).  Depending on your commute, you might be saving another hour or more by not coming in that 4th day.

This sounds very much like a job I used to have. The hours varied each shift so there was no consistency. Also if you ended up staying over 10 hours one day, they would flex you the next day so you basically work all these weird late hours and end up with less than 32 hours for the week. Normally with 3 12s… there isn’t much flexing going on. No weekends or holidays is nice but 4 days a week in a busy procedural area can be absolutely exhausting. burn out city 


46 Posts

I think four 10s is only better if you get your day off in the middle, e.g. on Mon/Tues, off Wed,  on Thur/Fri, off Sat/Sun. 


20,964 Posts

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis.

I did it! And NO regrets. I was so so soooo tired working those 12s (which in reality were more like 13+ with report and finishing charting). I work 10s and love it. Still have 3 days off a week. And I am so much less exhausted. Try it! And when I say I work 10 hours, that is exactly that. Not one minute more. I love this.

Caveat: this does not mean you will get 3 day weekends. Sometimes I do; others I have to work Saturdays and get days off during the week. I like the break up of the week; a day off on say, Wednesday refreshes me.

mtmkjr, BSN

439 Posts

I did the exact thing you are asking about. I went from three 12s to four 10s. I moved into a supervisor position and I definitely feel like I'm working more. But that is okay as my kids are grown and I was looking for a different challenge. 

I have more flexibility. If I need to leave early, I just leave. I'm off on the holidays but I can work if I want to. I'm off on the weekends but I'm free to work a Saturday and be off an extra weekday. If my day runs extra long I can come in late the next day. I agree with previous poster, I prefer my extra day off to be midweek.

I don't feel like I gave up anything - I've learned so much. But again, I'm in a different season of life and this works well for me right now. 

Specializes in ICU/ER.

One thing seems to missing here...There have been numerous studies that show that 12 hour shifts are more prone to errors and detrimental to your patients and yourself.  Most centered around critical areas such as ICUs and ERs, but they routinely show that nurses start to lose focus after about 6-8 hours.  Perhaps we shouyld address this...

Specializes in Wound care; CMSRN.

I've only ever worked in a union shop, 12 hour shifts, 4 or 5 to 1 ratios (ideally). We were expected to have our charting done by end of shift and never worked un paid OT (if you ended up staying late it needed to be emergent pt care, and for that we got paid 1.5 ) We always took our lunch (30 mins unpaid so we lapped the next shift for report) and were expected to take breaks (2x10min). In reality, when things got hairy, we'd run over and there were times I'd stay 4 hours to cover the start of nights and the last med pass and oncoming days might have someone come in 4 hours early if nights were down to 2 RNs (Med Surg floor in a critical access hospital, anywhere from 8 to 23 patients in various stages of acute and sometimes critical illness, no ICU).
It wasn't bad most of the time unless we had 2 or 3 ETOH patients going off in the middle of a peds RSV epidemic and we were down a nurse.
!2's aren't bad but you have to have coverage and you have to have rules. The union, weak as it was, really helped. Some folks even worked 5/2/2/5 for the 5 off but once you worked 60 hours you spent your 2 off trying to recoup. That was brutal, and you had to find somebody to mirror your shift.
I'm working 10's in a startup now (no patients just paperwork) and I hate it. Crazy as I am I'm bucking for a nurse educator position.



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