Working 12 hour shifts

Nurses General Nursing


I am a nursing student in my fourth semester. I just finished my preceptorship working 12 hour shifts which is the norm for nurses on the floor. While I really liked the extended hours for the continum of patient care I saw how it could affect your home life. I would like to hear from other nurses about this issue. Are eight hour shifts common for nurses in the hospital setting?

Specializes in Medical and general practice now LTC.

I have recently started working 12 hour shifts and don't mind them. Nights I find I don't sleep as well as I do if I work more than 3 nights (did regular night duty back in the UK for 8 years which was 7 on and 7 off so could get into a good sleeping pattern) I work every other weekend which isn't too bad and we have adapted to this and spend god quality time together on the days I am off especially the weekends I am off as hubby works Mon-Fri

I don't tolerate 12 hour shifts well, I feel brain dead after 8 hours (sometimes after 4 hours!!) But 12 would not affect my home life, be home more often in some ways.

Small hospitals with less resources have less flexibility with what they can offer, only 8 or only 12. Bigger hospitals often can incorporte a variety of shifts into their schecules. Depends on your institituion.

Specializes in med/surg.

I recently moved from 8 hr day/eve unit to 12 hour days & I love it. I love the extra time off and I haven't found it harder to work 4 more hours.

My body clock is better because my hours are more regular in that I go to bed & get up roughly around the same time every day.

Mind you, it's a great unit & I don't have to work weekends or Bank Holidays anymore, so I guess it's not comparable to floor nursing on the units. I was exhausted after my 8 hr days there! So really I just posted to gloat that after 13 years of shift work I'm still floor nursing but with regular hours! :-)

Specializes in Critical Care/Coronary Care Unit,.

I personally enjoy my 3-12s in the hospital. For four days of the week, I can pretend that I don't have a job..and do what I want to do. I can't imagine having to go to work 5 days a week doing 8 hr sister does it now and she hates it. Doing my 3-12s is considered full-time and I get to be off for 4 days a week...which is great to me.

Specializes in Critical Care.

I love my 12 hour shifts. I couldn't imagine going back to 8 hour shifts. I would rather work 3 days a week, and have a 4 day vacation each week. Sure, I can get more done after working 8 hour shifts, but really, I would still come home tired from working and get nothing done.

And living with/relationship/married to another nurse that works the same shift helps.

Specializes in acute care med/surg, LTC, orthopedics.

My hospitals have both 8 and 12 hour rotations so shifts overlap and there's often early or late evening 4 hrs available for staff to pick up extra. It must be hard on the staffing office to keep track of everything but I really like this kind of flexibility.

Specializes in School Nurse, Med/Surg, Float.

I am getting burnt out working 12 hours. I have young children and a husband. Due to budget cuts, I now have to drive 45 minutes away to 2 hospitals that I employed with working PRN float pool. I get up at 5am, home around 830pm. Then I am mother, trying to catch up on my kids day. Thankfully my husband helps with homework and dinner, but there is housework to do at times, then when the kids go to bed-its quality time with hubby. I often dont get to bed until around midnight. If I work the next day, back up at 5am for what turns out to be a 14 hour day. If I am off, I am still up getting kids ready for school, appointments, after school activities and sports, home again to cook and clean or catching up on sleep. There is no day off and 12 hours.

I also worked 8 hours as a school nurse and loved having the same hours as my children. We woke up together, left work together. I didn't have to take the entire day off to attend a football game or parent/teacher confrence.

I do love the extra days off that 12 hours offer. I also enjoy making my own schedule so at times I do have 4-6 days off in a row to go on vacations or simply relax. On the flipside, I know nurses who have no children or who has adult children and they work 4-5 12hr shifts a week because they could. I also know nurses who have recently had babies or are pregnant looking to leave 12 hours because of the stress on the body and they do not want to be away from their babies for 12 hours plus. Also babysitters are hard to find and cost more for 12 hours vs a few hours after school.

The choice depends on your lifestyle. Just giving you some ideas to think about....

Specializes in chemical dependency detox/psych.

The hospital I worked at previously had both 8's and 12's. I've done both, and due to being a bit older, I like the 8 hours. 12 hour shifts just wiped me out too much, plus I didn't like not being there for dinnertime with my kiddos.

It took me a few months to get used to the 12 hours..but I love them now. It means 4 days off each week. I work nights, so I'm up about the time they get home from school. I do have to leave a few hours later, but at least we touch base.

Specializes in ED, Cardiology.
I love my 12 hour shifts. I couldn't imagine going back to 8 hour shifts. I would rather work 3 days a week, and have a 4 day vacation each week. Sure, I can get more done after working 8 hour shifts, but really, I would still come home tired from working and get nothing done.

I so second that post. I worked for 3 years 12 h shifts and loved it, thought I needed a challenge and went to a cardiac cath lab that worked 8 h shifts. I felt like I had no life anymore. I was tired in the evenings and worked every saturday at a different job. If I had a regular MD appointment, I needed PTO, if I wanted to get the registration for my car, I needed PTO...Now I am back at a different unit that works 12h shifts and I LOVE IT!

I love working 12's and hope I'm never in a situation where I have to work 8's again! With 8 hour shifts I felt like I was at work more than I was home, something I think you feel a lot more when you work nights and a single "day" off doesn't have the same impact.

The extra four hours actually makes my shift go easier. I hate when I get called off the first four hours, I always feel like I'm behind.

+ Add a Comment