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Working 3 12hr shifts in a room, yay or nay?

Specializes in Med/Surg, Float Pool, MICU, CTICU.

I know ultimately I will be making this decision based on what works with my current schedule. However, I would like to get some knowledgeable input from you guys that have done this before. Since I am in school, I would love to have my weekdays free and just work on the weekends, but are 3 12hr shifts in a row excessive? I'm leaning more towards working one day in the middle of the week and then the weekends. It will be night shift.

What are your opinions? :coollook:

Edit: Ugh, I meant to write "Working 3 12hr shifts in a row." Sorry!

Trilldayz,RN BSN

Specializes in Critical Care (ICU/CVICU).

I am working my third 12 hour shift right now. (I'm a sitter today, so i have a bit of free time) But I usually work as a tech in the ER. I think 3 days straight on your feet is exhausting, in my experience. If I don't have a sitter position to balance out those 2 days of being up, my feet couldn't handle it (but I have done it). Although it isn't impossible, I wouldnt recommend it. Work 2 days, give your self 1 day to rest and finish the other day.

It's a standard rotation in my hospital. Three 12s and then time off.

LouisVRN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg.

I would prefer to do it that way. I've worked up to 6 12s in a row in order to have vacation time without PTO. Especially in those circumstances, where you have something fun to look forward to on your days off, it is totally doable as long as you are able to sleep in between.

I personally think it depends on you as well as the specific area you work and tasks you do. Some people work like that all the time and others just can't do it. --some areas are more physically demanding then others. The more demanding physically the harder it is to work long hours several days in a row.

Me I have issues with pain--headaches, neck and back pain due to arthritis in my neck and disk disease in my neck--and I'm only 38! lol so it is hard for me to work long hours and to work long hours many days in a row. So it depends on each person as work in a hospital can be both physically and mentally exhausting. You may want to try it first to see how you do. Heck I can't even handle the night shift thing! so you are going to need to be sure you can work all those nights and see how you do with that kind of committment. I would ask to see if you can do it once to see how you do before you make it a permanant schedule! Good luck to you and hopefully you will find something that works.

Trilldayz,RN BSN

Specializes in Critical Care (ICU/CVICU).

LouisVRN- 6 12's in a row?! Wow! I don't know how you do it! What specialty do you work in? Maybe I'm lazy LOL.


Specializes in Med/Surg, Float Pool, MICU, CTICU.

Thanks for the input! It's nice to see different viewpoints.

I can see the pros and cons for working three days in a row. I think for now, I am going to go with my original plan. Then, after I get use to my unit, I can better determine whether working three consecutive days is plausible for me. Our unit, like most, self schedules, so once it's in there I gotta commit lol.

GHGoonette, BSN, RN

Specializes in PACU, OR.

If you're talking about night duty, I always found it better to work my nights consecutively and then have 3-5 nights off. Working two nights, then having one off, then coming back to work another two or three nights wore me out more than the actual work.

I also found night duty easier to adapt to in winter, because it's easier to sleep during the day when the weather's cold, and you can keep the windows and curtains closed.


Specializes in ICU, Cardiac.

I always work my 3 - 12 hour shifts in a row. In fact, I am working my fourth tonight. It's much easier for me doing them in a row, I hate breaking my sleep up.

My daughter worked 3 12 hr night shifts on the weekend, it wasn't even nursing, it was administrative, and she was exhausted all of the time. If you keep yourself physically fit, your first day should be recovery, and then you can enjoy the rest of your week. If it is too much, do two 12 hour shifts and leave it at that. Good luck.

I've done 8s and 12s. I'd never do 12s again. It takes longer to recover as you grow older. You miss out on school, kids, social events. Childcare is hard to find and when it's found it's expensive.

Those days off just don't justify the cost (financially, physically, and emotionally).

Unions fought long and hard to have the work week reduced and here we are in the 21st century volunteering to work long days. The only benefit is to the employer. Fewer shifts to cover results in fewer employees and fewer benefits to pay out.

canchaser, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU.

The most I ever did was 8 days in a row. Three twelves used to be easy but as I get older I dont like the long hours.

I work 3 12 hour shifts in a row every single week without trouble. But I also live alone in a quiet location, come home from work, eat breakfast and go to bed for 7-8 hrs then get up and do it all over again for two more days. I have no interruptions or obligations to attend to when I'm working, and that's really important because all you will want to do on those 3 days is work then go sleep, and repeat.

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership.

I almost always work my 3 in a row.

I used to work 6 in a row, and did that for about a year.


Specializes in SNF, 2 year s hospital.

Iam also in school and my current schedule is Fri-sun 7a-7p and it gives me free time during the week and when school is out i feel like im having a mini vacation!


Specializes in Tele/PCU/ICU/Stepdown/HH Case Management.

i work 3 to 4 twelves in a row depending on the week. i have a rough time on the last day of the four in a row, but i think that working them in a row on nights is better than splitting them up. it's already difficult to sleep during the day and recover after a shift. doing them in a row gives me time to recover and relax.


Specializes in Cardiac, Ortho/Neuro, Hospic, LTC.

I work three 12 hour night shifts in a row every week. I work wed-fri nights every week. I am on break right now as a matter of fact at work. I work in a hospital. I like my days together and not broken up. I sleep when my kids are at school and get up when they get home from school. I don't miss anything except them sleeping. I have weekends with them. I have been doing this now with the same scheduale for over four years. Every so often I add in a Saturday shift, but not to often. Once and a while a Tuesday slips in. I try not to do more than three cause it gets to be to much. I love it and wouldn't go back to eights for anything. You couldn't pay me enough to do dayshift either.

ObtundedRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care.

All throughout nursing school I worked 3 14 hour shifts in a row. So yes, 3 12's can be done.

Up2nogood RN, RN

Specializes in pulm/cardiology pcu, surgical onc.

I hate having my nights split up. Frequently I will work 4 or 5 in a row just to get them out of the way. It also guarantees I will get the same pts (not always a good thing) and I won't have to float since it would break up continuity. I also work another job and I just finished 8 12's in a row. As long as I stay on a night shift schedule I'm good.

Everyone has different preferences and tolerances. Many co-workers I know on days will never work 3 in a row and at night most of us prefer 3 consecutively. You'll definitely know your preference and unit scheduling policies when you start working it's too early to start stressing on that now.

meh. i do nights, usually do 3 in a row but that third day is just exhausting, mentally as well as physically!! you dont get much veg time, cause it's go to work, go home, eat, sleep, eat, spend hour or so with family(which includes packing lunch, etc), kiss family goodbye, go to work, go home, eat, sleep... i can veg alittle but a half hour show is it or i dont get enough sleep! i did 4 in a row a month ago due to a family emergency and i thought i was going to lose my mind, its such a high stress job that i need some mental chillout...sometimes on my days off i have no desire to do housework or anything.. i love 12s but i cannot do 3 in a row for the next 20 years that's for sure, whether days or nights....

mebe i need a maid..


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