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Blogs - AMNT Guest Blog

Are 12-hour shifts safe?

Written by AMNT Guest 3/28/2011 12:41:19 PM

Welcome to guest blogger Donna Cardillo!

 

Are 12-hour shifts safe?

Dona Cardillo, MA, RN

 

12-hour shifts have become the norm in hospitals and most nurses love them. One can work 3 days and have 4 days off, there is one less major shift change to contend with, and patients have fewer names and faces to get acclimated to in a 24-hour period. It all makes sense on the surface.

 

But is working 12 consecutive hours in a fast-paced, high stress, physically and mentally demanding environment a good idea? Does it support the clear judgment, quick thinking and reflexes, and life and death decisions that we must make in the acute care setting?

 

I know a few nurses who do three 12-hour shifts a week, at least two of the shifts on two consecutive days. Some nurses do three consecutive 12s. Factor in commuting time, shift transition (it can sometimes take 1-2 extra hours to actually finish up), time to get ready for work—never mind making time (if at all) for family or self and they’re lucky to get 5-6 hours of sleep if that. Compound that with the fact that many nurses no longer take meal breaks or even short breaks during their shift to rest and refresh because they believe they don’t have the time or they don’t make the time. This is a recipe for disaster. 

 

A recent survey commissioned by CareerBuilders shows that nurses are one of the top ten professionals who depend on coffee to get through their workday. Is it acceptable to have to ply ourselves with stimulants to do our jobs? Caffeine is an addictive substance. It stays in our system for up to 10 hours and can cause insomnia or can reduce the effectiveness of the precious little sleep we get.

 

I once heard from a nurse who was irate when a new director of nursing came to her facility and ended the practice of working two 16-hour shifts on Saturday and Sunday. I don’t even want to think about that nurse’s ability to do her job well, especially on the second day. Fortunately, the practice was stopped against protest but I know it still exists in other facilities.

 

In addition to the issue of our fitness to practice while on duty, what about our degree of alertness while driving to and from work while working 12-hour shifts? Then there’s the issue of the long-term wear and tear on our physical and mental health. We are not machines and we are not indestructible. Yet we are pushing ourselves, and those who work for us, beyond the limit of what humans are capable of short-term and long-term.

 

Many studies have been done over the years to support my assertions and my concerns. A recent study done by the University of Maryland concludes that the odds of making patient errors increases three-fold when nurses work 12-hour vs. 8.5-hour shifts.  But how many studies need to be done, how many patient errors need to be made, how many nurses need to get sick, injured, burnt out or worse before we consider alternative work schedules? The health and safety of both nurses and patients hangs in the balance.

 

Donna Wilk Cardillo is the Career Guru for Nurses and “Dear Donna” columnist for Nursing Spectrum, NurseWeek, and www.nurse.com. Donna is also an ‘Expert’ Blogger at DoctorOz.com. She is author of The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses, Your 1st Year as a Nurse, and A Daybook for Beginning Nurses. Ms. Cardillo is creator of the Career Alternatives for Nurses® seminar and home-study program. You can reach her at www.dcardillo.com.

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58 of 58 comments

Bette says:
July 7, 2014 11:10 am

Telina, Please get your facts right. The Firemen do not work all 24-48-72 hours straight. They have down time where they sleep. Not so sure about the police but I am pretty sure they do not work the entire 2-3 days without a break. I am not so sure about your floor but no matter which shift your patients have medications, needs, etc the entire shift. There is no down time. Not whining but my patients deserve an alert, well rested RN who will not make a mistake on their medications

Telina F says:
May 20, 2014 5:37 pm

OH please stop whining! Firemen work 24-36 hour shifts straight while wearing heavy gear and carrying hoses. And you all are crying about a 12 hour shift? Have some respect for yourselves. If you can't handle nursing, go work a part time job at CVS. Or sit on your butts on a hospice case and text away...You need to be tough to be a nurse. If you can't hang get the heck out of nursing. And it had nothing to do with age. I saw a 62 year old nurse put us young nurses to shame! She had more energy!

kristelclear says:
May 1, 2014 7:55 pm

I been working on both shifts the 8 and 12 hour shift. I believe that patient care for 12 hour shift is more complete. I am currently working 8 hour shift and do not get out on time some days I work two hours extra (10) with no pay and if you report being late it is your fault, time management. At times and I do not take break because then it would mean to get out even later and when I do go on break it is only 15 minutes. I am destroyed by the time I get home.

says:
March 22, 2014 8:59 pm

I have worked both 8 and 12 hour shifts as a RN. I prefer 12-hour shifts. I feel as alert at the end of my shift as I do at the begining. On work days I go to bed by 9pm in order to be refreshed and ready to start my day at 5am the next day. I always finish my charting before the end of my shift and rarely have issues finishing what can't be left for the next shift. Nursing is 24-hours afterall. Maybe developing ways to ensure nurses get out on time so they can go home and rest would be better

says:
September 24, 2013 2:42 pm

I have been a nurse for 7 years now and I have experience of working both 8hr and 12hr shifts. My first year as a nurse I did 8 hr shift and was so burnt out. Doing 5 days 11-7 is not conducive with your normal sleep and wake cycle, I was moody and angry most of the time. I am thankfully a person that is able to get enough rest and adapt well to 12 hr shifts. I work in the ICU and feel like my care is the same at the beginning if the shift as it is at the end. Patient safety is never sacrificed

cydstrr says:
September 23, 2013 8:48 pm

I am a new nurse, 12 hour shifts stink...they call our scheduling "self scheduling" but since you have to work every other weekend its not self scheduling.....and if the days fall off balance, I could be working 4 12 hour shifts out of 5 days I feel this is unsafe and feel sorry for my patients after 10 hours kudos to moms who need the 12 hour shifts for child care, but i want a life...8 hours provides continuty of care and a better work life balance

sick of nursing says:
September 16, 2013 1:38 am

I have been in nursing for over 34 years. 12 hour shifts are dangerous for both the nurse and the patients; it is just too long to be under such stress. Management "promises" extra days off, but then they call you back in because someone ELSE called in. You never have any time for yourself or your family. If I had it to do over again, I'd never, EVER enter the nursing profession or recommend it to anyone else.

cleback says:
May 17, 2013 6:27 pm

I've worked both 12 and 8 hour shifts. Although I can agree that 8 hours is probably better for patient safety, I also agree that 12 hours are critical for attracting people to the profession. Working five nights a week left me so tired and unable to see my family. With 12s at least I can sleep normally 4 days out of the week and I have a much better work-family balance.

says:
May 2, 2013 9:20 am

I would love to find a hospital, where nurses actually work 8 hours. SMH when i left nursing school, I was working 11 hours almost every day because the institution was short staffed. Thats what the people want, thats what the people need, it doesnt fit everybody but its better for the nurses and patients.

Smidge says:
March 12, 2013 5:28 pm

I am 60 years old working 12 hour shifts in a fast paced ER. The government says I have to do this for 5 more years. No one will hire me to do anything else, too old. I have years of experience, and years of arthritis, back pain, and just being chewed up by the profession. Nurses eat their young, AND OLD!! I wish I could work for only 8 hours. It would make all the difference in the world.

SensibleRN says:
March 4, 2013 4:46 pm

The comments made by Terri and Barb prove the writer's point. I agree that 12-hour shifts are bad for the patients, and bad for the nurses. Patient safety first!

says:
February 13, 2013 3:15 am

I'm not working as a bedside nurse currently only because i know my lmitations and after hitting 50 I was disappointed in my own performance after 9 hours. i wish so much hospitals would value seasoned nurses and create 8 hour shifts again. Even 20 years ago I saw younger nurses performance decline after 9 hours. I know it can allow for more days off but ask yoiurself, "WHAT IS BEST FOR THE PATIENT?"

terri says:
January 20, 2013 1:31 am

Apparantly you do not work in a hospital or do patient care. Many nurses love the idea of 3 12 hour shifts as compared to 5 8 hr shifts. It gives more time off and if you actually work it right you can have a week off inbetween shifts. I hate these people who try to tell us how to live our lives who actually work the shifts and compared to you who do not.

Barb says:
October 23, 2012 6:05 am

Anybody out there have any suggestions for making nights work. I would rather take the advice of people who work and live 12 hour shifts, than people who write articles. (Don't get me wrong, I read the articles also). I know people who take Ambien in the morning after work. I hope to not get to that point, although I am going to try Benadryl.

Barb says:
October 23, 2012 5:59 am

I mean... I'm glad, not "flad". It is 5 AM on Tuesday. Since I worked the weekend, (12 hour nights), I slept most of Monday, so I am having trouble sleeping Monday night. I know that the research says to maintain the same sleep pattern even on days off, but if you have a life and a family, that is unrealistic. I work every weekend, so I try to sleep 4 hours on Monday; up by noon, then I can sleep Monday night, and feel "normal" Monday through Thursday. Friday is for flipping back to night mode

Barb says:
October 23, 2012 5:51 am

I have been awakened by the rumble strips while on a one hour commute home after a 12 hour shift in an SICU. I had to give up the drive and the SICU, to have a shorter commute. I'm just flad I had the option. I do miss the SICU though.

says:
October 6, 2012 1:09 am

my icu is going to start the 12hours shift on january 2013. we ar doing the trial of 2weeks period now. i found it is hard to be implemented in the cardiac icu as there are lots of cases and it doesnt solve the staffing problem at all.

says:
August 2, 2012 10:28 pm

i work 12's at Dupont. it rotates between days and nights each week. it just gets hard on the 3 days than off one day than 3 nights. but we get a week long break at the end of the month. its stressful on me and makes me miserable about half way through.

Di says:
August 2, 2012 5:17 pm

TAKE Aa NAP?? We would get fired for doing so. I work in ICU and am forced to work 12 hr shifts- and you only get a 30 minute UNPAID break. The public is not aware of this.

says:
June 11, 2012 5:09 pm

Many nurses have a long commute after working a 12 hour shift. How safe is it for them to be driving when they are exhausted?

says:
May 31, 2012 9:42 pm

12 hours are hard. How about 4 9hour shifts with an hour overlaped between shifts for good report and easy shift changes. Shift changes seem to be a problematic time anyway and this way 3 hours out of 24 hours you would have the shifts overlap. How wonderful would that be!

says:
May 31, 2012 9:25 pm

I have worked both 12 and 8 hours shifts and currently work a swing of 2 8s and 2 12s. I see both sides but will admit on my 12 hour days by hour 10 or so I am exhausted. My pace slows, my minds slows as well as my mood. I think I know my patients just as well in 8 hours as I do 12 hours. The longer day doesn't help you know your patient any better, by 8 hours I would hope you know your patient well. I believe 12 hours was invented to help staffing and shift change more smooth for everyone.

says:
May 22, 2012 10:59 pm

I have worked 8, 10 and 12 hour shifts and can truthfully say that the quality of care by the majority of nurses I work with goes down after 8 hours. The work is fast paced, and in spite of breaks, after 8 hours it is NORMAL to be tired. Nurses who say they like the 12 hour shifts say they like them for the extra time OFF, not because they like to work 12 hours a day. I find 12 hour nurses also less invested in their unit, they work less days, are less informed, less willing to go an extra mile.

says:
February 29, 2012 6:09 pm

I think that a nurse should be allowed to choose if she/he prefers 8 vs 12 hours. Management seems to prefer 12 hours simply because staffing issues are less intense. I have been a nurse for a long while and my general observation is that excellent nurses do not exist anymore. They do not exist. Sad for the profession. I cannot be the only nurse to struggle to get done with an assignment. So much burnout and laughing and joking about job. Leaves one to wonder where the good nurses are.

says:
February 26, 2012 9:11 am

When was the last time you worked bedside? I would leave any hospital that went back to 8 hours (you'll be there for 10hours).

Fabiola says:
February 15, 2012 9:48 pm

I love working 12h shifts and, just for the records, I feel 100% better and do a much better job by my 3rd and last shift. By then I know my patients better than anyone else on the unit! Without talking knowing their family and sometimes learning more than what you wanted to know! I feel like I can recognize changes on my patient's status much quicker and I could tell the time of his meds without looking it up... I guess I really disagree with this article's claims.

says:
December 2, 2011 7:11 am

each to there own, if you (like me) have only worked 12hr shifts in my 12yr nursing career, why would i all of sudden be considered unsafe? and in-effective? i think we shouldnt confuse "management" issues with the shifts we are working, if someone is on 12hrs and not performing / managing / making mistakes i suggest that it is an individual thing, therefore MANAGE it!!

says:
November 22, 2011 7:28 pm

I am a nurse on a med/surg floor and prefer to work x2 16 hour shift (with a day break in between) and x1 hour shift on the weekend, because it provides me the balance that I need to care for my family as well as satisfy my academic needs. The thought of working an 8 hour day, 4 days a week makes me physically ill.

Laurie5b says:
November 16, 2011 12:21 am

I have been a nurse for over 25 yrs and have worked full time 8, 10 and 12 hr shifts with 12 hr shifts the most. I, by far, prefer a 12 hr assignment. Because this gives me a better work/home balance I feel I can work with a more clear mind and give my all to my patients. Working 5 8hr shifts left me drained and feeling like I had no life of my own (my family felt this way, as well).

says:
November 4, 2011 2:09 pm

12 hour shifts are not safe. If administrators only knew how many nurses fall asleep during the 7p-7a shift including their supervisors, they might think twice about forcing people to change their shifts. If people want it thats fine, but many over 40 nurses don't want administrators telling them they will have to work 12h shifts or lose their jobs. This does nothing for employee engagement and assists hospitals in losing their talent and those with the most experience. Offer choice!

12h death says:
September 22, 2011 3:40 pm

We can talk about i till we are blue in the face but emplyers don''t want to hear it nor do they care. 12h shifts are not for everyone, but i guess things wont change until something serious happens and then adminsitrations will scurry to find some way to blame the nurse and not themselves. Hopsital must off both types of shifts for their youner and older collegues and for those who 12h shifts agree with and 8 hour shifts for those who it doesnt. No nurse should ever be forced to work a 12h shif

says:
July 27, 2011 2:20 am

I perfer 8 hour shift better. On any workday I can still go to gym, see a movie, go to the park, help my kids with their homework, attend parent meeting, or just catch up on my sleep. Nurses who work 12 hour shifts tell me they have an extra one or two days off a week. I tell them they just lost three days with only having enough time to work, shower, eat and hopefully get enough sleep.

says:
July 16, 2011 10:13 pm

I have been a nurse for 22 years( I am 43)and the idea of working 8 hour shifts makes me crazy. I have worked 8s and I feel like I am over worked, over tired, abused, and never have a day off. Take away my 12 hour shifts and it is time to quit nursing. I know my limits, I know when I need a break and it's time for a day off, believe me i get slep, can drive my car and can still play with my young children when I get home... give me a break...

ker says:
June 23, 2011 7:45 pm

i prefer 12 hour shifts and prefer only 1 or 2 in a row. the only other choice offered is rotating either day/night or day/evening 8 hour shifts and I don't do well after 9pm. i get defensive when 8 hour people complain about 12 hour people but these 8 hour people seem not to have to rotate shifts so have more of a regular schedule. there are many problems with all options and with different personalities of nurses and the level of stress of the unit.

wackyshift says:
May 25, 2011 10:19 am

I have been a nurse for 25 years and worked all 3 shifts... 12-hr night shift for 12 years now.This has been a killer the last 5 years since I turned 40(over the hill).Iwill soon get out of it, if I make it in two years.I live on a crazy routine ...work 3 nights/wk,sleep 3nights/wk= 6,and 1 day church. Walla!!! that's basically it--- life getting to be dull, boring and depressing.What are we doing???? Well, if I have a million dollars,...I will buy me a LoVEBoAt and escape to Bahama...Bermuda...

says:
April 26, 2011 2:32 pm

I have worked 12 hour shifts now for past 14 years in a very busy fast paced urban ER. I love it. I would dread having to come in 5 days a week. The trick is to take care of your body - exercise, eat healthy. After lunch take a 10 - 30 minutes nap, I usually group my lunch and breaks together. 45- 1 hr. for lunch and 30 mins nap. I then washes my face cold water put on make up and head back to the floor all energized and ready for the rest of my shift.I am often asked If I just come into work.

Give me 12's please says:
April 26, 2011 10:22 am

I work 11pm-7:30am 4 nts/week. Normal schedule: Day off-wake up at 4am-fell asleep very early. Try to nap later but can't. Go to work, get home 9am, relax, sleep for 4 hours-that is all I can ever sleep. Later, take benadryl to sleep-usually can't. Go to work on only 4 hours sleep since 4 am the previous day. By end of shift, only 4 hours sleep in over 53 hours. Go home, sleep 4-6 hours. If I have to work again, by end of shift 8-10 hrs sleep in 75 hrs. Don't work, start all over again. Crazy.

says:
April 26, 2011 1:14 am

I too left nursing after working the night portion of the 12hr shifts. started having blood pressure readings that where very elevated, blood sugar readings that where out of normal due to the increased stress, and was simply unable to sleep during the daytime. I certainly could not perform to the best of my ability, and felt that this was absolutely unfair to those in my care. nursing is stressful by itself, and 12hr shifts are simply not what it is advertised, and promoted to be.

Valerie Petersen says:
April 16, 2011 10:27 pm

I disagree with Justa- 12 hour shifts are NOT safe- study after study shows that they are not safe for patients and they are not healthy for the worker. There are no studies I am aware of that support 12 hour shifts as being a good idea for anybody. The idea of working 3 days a week instead of 5 is seductive, and therein lies the trap. It's bad for our feet, it increases our insulin resistance (nights) and makes us more at risk for cardiovascular disease (67% increase) Those are just 3 points.

Cindy says:
February 19, 2011 11:59 pm

I left medical nursing after 5 yrs, i was 37 because went to 12 hr shifts, after 4 months i had enough, always tired, esp on day two, kids didn't see me before work and going to bed when i got home. I moved to mental health unit that was 8 hr days but now i am 56 yr old and very tired at end of 8 hrs but love nursing, so now the new younger nurses want 12 hour shift, I think a fresher nurse is better for the patients and the patient is why i became a nurse, patient care comes first.

says:
January 7, 2011 12:46 am

I am a 57 year old nurse and my unit manager just informed us that we will be on 12 hours shifts from now on. I had applied for a night shift position prior to this and now being told to go in at 7 pm til 7 am. When I was younger I could do it and bounce back, but now I am fully exhausted after my 8.5 hr shifts. I usually don't get a lunch break and still leave work late since I have charting to complete. I think the healthcare system is so broken. We need a union to save our sanity.

says:
December 15, 2010 2:58 pm

If we worked in an office setting, we would be getting an hour long lunch with a 15 minute morning break. One 30 minute break is not enough. Hospitals are not being forced to give nurses the necessary breaks because they would increase the cost of having additional staff just to cover breaks. All because nurses feel the need to sacrifice and be martyrs instead of standing up for our professional rights.

Justa says:
October 30, 2010 12:12 am

I work three 12s back to back. It's the only way I can do it. I have tried breaking it up but then I am just recovering on in between days and I don't have a life at all. Is it safe, No. But it is good for the bottom line. I have asked for part time at 59 it seems reasonable, but I am told there are no part time positions available "everyone has to work 36 hours. I witness one near miss after another. Until healthcare is fully reimbursed based on outcomes it will never change.

pjbrn says:
October 29, 2010 2:03 pm

1. hour shifts are safe and allows for consistency among fewer caregivers where communication among professionals are passed on from 1 shift to another with less error. The trick is knowing how to schedule your shifts to avoid fatigue. Each nurse has their own fatigue level and some can do more 12 hour shifts back to back then others. The rule should be not to schedule more than two in a row without that particular nurse's agreement.

Tired RN says:
October 27, 2010 3:45 pm

Finally, nurses are discussing the trend of the 12 hr. shifts. We were recently forced to go to all 12 hr. shifts. Myself and 2 other nurses were the only ones to object. At 49 yrs. young,I am one of the "older" nurses now. I don't bounce back phyiscally like I used to. I found myself laughing outloud the other day when the "younger nurses" left work complaining about how exhausted they were after a busy day. Now that they are starting to understand my point, it is too late! Take better care us

TiredRN says:
October 26, 2010 8:25 pm

I went from a Hospital that worked 8.5 hour shift to a Hospital that worked 12 hour shifts. I have to say that I am physically exhausted after 3 1/2 yrs. of working night shift! Our patient ratios are 5-7 per nurse and the NT's have anywhere from 12 to 17 patients each! I am too exhausted to do anything after my 3rd night shift not counting the 4 hour meetings that are scheduled to educate us after we have worked all night. I cuold go on but I am out of room and energy! I luv being a nurse!

Older new RN says:
October 25, 2010 6:56 pm

Studies show 12-hour shifts aren't good under any circumstances, because as the shift wears on, the number of errors increases. Hospitals are under staffing, putting our patients, RNs, and our licenses in danger. Factor in no time for potty breaks, snacks or lunch and you will blow at any time! Not to mention the fact that if you work two 12 hour shifts in a row, you are charting, not clocking out on time, and thus getting only 5-6 hours of sleep at night. RNs are not staying at the bedside!

h2cm says:
October 24, 2010 5:43 am

I now work on the community 9-5, but remember such shifts and split days. My son does 7 - 7. Safety is an issue, it also depends upon breaks and staff nos. to allow breaks to be taken. Thanks for this Donna I'll visit this using the lens of the health care domains model http://hodges-model.blogspot.com/ As you note here I must include physical, mental, + social and political. Locally some staff have had to be re-deployed due to extended shifts. Peter Jones http://hodges-model.blogspot.com/

Sean says:
October 23, 2010 7:03 pm

I think anything in moderation. I do however believe a 16 hr shift - especially scheduled is pushing the limit! The pace of the environment does not allow for safe practice. I don't care how much caffeine you decide to consume. We as professionals need to understand and accept a limit regardless of how convenient the shift may be with scheduling.

Older RN says:
October 21, 2010 9:53 am

I understand younger nurses wnat to have more days off per week but what I don't understand is having one's kids in daycare so many hours a week to accomodate the 12 hr schedule. When my kids were preschool age, I worked a 15-23 shift and my kids were in daycare about 3.5 hrs per day/4 days per wk = 14 hrs/wk vs 12-14 hrs/day in day care 3 days/wk. When they started school, I moved to day shift and was able to get home in time to meet them off the bus. 12 hrs are LONG shifts & hard to work...

starby says:
October 19, 2010 2:45 pm

I have worked 8 hour shifts for years, and recently got hired at a facility that is only 12 hour shifts for the RN's (CNA's and some LPN's have 8 or 10 hour shifts). I LOVE it! I am able to do everything I need to do, AND have time to simply sit and spend time with my patients and their families. The difference, we have a nurse-patient ratio of about 3-4 per nurse. LESS errors are made, better quality of care is given, and ALL the nurses at my facility LOVE their job.

senior nurse says:
October 15, 2010 11:41 am

This article puts blame on the nurse for the terrible working conditions in US hospitals. The issue is hospital management understaffing so severely that conditions are not safe for nurses to take breaks. ANA must advocate for staffing that allows for an extra nurse to take over the care of the patient while the nurse is away from the bedside. With rest breaks and meals 12 hours shifts are safe. Hospitals make money on understaffing, don't continue to blame the bedside nurse.

llou says:
October 15, 2010 10:55 am

There is a problem with some of the research. It simply compares shift lengths as they are currently found -- with no consideration of the amount of break time allowed, etc. Perhaps 12-hour shifts would be safer if there were sufficient staffing to take a break. We also need to look at the number of 12's in a row. A lot more studies need to be done before we will have enough data to make broad decisions. There are more questions to be asked and answered first.

schnattchen says:
October 15, 2010 10:21 am

I've been working for over twenty years in a German hospital with more than 2000 beds in a three-shift-system on an ICU.I think no one could work a 12 hour shift due to the amount of work and the severity of diseases.Sometimes I would like to do for more leisure time in between but in the reality it wouldn't be an option. I think it depends on the requirements and more flexibility would be an option

Marie says:
October 15, 2010 8:51 am

Let's go with the evidence. I know that many nurses find working 12-hour shifts vastly more convenient, but if well-designed, rigorous studies show that it's less safe for our patients and less healthy for ourselves, then let's stop -- and figure out ways to ensure that our 8-hour shifts really are 8 hours long, instead of 8 hours plus time to finish up those last tasks. Or maybe there's some third alternative - 10-hour shifts, with some overlap of personnel between shifts? 6-hour shifts?

says:
October 15, 2010 8:27 am

I have worked as an RN for 35+ years. There have been numerous studies on circadian rhythms, yet when a nurse has difficulty adjusting to work the night shift it would be the exception if they were pulled to the Day shift. We are all individuals. Having worked 8 hr shifts and 12 hr shifts I prefer a 12 hr shift.New nurses working 8 hr shifts usually stay 2 hrs more UNPAID to complete their tasks.We are professionals treat us as such, let us decide what schedule works best!

says:
October 14, 2010 8:20 pm

In May of this year my 40 year old plus colleagues and I were forced to work 12h shifts. Our only option was to quit.We attempted to discuss it with our VP of nursing, but she refused to speak with us. Now everyone is miserable, not to mention tired and exhausted and experienced nurses are looking for other jobs. If hospitals want to be marketable its just not Magnet status that makes them employers of choice, they have to offer choice and flexibilty to their most valuable assets, their nurses.

Jean says:
October 14, 2010 7:46 pm

I've been working in the nursing profession for 16 years, and I have to agree with the tone of this story. I find a 12 hour shift is tiring, and that mistakes are still made, the computeritzed charting has not improved patient care all that much, and the basic problems that abound during the shift; medications and errors, family members in that they are easily forgetting that nurses still have a ratio of 4 to 6 patients to care for, especially, since the pt turnover is tremendous...