Some nursing student have anxiety about working 12 hours shifts. The thought of working 7a-7p or 7p-7a is very daunting to them. They sometimes wonder how they will be able to work 12 hours shifts without passing out from exhaustion by the end of their day.
Many nurses love their 12 hour work shifts and would not trade them. However, other nurses hate them and prefer 8 hour shifts. Whether a person can handle and be happy working 12 hours shifts really depends on that nurse personally and what they have going on in their life.
For instance, most nurses with school aged children love 8 hour shifts because they are home when their children get out of school and feel like they are able to see their kids more than if they worked 12 hour shifts.
So why do some nurses think 12 hour shifts are so great compared to 8 hours shifts? Are 12 hour shifts hard to work?
Benefits of 12 (twelve) Hour Shifts in Nursing Versus 8 Hours Shifts
- If you are employed full-time (36 hours per week or greater), you only have to work 3 days a week compared to 5 days a week for 8 hour shifts. Furthermore, if you are employed part-time you only have to work 2 days a week compared to 3-4 days a week if you worked 8 hour shifts.
- You have more days off to spend with family and do things that you enjoy.
- Your patients receive more consistency in care. For example, a patient will only have 2 nurses per day (one for day shift and one for night shift) which means less break down in shift to shift report and the nurse will have more time to provide patient care without feeling so “rushed” to get everything done.
- If you drive to work, you will save money on gas because you will not have to drive back and forth so much.
- You will save money on buying scrubs because you don’t have to wear as many during the week.
- You will save money on lunch whether you pack your lunch or buy it.
Here is a video overview of working 12 hour shifts:
Is it Hard Working 12 Hours as Nurse?
It really depends on the person. For most nurse the 12 hours fly by because they are so busy. When thinking about working from 7 in the morning to 7 at night, it sounds very long and tedious but in reality for most nurses it isn’t that bad. Some nurse find that if they worked 8 hours they would be more stressed about no getting everything done before the end of their shift.
Some things that nurses like about their 12 hours shifts is that they can work their 3 12 hours shifts and be done for the rest of the week which gives them time to relax and recharge compared to if they work 5 days a week with only 2 days off.
Overall, working 12 hours shifts depends on how that person can physically and emotionally handle 12 hour shifts.