Why 12-Hour Nursing Shifts Rock

Sure, twelve hours seems impossibly long. Most people barely make it through eight-hour shifts, and that’s with lunches that “accidentally” run long and extended coffee breaks.

3 min read

But those people are also sitting around all day, Monday through Friday, with their eyes glued to computer monitors and usually have very little schedule flexibility. Starting your career as an RN and working three or four 12-hour shifts a week could be the best thing that ever happened to you.

Amazing Flexibility

Although you can choose to working in a nursing specialty that requires a traditional Monday through Friday work week, many specialties offer non-traditional hours. Nurses are scheduled to work three or four shifts per week, so the other days are theirs to do with as they please. Not only does this mean more free time for you, but it also allows you to schedule those pesky dentist and eye appointments when the doctors aren’t bouncing from appointment to appointment on busy Saturdays. And do you realize how awful grocery shopping on Saturday or Sunday is? Use your Tuesday afternoons to enjoy less crowded and infinitely less stressful shopping excursions. Instead of using your ever-precious vacation days to go visit an out-of-town relative for a day, you can put in a request for that time off.

Sitting is Unhealthy

It’s likely that you’ve read (or have at least seen) the reports that sitting is unhealthy, so this probably isn’t news to you. Some reports site constant sitting as unhealthy as smoking. And that could be worrisome if you were spending your 12-hour shifts sitting in front of a computer. But lucky for you, being a nurse requires constant movement and activity. Instead of getting a sore back and nearly arthritic joints, you are on your feet and going from bedside to bedside. Not only do your shifts ensure that you aren’t sitting, but you will be able to easily fit in the recommended 10,000 steps a day to stay fit and healthy.

Your Patients Aren’t Bouncing Around

If you were working an 8-hour shift, one patient could have at least three different nurses taking care of him or her in a 24-hour period. Patient care requires consistency, and there is a lot less room for error when a single nurse is caring for a patient instead of three. During your shift change, you don’t have to worry about important information getting lost between multiple nurses. When you arrive back on shift, you don’t have to worry about patients being flustered after being transferred between different nurses over and over again.

A Longer Break

Very few jobs exist without some levels of stress, and it’s hard to recuperate when you’re right back in the office after only a few hours at home, most of which is spent asleep. Working longer but fewer shifts means you get longer breaks. Instead of organizing your shopping, relaxing and socializing within just two days, you have three or four days to do with as you please. You may even be able to work all of your shifts in the beginning of the week and enjoy three or four days off in a row.

Time to Continue Your Education

Not many people consider spending six years in college exciting. That’s part of the reason so many students choose accelerated nursing programs that only last about 16 months. After you’ve earned a BSN and started working as a nurse, you have the perfect opportunity to continue your education and earn a master’s degree or a PhD. You can take classes, study for exams and attend labs and clinicals on your days off. If you had traditional 8-hour, 5-day shifts, you would only be able to take evening classes, which could mean your continued education will take longer.

Are you ready to start an amazing career and enjoy a better schedule? Find a nursing school to start your education today.