This April 4 Nursing Spectrum cover story examines the pros and cons of the 12-hour shift.
From increased schedule flexibility to sleep deprivation, nurses have long debated the costs and benefits of the long shift.
DC/Maryland/Virginia recruiters share how the availability of this schedule impacts recruitment, retention and bedside care in their hospitals.
Amy Foy, RN, BSN, PHR, CHCR
Harbor Hospital, Baltimore
Harbor Hospital has used 12-hour shifts for several years. Our nursing staff love them. Working three shifts a week allows our staff more flexibility in establishing the good work/life balance they need.
We now have higher acuity patients who are more demanding emotionally and physically. Three 12-hour shifts provides nurses with more time away to recharge their bodies and minds. As our nursing population has aged, many find these shifts exhausting. However, when asked, they are still convinced that working three shifts a week provides more time at home.
The 12-hour shifts provide the balance our nurses want and need to juggle their busy lives.
Deborah Rowe, RN, MS, PHR, CHCR
The majority of our shifts are eight hours. There are 12-hour shifts, and they do appeal to a number of our per diem staff. They are a positive factor in the recruitment and retention of our staff. The 12-hour shifts are sought and mirror hospital staffing patterns as well as some of our nursing centers staffing patterns.
Our per diem nurses favor them because it is not an eight-hour shift nor the length of a double (16-hour shift). Some employees like to do two 12-hour shifts and two eight-hour shifts to get their 40 hours in a week and only have to work four days.
The key part is we have the opportunity to offer staffing needs that mirror the needs of the RN.