Twelve-hour nursing shifts are a dang...

Twelve-hour nursing shifts are a danger to patients | OPINION |...

There are 47 comments on the Asheville Citizen-Times story from Mar 11, 2008, titled Twelve-hour nursing shifts are a danger to patients | OPINION |.... In it, Asheville Citizen-Times reports that:

Regarding the problems at Haywood Regional Medical Center : It is unfair to blame nurses for the big mess at HRMC.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Asheville Citizen-Times.

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Kaibab

Pangburn, AR

#1 Mar 12, 2008
Keep up your complaining and you will be replaced by illegal aliens. In case you haven't heard, these people are machines and love sub-standard pay. Better yet, your congressional reps want to pass the Skills Bill which will allow more foreigners in this country to do the very job you are complaining about. Its called the war on the middle class and you will need a soldier's mentality to fight back in order to save your standard of living and way of life.

“Thank You Veterans!”

Since: Mar 07

Texas & WNC

#2 Mar 12, 2008
Actually, the 12 hour shifts are worked by police officers, fire fighters, and many other professions. I work at a chemical plant - 12 hour shifts. A lot of these professions went to the shift because of employees' requests to do so. On a rotating 12 hour shift - you work 14 days out of 28. With eight days off before you start a new 28 day rotation.

Do you actually think the nurses are more exhausted on the 11th hour than say a policeman or firefighter??

Heck, we process "controlled explosions" to make our products, and if it's not done to perfection, could cause a disaster 1000 times worse than the sugar factory explosion recently. We have all become accustomed to the shift work and its demands.

Would you rather have a nurse that has had to work a double - 16 hours - dispense that medication???
Rijohn BlkMtn

United States

#3 Mar 12, 2008
Many of the nurses I know personally love their 12-hour shifts, especially when they can work a 3 or 4 day work week. In addition, the 12 hour shift often allows for shift overlap which often increases the continuity of care.
shocked at poor care

Wilkesboro, NC

#4 Mar 12, 2008
Cry me a river!!! How many other professions work 12 hour shifts??? Nurses are not the only ones. Nurses go to school and pursue this profession knowing that they will have to possibly work 12 hour shifts. If the indivual can't handle that then they should not be a nurse. We are all tired when we work but that does not give the right to make such valid mistakes that will cause the death of an indivual. Get a new profession and quite crying and complaining.
Nurse

Auburn, AL

#5 Mar 12, 2008
It isn't the 12-hour shifts that are emotionally and physically draining. It's the never-ending complaints and constant threat of potential lawsuits from family members.
Picture the well-meaning retired factory-worker, the C.N.A., the momentarily sober alcoholic son of dear, sweet "mama." Mama fell at home. She broke her hip and lay on the floor for three days because she couldn't get to the phone and dear, sweet alcoholic son was too busy drinking to check on her...now she's dehydrated and malnourished and Bubba is all in a tizzy because the doctors have to wait until mama recovers sufficient strength to survive surgery. Of course, it's the fault of the nurses and the hospital and he's threatening to sue because we're "neglecting mama!"
Along with the retired factory workers, the C.N.A.'s seem to have more knowledge of medicine and safe patient-care practices, too.
None of the aforementioned people are qualified to make the judgments that they do. They simply hang out in their "loved one's" room, 24/7, becoming more tired and stressed by the hour - they can't seem to understand that when you're sick, having constant visitors is exhausting and stressful. The patient wouldn't dream of telling his visitors to leave, as that might make him seem ungrateful and he has enough to worry about right now. Visitors tend to cuss me when I ask them to leave. Patients thank me.
I love my job. My patients are wonderful. However, I cannot, and will not, tolerate their abusive friends and family members for the next 25 years...
local

Inman, SC

#6 Mar 12, 2008
Nurse wrote:
It isn't the 12-hour shifts that are emotionally and physically draining. It's the never-ending complaints and constant threat of potential lawsuits from family members.
Picture the well-meaning retired factory-worker, the C.N.A., the momentarily sober alcoholic son of dear, sweet "mama." Mama fell at home. She broke her hip and lay on the floor for three days because she couldn't get to the phone and dear, sweet alcoholic son was too busy drinking to check on her...now she's dehydrated and malnourished and Bubba is all in a tizzy because the doctors have to wait until mama recovers sufficient strength to survive surgery. Of course, it's the fault of the nurses and the hospital and he's threatening to sue because we're "neglecting mama!"
Along with the retired factory workers, the C.N.A.'s seem to have more knowledge of medicine and safe patient-care practices, too.
None of the aforementioned people are qualified to make the judgments that they do. They simply hang out in their "loved one's" room, 24/7, becoming more tired and stressed by the hour - they can't seem to understand that when you're sick, having constant visitors is exhausting and stressful. The patient wouldn't dream of telling his visitors to leave, as that might make him seem ungrateful and he has enough to worry about right now. Visitors tend to cuss me when I ask them to leave. Patients thank me.
I love my job. My patients are wonderful. However, I cannot, and will not, tolerate their abusive friends and family members for the next 25 years...
I agree.

Nurses are picked at more than waitresses and some 12- hour shifts ARE just too much!

Anyone who criticizes a nurse for being over-exhausted after 12 hours probably hasn't had to be nurse in a busy ER or clinic or nursing home lately.

Many health care workers, including doctors, are expected to have superhuman abilities to work long hours without sufficient time off to rest.

I admire the young ones who can do it, but it is very hard on the seasoned ones.

What is more despicable than long SCHEDULED hours are the administrators that MANDATE a nurse stay over when she/he hadn't been expecting to. There should be a better back-up plan than that, because it truly DOES put patients at risk. It is the lazy solution to the problem.
Granny

Huntersville, NC

#7 Mar 12, 2008
I don't know who is more abused: nurses or teachers. I have never had the fortitude to do either job, but I admire the people who do. Just think of having to deal with 20-30 wriggly little kids all day. Or trying to deal with a worried family. We can never thank them enough for what they do.(Or pay them enough!)
Amused

Lincolnton, NC

#8 Mar 12, 2008
How many different ways are we gonna dance around the actual issue..Surely there aren't any more bogus explanations for what ocurred.
local

Inman, SC

#9 Mar 12, 2008
Amused wrote:
How many different ways are we gonna dance around the actual issue..Surely there aren't any more bogus explanations for what ocurred.
It seems like there are many issues- not just one at that hospital.

The problems that are the result of nurses working with brain-numbing fatigue is a national issue that all potential patients need to know about.
HannahRN

Richardson, TX

#10 Jul 29, 2008
The choice whether to work 12 hour shifts have been taken away from nurses at many hospitals in many states. My license is on the line. It is my duty to practice safely according to state board of nursing standards, ethical standards, and my own judgement.
What I see is nurses so burnt out by day three of their 12 hour shifts, their main focus is getting out on time. Patient's needs are being neglected. My nurse manager says 12 hour shifts are mandatory for staffing. Since when did staffing dictate decision making in nursing? I mean, it may happen every day, but is it how you want your loved one's health care needs prioritized... according to what helps staffing?
In the end, it doesn't help staffing. The nurses that love 12 hour shifts happily stay. Those of us that don't, quietly leave the hospital.
What

Lincolnton, NC

#11 Jul 29, 2008
HannahRN wrote:
The choice whether to work 12 hour shifts have been taken away from nurses at many hospitals in many states. My license is on the line. It is my duty to practice safely according to state board of nursing standards, ethical standards, and my own judgement.
What I see is nurses so burnt out by day three of their 12 hour shifts, their main focus is getting out on time. Patient's needs are being neglected. My nurse manager says 12 hour shifts are mandatory for staffing. Since when did staffing dictate decision making in nursing? I mean, it may happen every day, but is it how you want your loved one's health care needs prioritized... according to what helps staffing?
In the end, it doesn't help staffing. The nurses that love 12 hour shifts happily stay. Those of us that don't, quietly leave the hospital.
I guess my daughter is fortunate with her 12 hour shift schedule. She's only ever had to work 2 in a row every other weekend. The shift is terrific for her. She gets every other weekend off. She certainly had to learn quickly on her double shift weekend that Saturday nights were only for rest and not a social life. She reserves that for her two four day weekends free. Other days off during the week provide her the ease of getting things taken care of that a normal full time M-F schedule would not allow including college. Your mention of 3 12 hour shifts in a row would certainly not appeal to her at all. We've all learned that her limit is definitely two in a row!
Cheryl H RN

Chandler, AZ

#12 Nov 24, 2008
I have been asked to take a job working 12 hour shifts, in an Urgent Care setting, i swore never, never would i ever agree, now i sit here and think OMG i will hate my life and i know it is wrong, i have been in nursing for 20+ years and i was told by an old sage that after 8 hours, you do not care, all of us, we are human, we do not care, so why I ask do we even consider this?

Since: Nov 08

The Mountains of WNC

#13 Nov 24, 2008
Thank you to all you wonderful nurses who work those 12 hour shift. Who put up with all the b.s. from ungrateful patients and family members. Who have to bow at the feet of the physician who doesn't have a clue about what is really going on with his/her patients. But most of all, thank you for caring, in spite of all you have to endure. You are truly angels and I admire you all for the work you do under circumstances that are far from ideal. God bless you all.
Rachel

Calumet City, IL

#14 Jan 12, 2009
I just worked two 16 hour shifts back to back and I've been a nurse for 6 months. It was the only way to finish everything because you can't finish in an 8 hour shift and the next shift doesn't want work dumped on them. The second one, I got 15 minutes for dinner between them. And I still stayed a little over to finish up. What else can I do? We're so short that I have seven patients a lot and even thought I am in medsurg, some of my patients are very unstable, like on the bubble of going to ICU. So I have to spend extra time on them--ICU is too full to keep patients there very long. The 16 hour thing is really wearing me down, but I think it makes me a better nurse. I know my patients better and I have more time to make sure EVERYTHING happened that was supposed to happen.
I BELIEVE

Orlando, FL

#15 Jan 13, 2009
12 Hours nursing! I think my nipples would get sore.
Amazing people

Australia

#16 May 21, 2009
Nurses are amazing people.

We are only doing 8 hour shifts at my hospital, but the rosters are late-early-late-early for 6 days. The role of the nurse is so incredibly draining, by the end of the day all I can think about is getting home and climbing into bed for an hour. I appreciate that other professions do 12 hours shifts, and I've done that as a TA in 48 degrees celius & 70% humidity and still I was never as tired then as I am now after my nursing shifts.

My partner is a cop, and he spends at least 50% of most his days driving around. Nurses spend 100% of their day on their feet, physically rolling patients, always assessing their well being hoping to dear god that no one dies on your shift, and worst yet that you see the signs that they're going down and hopefully you'll be able to intervene.
mohamed

Sudan

#17 Nov 11, 2009
any one from you have nursing and medical standerd send to my e-mail [email protected]
Nicola

Alliance, OH

#20 Dec 12, 2009
I worked 5-16Hr shifts a week for 10 months and would have clocked 92,000 a year if my private duty case had not ended. It was stressful beyond imagination but this is what you signed up for as a nurse. Why are so many dullards still doing this thinking its a high-paid cakewalk? Where are your balls to the walls tenacity? Or balls at all for that matter? LOL. I love 16HR shifts and prefer them but I am a vet of 16 years of this and you don't know what your talking about your still a rookie sweetie. What you were poorly unaware of is that you needed to find yourself a Nurse mentor to give you a quick schooling on what to expect in the profession before you signed up. Sounds to me like you still need to do this to keep your sanity. No one understands like another nurse. I suggest you find yourself a nurse messageboard or nurse friend for venting from here on in.
Buncy

Mills River, NC

#21 Dec 12, 2009
I remember at Mission-St. Jo's how the sneaky nurses did an elderly patient who was senile and incontinent. I watched it with my own eyes. The nurse who was supposed to change the patient's diaper would sneak out at the end of her shift leaving the patient with a dirty diaper which should have been changed an hour or more, sometimes two hours, before she left.

The new shift would come in and seeing the dirty diaper had been that way for some time would raise hell about it. Then they got so they wouldn't change it either, and so the family had to do it. I saw it happen over and over again, until the patient developed horrible lesions on her buttocks and the skin just peeled away. After she left the hospital special apple pectin bandages had to be applied to heal her buttocks, and the painful condition went on for months before her buttocks healed. The family made photos of the wounds, and when the hospital bill came for the medigap, they refused to pay. On my advice.

That little bit of malicious negligence cost the hospital over $10,000. And was well-deserved. They should have been sued for malpractice.

Oh, and the other part of the story is how many procedures, medicines, and supplies the hospital charged on a bill which they padded to enable them to steal. That accounted for the other $10,000+ the hospital never collected because of their fraud and deceit. I sent them a letter and DARED them to sue on that bill. The family never heard another word.

Since: Dec 09

Boone, NC

#22 Dec 12, 2009
There are bad nurses just as there are bad people in any field. I have been a RN for twenty years and the twelve hour shift has never affected my ability to care for a patient. The bottom line is you are good at what you do or you are not.

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