Before becoming a registered nurse, many nursing students are apprehensive about the rigors of a 12 hour workday. Many in America are accustomed to working a regular Mon-Fri 9 to 5 schedule. There are pros and cons to working 12 hour shifts, but the good outweighs the bad. Let me give you a few reasons why.

3 Days vs 5 Days

When you work a 12 hour shift you will only be going to work three days a week rather than five days a week. This allows you to spend three days at work and four days at home. Sure you’re going to be exhausted those three days, but it’s worth it knowing that you have four days at home. A benefit of the three day workweek is that you can take short vacations without needing to call in to work.

Saving Money

By only going to work three days instead of five you can actually save quite a bit of money. First there is the cost of gas and vehicle maintenance. You will drive considerably less miles by only going to work three times per week. You can also save money because you will need to pack or buy lunch less. You can even save money on nursing scrubs. You can have three of them ready to use for the entire week. By working five days you will have to use, wash then reuse and eventually replace your nursing scrubs more frequently.


Patients may get better care when nurses work a three day 12 hour shift. The reason is that a patient will only see two nurses (12 x 2 = 24) rather than seeing three (8 x 3 = 24). This leads to more consistency in care. Nurses also will spend more time caring for their patients since they won’t have to spend time charting and reporting to get things ready for the next shift.

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