Nursing Shift Hours- Everything You Need to Know


Nursing shift hours are categorized into four different shift hours- 8 hours working shift, 10 hours working shift, 12 hours working shift, and more than 12 hours working shift. The shift which is of more than 12 hours is usually not done by choice but rather due to emergencies that may arise. Let us know more detail about ‘Nursing Shift Hours’.

Nursing Shift Hours

Nursing Shift Hours

Nurses can choose to work for any of these shifts and if they are working overtime then they get paid more than they usually do. The amount paid is already decided by the law and every hospital, the clinic has to follow it. The shift work allows the nurses to rest and then come the next day feeling better.

This article is going to discuss the nursing shift hours in detail and what are their pros and cons, so let’s start!

8 hours working shift-

This shift might be the most common shift that we all know. It is much preferred by nurses as well. Who doesn’t love the normal 8 hours of work time and then the relaxing time you are left with?

But do you want to know its pros and cons? If you’re still reading this, then of course you do!

Pros of 8 hours shift-

  1. Good rest– A nurse’s job is quite hectic and everyone knows this. You all must have seen nurses running around the hospitals continuously, so they do need a good rest to start working again. This shift provides ample rest to nurses, and they can start their work the next day with freshness.
  2. Family time– If you are one of those who can not go without seeing your family, then an 8 hours shift is the best for you. The nurses who have their families and do not want to separate from them for long then this is your shift to work in.
  3. Social butterfly– If you are a person who is socially very active and needs friends, family, parties, etc then this shift is the best for you. It saves you a lot of time to fulfill your social needs.
  4. Mental health- This shift is considered the best for mental health. It is because nurses get enough time to rest their minds, do things they like without disrupting their lifecycle.
  5. Work-life balance– The work-life balance is managed completely fine in this shift. You work for 8 hours and then rest and spend time with your family. 
  6. Satisfaction among patients- The quality of work done in an 8 hours shift is better than in any other shift. It will surely make your patients more satisfied if you greet them happily and freshly. 

Cons of 8 hours shift-

 1. Rush hours– The nurses working 8 hours shifts usually face a lot of rush. There are a lot of patients, and you will have a hard time handling them.

 2. Flexibility– The nurses working 10 hours shifts or 12 hours shifts have more flexibility in choosing their working hours. It is due to the fewer options, and most probably you will get your preferred shift.

 3. More travel– The nurses working 8 hours shifts have to go daily and come back to their workplace. If you live far away from your workplace then this shift will not suit you.

These were the pros and cons of working an 8 hours shift. You should further read about 10 hours and 12 hours shifts to decide the best shift for yourself.

10 hours working shift-

Next comes the 10 hours working shift. This shift is loved by the nurses who prefer working extra some days and then getting more offs at the end of the week. This shift gives three days off and four working days which is quite manageable. So, let’s head to its pros and cons!

Pros of 10 hours shift-

1. More offs– If you are one of those who love to have more offs except the weekend then this shift is made for you. It will give you three offs rather than two and a lot of time to rest.

2. Flexibility- The management has fewer nurses working for 10 hours so, you can choose the time in which you want to work with little to no issues.

3. Less time spent on traveling– This shift will make you come to the hospital for four days only and the 10 hours shift also saves you from the traffic jams. It is because most people are in their homes after their 8 hours shift.

4. Fewer errors– The more the shift changes, the more are the chances of errors. These errors can be drastic and do devastating things so, the fewer the changes, the fewer chances of errors.

Cons of working 10 hours shift-

1. Long-duration- The work timing of 10 hours can be a lot for nurses. They are attending to patients and assisting doctors for such long durations which isn’t healthy for them.

2. Mental health– The studies have found poor mental health in nurses working 10 hours shifts due to the excessive burden and less rest daily.

3. Patient satisfaction– While working long durations, nurses are completely tired and it can cause mistakes in their work. These mistakes can make the patients complain and cause less satisfaction among them.

4. Exhausting days– The nurses are so overwhelmed with their work that they are exhausted after their shifts. This can impact their physical health and their relationships outside the workplace.

These were some of the major pros and cons of working a 10 hours shift. The pros and cons might not seem too good to choose this shift, but you should read further to know more about the other shifts.

12 hours work shift-

There is a lot of hype about a 12 hours work shift among nurses. Some find this shift very useful and easy while some find this shift extremely tiring and exhausting. So, if you are deciding to choose this shift then you have to know its pros and cons beforehand.

Pros of 12 hours shift-

1. Fewer working days- The nurses working 12 hours shifts do get more days off than nurses working 8 and 10 hours shifts. The fewer working days is a pure gain for them.

2. More time on weekends– The nurses working 12 hours shifts can rest on the weekends, do their chores, and spend time with family without any distraction.

3. Building relationships- The nurses have themselves realized that by working 12 hours shifts, they can communicate better with patients. This has helped them in developing a relationship with their patients and has made their working time better.

4. Flexibility– This shift also offers flexibility like a 10 hours shift. The availability is slightly less so you can choose your favorable timing.

5. Less rush– The nurses working in this shift have to go through less traffic and less rush in the hospitals. It might not be the case everywhere, and it is not certain as patients can come at any hour of the day.

Cons of working 12 hours shift-

1. More mistakes– Nurses get so tired while working 12 continuous hours that mistakes become common. Even the studies have proved this, so one should consider this before choosing a 12 hours shift.

2. Less job satisfaction– Nurses working 12 hours shifts have found their job causing less satisfaction due to the excessive rush and burden.

3. Turnover- Since there is more burden in working a 12 hours shift, there are chances of increased turnover. Not every person can handle so much pressure thus they can try to leave the job.

4. Work-life balance– Even though the nurses have day offs but still this shift can harm their work-life balance. This can harm their relationships which can affect their work.

These pros and cons must have given some clarity to you. Although there is a shift where nurses work more than 12 hours and that shift comes into existence only when there is an emergency like accidents etc. Such work time is considered overtime, and the nurses are paid more for it. 


Now we have learnt ‘Nursing Shift Hours’, The nursing shift hours are differentiated into various shifts. They can choose to work 8 hours, 10 hours or 12 hours according to their preferences. The timings of 10 hours and 12 hours might sound a lot but many nurses love working these shifts.

Lastly, it all depends on you. If you can take the burden that comes with longer shifts then you can choose them. Always decide the shift according to your stamina, your and your patient’s well-being in your mind.

Some faqs related to nurses shift hours-

  1. Do hospitals have 8 hours working shifts?

Ans- Yes, hospitals have 8 hours working shifts even though the management prefers the longer shifts.

  1. Is working a 12 hours shift difficult?

Ans- If you can not handle a lot of stress then this shift can be difficult for you.

  1. Is a 10 hours shift better than a 12 hours shift?

Ans- Both the shifts are tiring than the 8 hours shift, so there is no excessive difference between them.

  1. Why do nurses prefer a 12 hours shift?

Ans- The nurses prefer 12 hours shifts due to more offs, better relationships with patients, etc.

Nursing Shift Hours- Everything You Need to Know

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