Feb 23, 2024

Considering 12-Hour Shifts: Pros & Cons for Travelers

One aspect of travel healthcare that often divides opinions among travelers is the choice between 12-hour shifts and shorter, more frequent shift options. In this blog post, we will delve into the pros and cons of working 12-hour shifts in healthcare, helping you make an informed decision about the most suitable schedule for your lifestyle and career goals as a travel healthcare provider.

Pros of 12-Hour Shifts:

Extended Time Off: A fundamental component of patient communication is the enhancement of empathetic communication skills. Empathetic communication allows healthcare professionals to connect with patients on a profound level, offering comfort and assurance. By acknowledging and validating patients’ feelings, travel healthcare professionals can cultivate a supportive environment conducive to healing and trust.

pros and cons of working 12-hour shifts in healthcareReduce Your Commute: With fewer workdays, travelers can decrease the frequency of commuting, saving time and energy. Who wouldn’t mind skipping your morning commute a couple days a week?

Fewer Shift Changes: Working 12-hour shifts means fewer transitions between shifts, reducing the number of handovers and potential miscommunications. This can contribute to a more cohesive and streamlined work environment, enhancing overall patient care and nursing efficiency.

Enhanced Work-Life Balance: Fewer workdays per week can contribute to an improved work-life balance. In your off time you can visit loved ones, build friendships in your new city or take time to relax.

Deep Patient Connections: Longer shifts allow for more extended and meaningful patient interactions, fostering stronger provider-patient relationships. This deeper connection not only enhances the quality of care delivered but also contributes to improved patient satisfaction and outcomes.

Cons of 12-hour Shifts

Physical and Mental Fatigue: Working 12-hour shifts can be physically and mentally demanding, especially during consecutive days. The intensity of 12-hour shifts, coupled with the demands of being a traveling healthcare provider, could increase the risk of burnout over time.

Limited Flexibility: Longer shifts may limit your flexibility in adapting to unexpected changes in your schedule or personal life, making it challenging to accommodate last-minute appointments, social gatherings, or emergencies.

pros and cons of working 12-hour shifts in healthcareImpact on Health: Extended work hours may contribute to health issues such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and increased stress levels, which can have long-term consequences on both physical and mental wellbeing. The irregular sleep patterns associated with 12-hour shifts may disrupt your circadian rhythm, leading to difficulties in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Strain on Work-Life Balance: Despite having more consecutive days off, the longer work hours may still strain work-life balance for some travel healthcare workers. The intensity and duration of shifts can impede the ability to fully engage in personal activities, hobbies, or time with loved ones after working a long shift.

Choosing between 12-hour shifts and alternative schedules is a personal decision that depends on individual preferences, lifestyle, and career goals. Travelers must carefully weigh the pros and cons of working 12-hour shifts in healthcare to find the balance that suits them best. Understanding the implications of different schedules is essential for a successful and fulfilling travel healthcare experience.

No matter the schedule you’re searching for, Aequor’s family of travel healthcare recruiters are ready to help you find your next assignment. Visit the Aequor Talent Portal to browse our open positions and find an assignment that fits your scheduling preferences today!

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