First 12 Hour Shifts (Medical Telemetry)

Hello everyone! Today I will be sharing my experience completing my first 12-hour shifts ever! As a Nurse Extern, we are required to work our nurse’s schedule. My first rotation is in Medical Telemetry and this week I ended up working Monday and Tuesday from 0700 to 1930. This post will be a quick summary of my first two shifts!

My First 12 Hour Shifts.png

  • 7 a.m. and we’re short-staffed

I expected this, but I enjoyed juggling five patients alongside my nurse. Even though I cannot pass meds, I have made it my personal responsibility to know hat medications each of my five patients are on and what they are for. This has paid off so far, because I ended up educating a family member on their loved one’s medications! Overall, I have just enjoyed juggling different patients at one time and being short-staffed was a good challenge.

  • Lunch is different everyday.

I expected this as well. Lunch depends on what is happening with your patients and if you’ve completed what you need to for the time being. Monday, I had lunch at 1230, whereas Tuesday, I had lunch at 1330. I will admit that I prefer having lunch around 1300 or 1400…

  • Orders…Tons of Orders

The orders never start pouring in through EPIC. Orders from the hospitalist, the PA on board, the NP… Orders are pouring in all the time, which keeps you on your toes. One thing I’ve tried to do is to understand why a provider is putting in certain orders. I have found this has helped me to understand the “grand design”.

  • Drama!

What’s new? At this point, I don’t even know! I don’t like drama, so I have no idea why in the world I chose nursing! 😂

  • Case management and social work are awesome

Social work and case management are awesome and play a fantastic role in patient care. I never realized how busy and important they are until this week. I appreciate them much more!

  • How I felt after 12 hours.

After the first shift I felt fine. I came home, showered, ate dinner and went to bed. The next night, I was so tired I did not even eat dinner. That is not very healthy considering I had not eaten in five hours. I am a little worried how I will get through next week with three twelves in a row! I plan on sharing my tips for getting through twelve hour shifts soon!


Overall, I have enjoyed my externship experience so far! Even though I do not want to take care of adults, I enjoy nursing and am so grateful for this experience. I have been humbled every day. There is nothing more humbling than a patient who just experienced four seizures using their last bit of strength to say thank you…I am so grateful to be in this position at 19 years old…




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