Hello all. Welcome to another blog post. I wanted to share what it looks like when I have to work three nursing shifts in a row. For those who may not know I am working as an Adult Emergency Room Nurse at a Level 1 Trauma center. If you are interested keep reading.

“THREE TWELVES in a row.”

In my department we “self schedule” for our required six twelve hour shifts in a two week period. This really means you submit the shifts you want to work and you work the complete opposite. As a new graduate nurse, you can pretty much expect the bottom of the barrel for scheduling. As a result, you may become very familiar with working three twelve hour shifts in a row. I wanted to share what a three day stretch looks like for me.


Let the trainwreck begin… My only positives to my days are usually my gym sessions. I do wake up and hit the gym between 0430 and 0530 as my workouts usually never exceed an hour. I absolutely notice a difference when I workout before a shift. I usually feel settled and calm since I have a chance to shake off the preshift jitters a bit. This particular day, I returned home from the gym at 0000. Once I get home, I will immediately pull out my lunch box (which I pack the night before) and set it out on the counter. If I have time I will eat my brakfast at home after showering, etc. Usually, I will bring breakfast from home and eat it in the parking garage as I like to leave the house around 0610 to get avoid the terrible parking garage traffic.

I usually clock out of work around 1915 and arrive home around 1940. This day I immediately showered, ate dinner, prepped my lunch box for the next day and hit the bed. Onto day two…

day two

Another early morning! Day two I am usually in a fair mood. Once again, I wake up early, hit the gym, return home, shower and take breakfast with me. I follow my usual prework routine in the car by eating my breakfast while listening to music. I then walked in at 0645 like usual. The walk from the parking garage to the employee entrance is about a six minute walk. Once we arrive we have to put on surgical masks and go through COVID screening. Following this, I walk to the Emergency Department for “huddle”.

“Huddle” is just where we line up in the hallway outside of the locker rooms and breakroom, grab out Voceras and listen to announcements. Afterwards, we check the white board to see what section of the ER we are working that day. Spoiler alert, this whole stretch I was in the same area. Then the day begins.. This day was another rough one (typical). By the time I had clocked out for this shift, I was exhausted. I did have to run to the grocery store to grab some snacks and food to prep. Afterwards, I arrived home, showered, prepped some food and snacks quickly and hit the bed.

day three

Day three and I am cranky to say the least. Luckily this third day ended on a Friday (no gym day) so I was able to sleep in. On the third day of a stretch, I usually stumble my way through the day. Lately, shifts have been pretty rough due to COVID. The hospital is pretty full and our ER is too. All of our areas are open, including our hallways beds. I dragged myself out of the hospital this day and was just very relieved to arrive home. Once I finish my three day stretch I usually like to take a slower approach to my post-shift routine. I will use a little bit of time to review my planner, document spending and check on the blog. I definitely had some Oreo Thins too! At the end of a stretch, I will usually got to sleep anytime around 2300.

That is what a three day stretch looks like for me. Stay tuned and I will share what a three night shift stretch is like for me. Thanks for reading.


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