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19 Sep 2018 7 Respondents
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By Vanessa Peutherer
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HEALTH PROFESSIONALS DEBATE - DELIVERING SAFE CARE - IMPROVING QUALITY CARE / STAFFING ISSUES / RESILIENCE/SELF CARE - 8 HOUR V 12 HOUR SHIFT

HEALTH PROFESSIONALS DEBATE - DELIVERING SAFE CARE - IMPROVING QUALITY CARE / STAFFING ISSUES / RESILIENCE/SELF CARE - 8 HOUR V 12 HOUR SHIFT


In todays' fast-paced health care culture, with limited staff resources and increased complex care, working a 12 hour  shift has become an attractive 'on the face of it' option and now the 'norm' for many managers rostering,  and health-care workers alike. This 12 hour shift pattern is especially prevalent in acute clinical areas.

This pattern has replaced the normal 8 hour shift (previously worked by nurses and other allied health professionals /  care workers throughout the NHS).  In fact, it is not unusual to come across nurses who have never worked an 8 hour shift during their careers.

But is the 12 hour shift a help or an hindrance to safe and effective quality care and positive staff well-being?

There are many perceived benefits to working a 12 hour shift, for example,  for managers it enables easier shift cover. The positives are especially prevalent for staff members. These benefits include:

  • More days off
  • More opportunity to work overtime shifts so income is increased
  • Continuity of care
  • Staff can work another job on their days off
  • More flexible for child care, in some cases,  as a full time equivalent would only work 3 days out of 7 (instead of 5) normally.
  • More time with family and friends

However, there are also disadvantages to working these 12 hour shifts, as well as emerging evidence which suggests an associated,  potentially higher mortality rate for those in certain patient groups, along with higher levels of burnout and fatigue prevelence. These findings were more likely to occur where these 12 hour shifts are ingrained and common-place.  Perceived disadvantages of working 12hr shifts include:

  • Less time to de-brief with other team members during the cross-over period
  • Nurses reporting fatigue and exhaustion (blogging sites and research surveys)
  • Limited sleep between shifts (5.5hrs average)
  • Fragmented sleep patterns
  • Less time worked with other members of the team, effecting team cohesiveness and team spirit resulting in the possibility of fragmented care and poor communication
  • Less awareness of ward changes in policy, procedure
  • According to Sherman, (2013) ...'there is research to support that the likelihood of a nurse making a mistake is 3 times greater for nurses who work 12 hour tours versus 8 hours.'
  • [ and ]... 'recent research indicates that mortality for selected conditions like pneumonia were higher in hospitals where nurses reported longer shifts.'
  • An evaluative literature review report carried out by the National Nursing Research Unit (NNRU) , 2015, commisioned by NHS England shwed that, after a review of the available evidence, on prevelance, views and impact, there was a general negative effect associated with 12 hour shifts. These negative effects mainly centred around fatigue and the subsequent effects for patients, nurses and patients alike. (Ball et al. , 2015).

Interestingly, a recent study,  (file:///Users/User/Downloads/12%20shifts%20BMJ%20sept%202015.pdf)  appeared in the BMJ - ' Association of 12 h shifts and nurses’ job satisfaction, burnout and intention to leave: findings from a cross-sectional study of 12 European countries ' Dall’Ora C, et al. (2015);  found that despite perceived benefits of 12 hour shifts, nurses working these shifts were more likey to report job dissatisfaction, increased intention to leave job and adverse well-being such as burnout. Although this study method is limited in its ability to establish a direct causal relationship, these are interesting outcome findings and are a concern in terms of potential implications.  These findings, which support other study results, consequnetially fuel the safety debate further.

What do you think?

Should 12 hour shifts be abandoned ?

What are the implications for patients and staff,  if the 12 hours shift continues to grows in popularity ? Equally, what are the implications for patients and staff if the 8 hour shift returns as a norm, in place of this long haul shift pattern ?

Responding to this poll will allow for your considered comments to be fed directly into your e-portfolio, to enable you to evidence reflective activity.

Sources http://www.emergingrnleader.com/12-hournursingshift/

Research References

Ball J, Maben J, Murrells T, Day T, Griffiths P (2014) ‘12-hour shifts: prevalence, views and impact’. National Nursing Research Unit, King’s College London

Dall’Ora C, Griffiths P, Ball J, et al. Association of 12 h shifts and nurses’ job satisfaction, burnout and intention to leave: findings from a crosssectional study of 12 European countries. BMJ Open 2015;5:e008331. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015- 008331

Geiger-Brown, J. & Trinkoff, M. (2010).  Is it time to pull the plug on 12-hour tours: Part 1. The evidence.  Journal of Nursing Administration, 40 (3) 100-102.

Trinkoff, M., Johantgen, M., Storr, C.L., Gurses, A.P., Liang, Y & Han, K. (2011). Nurses’ work schedule characteristics, nurse staffing and patient mortality. Nursing Research, 60 (1) 1-8.

 

It is proposed that the 12 hour shift should be discontinued on day shifts, and nurses and other allied health care professionals should return to 8 hour shift patterns

Gender

Agreement
Disagreement