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Nurses more likely to suffer emotional exhaustion by working 12 hour shifts or longer

Date:
September 10, 2015
Source:
University of Southampton
Summary:
Hospital nurses who work longer than 12 hour shifts have a higher risk of wanting to leave their job, are more dissatisfied and more likely to burnout in terms of emotional exhaustion, new research has found.
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Research carried out by NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) Wessex has found that hospital nurses who work longer than 12 hour shifts have a higher risk of wanting to leave their job, are more dissatisfied and more likely to burnout in terms of emotional exhaustion.

Published in the online journal BMJ Open, the study by Chiara Dall'Ora at the University of Southampton examined survey results from a sample of more than 31,000 nurses based across 12 countries in Europe. It found that shifts lasting longer than 12 hours were common in Poland (99%), Ireland (79%) and in England. In England of the 2568 nurses who responded 32 per cent said they worked day shifts lasting 12 hours or more and 37 per cent worked 12 hours or more on night shift.

Nurses who had worked more than 12 hours on their last shift were 50% more likely to be dissatisfied with their job, than nurses working an 8 hour shifts.

Health managers have increasingly favoured 12 hour nursing shifts believing they improve efficiency by reducing the number of shift handovers. Nurses too were believed to prefer them because they allowed them to compress the working week, leaving more day's off-work, reducing commuting costs and allowing more flexibility. But these findings raise serious concerns over higher burnout rates which may pose a risk to the quality and safety of patient care.

Researchers write "Twelve-hour shifts are relatively common in some countries in Europe; nonetheless, these longer shifts are associated with more reports of burnout, dissatisfaction with work schedule flexibility, and intention to leave.

In the context of austerity measures leading to cuts in spending on public services in Europe, it is particularly important for policymakers and managers to have good evidence on which to base decisions on hospital nurse working hours to ensure that the well-being of workers and the quality of care is maintained and nurses retained in practice."

Peter Griffiths, Professor of Health Services Research at the University of Southampton and one of the authors of the report said "This study adds to a growing body of evidence showing that the organisation of shift work in many hospitals may be putting both patients and staff at risk. Longer shifts aren't necessarily bad in themselves but we need to be mindful of increased risks and make sure the effects are closely monitored and pay close attention to other aspects of shift work, such as ensuring proper breaks within and between shifts The low levels of job satisfaction are a surprise as many nurses still seem to prefer this shift pattern."


Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Southampton. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chiara Dall'Ora, Peter Griffiths, Jane Ball, Michael Simon, Linda H Aiken. Association of 12 h shifts and nurses’ job satisfaction, burnout and intention to leave: findings from a cross-sectional study of 12 European countries. BMJ Open, 2015; 5 (9): e008331 DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008331

Cite This Page:

University of Southampton. "Nurses more likely to suffer emotional exhaustion by working 12 hour shifts or longer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150910185107.htm>.
University of Southampton. (2015, September 10). Nurses more likely to suffer emotional exhaustion by working 12 hour shifts or longer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 26, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150910185107.htm
University of Southampton. "Nurses more likely to suffer emotional exhaustion by working 12 hour shifts or longer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150910185107.htm (accessed May 26, 2017).

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