The Negative Impacts of the 12-Hour Shifts in Nurses

The Negative Impacts of the 12-Hour Shifts in Nurses, Patients and Healthcare Organizations
Ly Dao
George Brown College
The Negative Impacts of the 12-Hour Shifts in Nurses, Patients and Healthcare Organizations
The nurses do not sleep anymore in the wards of the hospital for them to be near to the patients. However, never was it until after the occurrence of the World War II that the nursing began to adopt the 8-hour day standard shift. The different hospitals started to implement in the 1970s the 12-hour shift at the time of the national shortage of nursing as a means of retaining the nurses. During the recent time, it was found by the researchers that about 75% of the total hospital nurses are working in shifts of 12 hours (Townsend, 2013). According to Stimpfel, Sloane, and Aiken (2012), the 12-hour shifts of nursing or even longer at times tend to be more common in the hospitals of high-technology as well as teaching. The nurses are capable of working for less days and hours, and potentially contain an improved balance between life and work. For the hospitals, the extended shifts denote that there are less overtime and the utilization of the nurses’ agency, as well as the greater effortlessness in the development of schedules, with two shifts only for the sake of covering every day and the daily two handoffs. However, despite the optimistic results by the 12-hour nursing shifts, the current comprehensive review of scoping of the effectiveness as well as the impact of the 12-hour shifts that were found in the conclusive proof within the areas of risks to the patients, the experience of the patients, risks to the nurses themselves, and the risks to the healthcare organizations (Harris, Sims, Parr, ;Davies, 2015).The results of some of the research demonstrated the negative impacts.
One of the areas, which have been of more significant concern is the way the 12-hour shifts may affect the nurses as well as what it may mean, not just for the hospital nurses, but for the hospital itself too. However, according to research, which consisted of more than 22,000 nurses within the United States, it was reported that not less than 80% of the total nurses appeared to be contented with the practices of scheduling within their hospitals (Stimpfel et al., 2012). Thus, the nurses’ percentages which reported the burnout as well as an intention of quitting the job incrementally increased higher, up to about two and a half times for the nurses who were working for longer shifts as compared to the nurses who were working for the shift of between 8 and 9 hours. It was suggested that most of the older nurses individuals were leaving the acute settings of care. That was because of the 12-hour shifts that were required (Rollins, 2015). The older nurses have then been able to identify the difficulties that were in relation to the shift work and included the emotional as well as physical exhaustion, sleep deprivations, excessive tiredness, pains and aches, with the nurses who were in the night shifts reported to have gone through the hardest moments in the transitioning between the shifts of the night as well as the days off (Rollins, 2015). In fact, according to research carried out it was found out and proof that the fatigue felt by the nurses (particularly on the shifts of the night) was going up with the age (Rollins, 2015).
On the other hand, having a look at the 12-hour shift’s impact on the care of the patient as well as the satisfaction of the patient, it was reported by Ball, Dall’Ora, and Griffiths (2015) that both working overtime as well as the longer shifts of working were related significantly with the inferior quality of the care, the worse reports of the patient safety, and a lot of the care was left undone. However, such findings are brought into line with the research outcomes that were found by Stimpfel and colleagues’ (2012), which involved the comparison of the shift length of the nurses and the satisfaction of the patient as the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) review. The HCAHPS intends to offer a standardized instrument of the survey and the methodology used in the collection of data for measuring the perspectives of the patients on the hospital care. The rate items of the patients covering nine major topics, which included the communication with the nurses, the communication with the doctors, the hospital staff responsiveness, discharge information, the communication concerning the medicines, care transition, the hygiene of the surrounding of the hospital, and the silence of the surrounding of the hospital (Rollins, 2015). According to the research conducted by Stimpfel et al. (2012), they were able to find out that out of a total of 10 results, 7 of them were adversely and significantly affected by nurses’ proportion in the working shifts of the hospital of not less than thirteen working hours not excluding all the worldwide care assessment – the overall hospital rating of the patients- as well as whether the patients would give a recommendation of the hospital. It may also mean that the working shift proportion of the nurses of not less than 13 hours were found to be associated with the patent dissatisfaction increases. Further, having the increased nurses’ proportion whose working shifts are shorter; between 8 and 9 hours or between 10 and 11 hours, resulted in the patient dissatisfaction decreases.

Circadian, a consulting company, dealing with shift work, gave an estimation of the accidents related to fatigue, the expenses of health care, and the lost productivity that it cost the employers of U.S. about $116.5 billion every year (Caruso, C. C., 2014). Likewise, according to Rosekind et al. (2010), they gave an estimation that the yearly fatigue-related losses of productivity for the four employers that it was about 2000 dollars per worker. As it has been discussed above, the long hours of working as well as the shift work are connected to a broad range of the risks of health that might lead to increased sickness absence. The employers, on the other hand, are also subjected to a lot of risk because of the loss of nurses since they no longer are in a position of working and they also become disabled (Caruso, C. C., 2014). As a result, however, such may lead to increased insurance and the compensation rates of the workers. Failure of the nurses’ retention might affect the healthcare organization negatively since it may lead to increased costs. The long hours of working as well as the shift work were found to be the primary reasons behind leaving the profession of nursing in a research conducted by experts (Caruso, C. C., 2014). However, it remained to be a leading concern in accordance to a study conducted recently by American Nurses Association (2011): about 74 percent of the total nurses said that their primary concern was chronic or acute effects of overwork and stress.
Regardless of the negative impacts that the 12-hour shift of nurses contain, there are also positive impacts that the 12-hour shift may have. According to Rollins (2015), it was found that the nurses who would work on a 12-hour shift basis were usually more contented with their assigned jobs, and it was also found that they the emotional exhaustion they reported were less. Also, those nurses were also approximately ten times contented with the schedules of their work as compared to the nurses who worked at a shift of 8 hours (Rollins, 2015). The 12-hour shift units were found to contain rates of vacancy, and the vacant positions would be quickly filled.
In conclusion, it is clear from the arguments above that the 12-hour shift had a lot of negative impacts. It was reported that a more significant percentage of the nurses who worked in a 12-hour shift said the burnout as well as an intention of quitting the job as compared to the ones who worked between 8 and 9 hours. Due to the 12-hour shift, most of the older nurses were leaving the acute settings of care. That was due to tiredness, fatigue, and the pains and aches. The Circadian, a consulting company, dealing with shift work, gave an estimation of the accidents related to fatigue, the expenses of health care, and the lost productivity that it cost the employers of U.S. about $116.5 billion every year (Caruso, C. C., 2014).
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