8-Hour Shifts Essay

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To provide high-quality care for the patient it is essential for the nursing staff to have enough time for recovery from long hours of demanding work. Eight-hour shifts for hospital nurses have become a standard of the past. Nowadays, 12-hour shifts for three days a week have become typical in most hospitals as recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) (Stimpfel, Sloane & Aiken, 2012). The length of the shifts and the working days; however, are often unpredictable due to increased demand for patient care and high census episodes. Nursing shortages, along with a weak economy, have left hospital nurses with no choice, then to work extended hours and overtime. Long hour shifts, as well as mandatory overtime, has become an increasing …show more content…

173). For many workers the schedule was an outlet for discontent; this is because many were forced to work six days a week, some weeks without a day off (Lynaugh, 2000). Nowadays, “60% of U.S. nurses surveyed work at least one type of overtime […] 54% work less than 12 hours a week overtime and 46% work 12 hours or more per week” (Wheatley, 2017, p.213). In addition, traditionally nurse’s shifts were eight hours long; however, in 1980’s -1990’s when structural changes in healthcare occurred and cost containment was put in, nurses started working 12-hour shifts. Because it was less expensive to work 12-hours shifts, instead of 8-hours, this became prevalent in most hospitals in the United States (Weathley, 2017). Over the years, continued efforts by nurses from different states and professional nursing associations focused on influencing policymakers through strikes, lobbying and policy drafts to develop and promote regulation in regards to nursing overtime and long hours shifts. Fortunately, throughout years small, successfully changes were adopted. For example, in 1938 Fair Labor Standards of Act (FLSA) was signet (Huston, 2017). Even though this act did not restrict on how much overtime one can work, instead the act obliges the payroll employer to pay every hour worked after 40 hours a week for at least one-and-a-half times (Huston, 2017). In 2005, Safe Nursing Patient Care Act was signed. This act prohibits hospital management to mandate nurses to wok more

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