Nursing burnout is serious and in order to ensure that nurses are taken care of, the administration must implement incentives and policies that will provide nurses with the resources to maintain a healthy work life balance. Burnout accounts for many of the medication errors and patient injuries in healthcare facilities. Most nurses are overwhelmed because of the caseload and longer workdays necessary to complete charting. Many nurses are also disgruntled because of denied vacation requests that cannot be approved because of non-coverage. Research has shown that when employees are happy then there are less errors and injuries in
Since the early days of nursing when nurses would work extended shifts and even lived on the wards where they worked, nurse fatigue has been a much discussed issue. During the late 1800s and into the early 1900s, workers spanning several industries fought for the eight hour work day and eventually won with the passage of the US Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938 (Miller, 2011). In the years since then, the extended shift has again become popular, particularly in the field of nursing. Though many nurses and organizations laud twelve hour shifts as beneficial to staffing needs and personal lives, the risks to patient and nurse safety must be considered.
Inconsistent nurse-patient ratios are a concern in hospitals across the nation because they limit nurse’s ability to provide safe patient care. Healthcare professionals such as nurses and physicians agree that current nurse staffing systems are inadequate and unreliable and not only affect patient health outcomes, but also create job dissatisfaction among medical staff (Avalere Health, 2015). A 2002 study led by RN and PhD Linda Aiken suggests that "forty percent of hospitals nurses have burnout levels that exceed the norms for healthcare workers" (Aiken, Clarke, Sloane, Sochalski & Silber, 2002). These data represents the constant struggle of nurses when trying to provide high quality care in a hospital setting.
Stressful work environments, long work hours and inadequate sleep all contribute to an increase in physical and mental exhaustion amongst nurses. Typically, people choose nursing as a career to help others and to make a difference in their lives, without realizing the number of duties this career demands. Nurses may suffer in silence when they are experiencing stress. The effects can impact safe and reliable care by decreasing job satisfaction, decreasing productivity, causing poor personal health, and compromising patient care. Many facilities would benefit from implementing evidence-based strategies to address nurse fatigue and burnout.
“Burnout has been widely studied in the health service profession, and nursing is recognized as one of the occupations with the highest burnout prevalence rates” (Harkin & Melby, 2014, p. 152). Nursing burnout affects many nurses in the profession in one way or another. In the nursing world, a typical shift length is now twelve hours or longer. This shift length has changed from the past in which nurses worked a normal shift of eight hours. While there are benefits and disadvantages to each of these shifts, there has to be a regulation of total hours worked in a week. Nurses who work at the bedside of critically ill patients witness marked human suffering (Sacco, Ciurzynski, Harvey, &
The term 12 hour shift is used to refer to a two shift system associated with an extended working day, as supposed to an eight hour workshift. Twelve-hour shifts have become the normality and standard shift option for nursing over recent years across the United States (Harris, Sims, Parr, & Davies et al., 2014 p.606). Longer work hours are viewed as a positive impact on recruitment, potential financial savings, retention, and enhanced continuity of care (National Nursing Research Unit, 2013; NHS Evidence, 2010). However, it’s also evident that longer shifts result in nurse fatigue, errors, and reduced alertness. The concept of longer hour shifts have become quite the controversial topic among the healthcare system.
Patients in a hospital and/or healthcare facilities have to be cared for all day and all night, everyday of the week by nurses. The usual way to fulfill this need is to divide up the day into three 8-hour shifts. Different shifts have been put into place to help improve nurse satisfaction, decrease the nursing shortage and save the hospital money. The 24-hour day is made up of two 12-hour shifts; 12 hours in the day and 12 hours at night. There has been quite an ongoing debate over the years regarding this issue of nurses working over 8 hours in a single day. Many people, such as hospital nursing administrators, have reason to believe that working long hour shifts causes more errors in
The article titled “Fatigue and Charting Errors: The Benefit of a Reduced Call Schedule.” present clear and focused qualitative research data. The focus of the research was to evaluate errors in nursing documentation caused by nursing fatigue. Fatigue can be caused by time on task, work load, circadian rhythm alterations, sleep debt, shift work
In the recent past, nursing has come to the forefront as a popular career amongst students across the globe. The demand for nurses has kept increasing gradually over the years. In fact, the number of registered nurses does not meet the demand of the private and public health sector. This phenomenon has resulted in a situation where the available registered nurses have to work extra hours in order to meet the patients’ needs. With this in mind, the issue of nurse fatigue has come up as a common problem in nursing. According to the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), nurse fatigue is “a feeling of tiredness” that penetrates a persons physical, mental and emotional realms limiting their ability to function normally. Fatigue does
For some nurses, mandatory overtime can be an advantage due to financial instability but mostly mandatory overtime can cause fatigue, burnout, injuries, errors, inadequate sleep and deficits in performance. According to research working long hours which consists more than 40 hours a week or over 12 hours a day leads to an increased medication errors and patient mortality. The probability of making medication errors increases tremendously when nurses work longer than 12.5 hours a day. During surveys regarding reasons of overtime, 60 % of nurses stated that overtime was obligatory as part of their job, 29 % of nurses stated that they volunteered and 41% of nurses stated that they were “on call hours” (Bae, 2012)
The continued shortage of registered nurses will be a catalyst for the increasing stress placed upon practicing nurses now and in the future. Mandatory overtime has been an incessant problem within the nursing profession. When lives are at risk, alertness is a critical part of a nurse’s job performance. Fatigue impairs one’s judgement directly affecting patient and nursing safety or outcomes. This author’s typical six week work schedule consists of eighteen-twelve hour shifts, nine “required” twelve hour call shifts, and three-four hour back-up shifts. A nurse that accepts a patient assignment in the operating room cannot legally or ethically leave when their shift has ended without proper relief. Inevitably, without proper staffing departure is not an
Nurse staffing have an effect on a variety of areas within nursing. Quality of care is usually affected. Hospitals with low staffing tend to have higher incidence of poor patient outcomes. Martin, (2015) wrote an article on how insufficient nursing staff increases workload and job dissatisfaction, which in effect decreases total patient care over all. When nurse staffing is inadequate, the ability to practice ethically becomes questionable. Time worked, overtime, and total hours per week have significant effect on errors. When nurses works long hours, the more likely errors will be made. He also argued that inadequate staffing not only affects their patients but also their loved ones, future and current nursing staff, and the hospitals in which they are employed. An unrealistic workload may result in chronic fatigue, poor sleep patterns, and absenteeism thus affecting the patients they take care of.
Can you imagine costing a patient their life due to your lack of sleep, long shifts, and working to many hours? Me either. “In 2011, the Joint Commission issued a Sentinel Event Alert to call attention to health care worker fatigue as it relates to patient safety, noting a link between healthcare worker fatigue and adverse events. In addition to patient safety concerns, there is an increased risk of injury in fatigued healthcare workers (Martin, 2015).” Lets explore the dangers of fatigue, and its importance to nurses, way that nurses can prevent fatigue, and possible ways to lower fatigue and enhance sleep. What standards are in place in the nurse practice
Within the recent years, hospitals and medical facilities have been experiencing nursing shortages that necessitate more nurses to be present to compensate for the care needed to be given. This requires nurses to be dealt with imperative extended work hours along with their normal shifts with no denial or excuse accepted. Working extra hours are accompanied with negative effects that have an impact on the nurse, coworkers, and patients. A major concern that occurs with overtime is that nurses become fatigued or burnout. Fatigue that is experienced is a result of sleep deprivation from working overtime that is associated with arduousness neurobehavioral functioning
The risks of making an error were significantly increased when work shifts were longer than twelve hours, when nurses worked overtime, or when they worked more than forty hours per week. (Trossman, 2009). Working longer hours in a high stress area will always increase the error rate. Designating an adequate number of RN positions to ensure nurses work an appropriate schedule without overtime and that their workload allows for breaks. Managerial staff must work to develop specific policies about the length of work times based on the setting, patient and provider needs. Those policies should limit nurses from working more than 12.5 consecutive hours. Provide education for all care providers on the hazards and causes of fatigue. Continue to document unsafe staffing conditions and work with others to change the current work culture so that it recognizes the effects of fatigue on patient safety, as well as the nurse. (Berger, et al. 2006)