Scholarly Issues Paper : Shift Work

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Kaitlin O’Connor Scholarly Issues Paper: Shift Work University of Delaware Introduction In recent years, there has been a distinct change in the shift-work of nurses working in the hospital setting. Typically a twenty-four hour day had been broken up into three shifts: a morning (0700-1500), evening (1500-2300), and night (2300-0700) shift. Those working these shifts generally worked four to five days per week. In the more recent trends, longer shifts, typically twelve hours, paired with fewer days of work per week have become more common. The International Council of Nurses declared in 2007 that the practice of shift work is necessary if nurses are to provide 24-hour care (Lin, 2014). There are many differing views on this…show more content…
This could combat employee burnout in a stressful profession. In addition, some nurses prefer having a compressed working schedule as it allows for more flexibility in scheduling as well as with their home lives. Several studies claim that this increase in work-life balance and shorter work weeks improve staff morale and reduce absenteeism (Knoll, 2013). These appeal to employers and nurse managers as important benefits. In addition to the social benefits for employees, working shift-work, especially night shift, allows for higher wages. Working night shift also provides an environment with fewer supervisors present. Shift work also creates more opportunity for workers to obtain a second job if they choose. Having longer shifts also results in information and assessments being passed between two people instead of three in a day, increasing communication and thus increasing the quality of care for the patient. Disadvantages There are many disadvantages to nurses working long shifts. The one of most concern is that of patient safety. There is much discussion about the potential negative impact of shift work on nurses’ personal health and performance, and thus the quality of patient care. The most powerful argument is that working 12-hour shifts lead to nurse fatigue, which in turn leads to problems for both
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