Nurses like 12-hour shifts, if done right

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Working 12-hour shifts may have a positive effect on job satisfaction and allow nurses more flexibility to further their education, according to a study conducted in Pennsylvania.

Researchers at the Villanova University College of Nursing set out to better understand nurses' perception of shift work, especially 12-hour shifts. They found facilities should avoid changing patient assignments in the middle of a shift and avoid scheduling nurses for shifts longer than 12 hours to reduce fatigue.

The results were based on a 30-minute questionnaire completed by nurses who had worked 12-hour shifts in a rehabilitation setting at some time in the last 10 years.

“Family life, communication with nurses, patient care, continuity of care, time off and job satisfaction received the highest scores in the survey, indicating that 12-hour shifts allowed greater satisfaction in these areas,” the researchers wrote.

But nurses also reported greater fatigue and lack of continuity of care when patient assignments changed during the shift. The study was con- ducted in a single facility and did not contrast feelings about 12-hour shifts during the day against 12-hour overnights.