Staff Are Satisfied with Longer Shifts, but Patients Are Not

November 14, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Health System


Though 80% of nurse respondents to a survey say they are satisfied with their organizations’ shift scheduling of 12 hours or longer, authors of a November 2012 Health Affairs study found that longer shifts correlate with increased levels of patient dissatisfaction and staff burnout. Specifically, patient dissatisfaction increased commensurately with the amount of nursing staff working 13-hour shifts or longer, while nurses working 10-hour shifts or longer were more than twice as likely to be dissatisfied with their job, wish to leave, or experience burnout. Study authors do note the potential work-life balance benefits of a hypothetical three-day workweek, when 12-hours shifts are the norm; however, actual shift length varies based on staffing and patient care needs, and unplanned overtime is frequent. The authors examined responses from more than 22,000 nurses to the Multi-State Nursing Care and Patient Safety Study.

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