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Because they’re worth it? A discussion paper on the value of 12-h shifts for hospital nursing

Because they’re worth it? A discussion paper on the value of 12-h shifts for hospital nursing
Because they’re worth it? A discussion paper on the value of 12-h shifts for hospital nursing

The organisation of the 24-h day for hospital nurses in two 12-h shifts has been introduced with value propositions of reduced staffing costs, better quality of care, more efficient work organisation, and increased nurse recruitment and retention. While existing reviews consider the impact of 12-h shifts on nurses’ wellbeing and performance, this discussion paper aims to specifically shed light on whether the current evidence supports the value propositions around 12-h shifts. We found little evidence of the value propositions being realised. Staffing costs are not reduced with 12-h shifts, and outcomes related to productivity and efficiency, including sickness absence and missed nursing care are negatively affected. Nurses working 12-h shifts do not perform more safely than their counterparts working shorter shifts, with evidence pointing to a likely negative effect on safe care due to increased fatigue and sleepiness. In addition, nurses working 12-h shifts may have access to fewer educational opportunities than nurses working shorter shifts. Despite some nurses preferring 12-h shifts, the literature does not indicate that this shift pattern leads to increased recruitment, with studies reporting that nurses working long shifts are more likely to express intention to leave their job. In conclusion, there is little if any support for the value propositions that were advanced when 12-h shifts were introduced. While 12-h shifts might be here to stay, it is important that the limitations, including reduced productivity and efficiency, are recognised and accepted by those in charge of implementing schedules for hospital nurses.

Economics, Efficiency, Nursing, Productivity, Recruitment, Retention, Shiftwork, Workforce
1478-4491
Dall’ora, Chiara
4501b172-005c-4fad-86da-2d63978ffdfd
Ejebu, Ourega-Zoé
4f545ae3-4823-44ab-8d59-185d30929ada
Griffiths, Peter
ac7afec1-7d72-4b83-b016-3a43e245265b
Dall’ora, Chiara
4501b172-005c-4fad-86da-2d63978ffdfd
Ejebu, Ourega-Zoé
4f545ae3-4823-44ab-8d59-185d30929ada
Griffiths, Peter
ac7afec1-7d72-4b83-b016-3a43e245265b

Dall’ora, Chiara, Ejebu, Ourega-Zoé and Griffiths, Peter (2022) Because they’re worth it? A discussion paper on the value of 12-h shifts for hospital nursing. Human Resources for Health, 20 (1), [36]. (doi:10.1186/s12960-022-00731-2).

Record type: Review

Abstract

The organisation of the 24-h day for hospital nurses in two 12-h shifts has been introduced with value propositions of reduced staffing costs, better quality of care, more efficient work organisation, and increased nurse recruitment and retention. While existing reviews consider the impact of 12-h shifts on nurses’ wellbeing and performance, this discussion paper aims to specifically shed light on whether the current evidence supports the value propositions around 12-h shifts. We found little evidence of the value propositions being realised. Staffing costs are not reduced with 12-h shifts, and outcomes related to productivity and efficiency, including sickness absence and missed nursing care are negatively affected. Nurses working 12-h shifts do not perform more safely than their counterparts working shorter shifts, with evidence pointing to a likely negative effect on safe care due to increased fatigue and sleepiness. In addition, nurses working 12-h shifts may have access to fewer educational opportunities than nurses working shorter shifts. Despite some nurses preferring 12-h shifts, the literature does not indicate that this shift pattern leads to increased recruitment, with studies reporting that nurses working long shifts are more likely to express intention to leave their job. In conclusion, there is little if any support for the value propositions that were advanced when 12-h shifts were introduced. While 12-h shifts might be here to stay, it is important that the limitations, including reduced productivity and efficiency, are recognised and accepted by those in charge of implementing schedules for hospital nurses.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 19 April 2022
e-pub ahead of print date: 7 December 2022
Additional Information: Funding Information: This work was funded by the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Wessex. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.
Keywords: Economics, Efficiency, Nursing, Productivity, Recruitment, Retention, Shiftwork, Workforce

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 467926
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/467926
ISSN: 1478-4491
PURE UUID: bc83aa7a-356f-491d-a293-c48e86bcb70b
ORCID for Chiara Dall’ora: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6858-3535
ORCID for Ourega-Zoé Ejebu: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0608-5124
ORCID for Peter Griffiths: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2439-2857

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Date deposited: 26 Jul 2022 16:33
Last modified: 27 Jul 2022 02:03

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