12-hour shifts up fatigue, lower job satisfaction among nurses, new research shows

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A systematic review, published in the Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, investigated the impact of 12-hour shifts on nurses' health, wellbeing and job satisfaction. The review also compared the impact of 12-hour shifts to 8-hour shifts.

Researchers combed through Medline, Cinhale, PsycInfo, Embase, Web of Science and Scopus databases, covering the period between 1980 and 2017. They included studies involving nurses working for 12-hour shifts as well as 8-hour shifts in hospital settings. They found 12 studies.

Here are five findings:

1. Three studies reported that 12-hour shifts increased cognitive anxiety, musculoskeletal disorders, sleep disturbance and stress in nurses.

2. Of the 4 studies measuring the impact of 12-hour shifts on fatigue, three studies showed the nurses experienced more fatigue in the 12-hour shifts versus 8-hour shifts.

3. There was no significant difference between 12-and 8-hour shifts with respect to digestive and cardiovascular disorders, psychological ill health and somatic anxiety.

4. Nine of the 12 studies measured job satisfaction in 12-and 8-hour shifts. Five of these showed nurses were more dissatisfied with 12-hour shifts, while three studies found that the nurses were more satisfied with 12-hour shifts than with 8-hour shifts.

5. One study showed there was a difference between the two shifts in accordance with pay and professional status.

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