Overtime hinders collaboration among nurses, study suggests

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Nurses who work overtime may not collaborate as well with other nurses and physicians, according to a study published in the Journal of Nursing Administration.

For the study, researchers analyzed data compiled in the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators on a 2013 survey of 24,013 nurses from 957 units across 168 acute care hospitals.

Taking into account shift lengths and hospital characteristics, researchers identified a link between the number of nurses working overtime or longer overtime hours, and lower collaboration in hospital units. Researchers used the nurse-nurse interaction scale and nurse-physician interaction scale in determining collaboration.

They identified an association between one hour of overtime and a 0.17 decrease on the nurse-nurse collaboration scale, and a marginal link between the one hour of overtime and a 0.13 decrease on the nurse-physician interaction scale, according to a news release.

"In other words, a 0.17 decrease from the mean score of the RN-RN scale suggest that a unit's rank on the RN-RN score would drop from the 50th percentile to approximately the 30th percentile," the release states.

The study did not find an association between longer scheduled shifts and less collaboration. However, researchers described the amount of overtime nurses put in as concerning. They said the average nurse in the study worked 24 minutes longer than their scheduled shift, and 33 percent of the nurses on a unit indicated they worked longer than their scheduled shift. Additionally, 35 percent of nurses said nurses on their unit saw increased overtime in the past year.

"Our findings support policies that limit the amount of overtime worked by nurses," said Chenjuan Ma, PhD, lead author of the study and an assistant professor at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing in New York City. "In practice, nurse managers should monitor the amount of overtime being worked on their unit and minimize the use of overtime

 

 

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