12 Hour Shifts in Nursing

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7 October 2011
Effects on Nurses Working Long Hours
Patients in a hospital and/or healthcare facilities have to be cared for all day and all night, everyday of the week by nurses. The usual way to fulfill this need is to divide up the day into three 8-hour shifts. Different shifts have been put into place to help improve nurse satisfaction, decrease the nursing shortage and save the hospital money. The 24-hour day is made up of two 12-hour shifts; 12 hours in the day and 12 hours at night. There has been quite an ongoing debate over the years regarding this issue of nurses working over 8 hours in a single day. Many people, such as hospital nursing administrators, have reason to believe that working long hour shifts causes more errors in the workplace due to fatigue and irregular sleep schedules. Along with these reasons and other beliefs, 12-hour shifts in nursing should be revoked. The risks outweigh the benefits for extended hour shifts in hospitals and/or healthcare facilities, for both the patients and nurses. Nurses who work 12 or more hours in a single shift put at risk the health of themselves along with the health of the patients who they are treating. Working extended shifts causes fatigue, stress and lack of productivity. Errors are most common in nurses who are fatigued from working long and grueling hours. It is estimated 1.3 million health care errors occur each year and of those errors 48,000 to 98,000 result in patient deaths. Many of these errors lead to malpractice suits and thousands of dollars lost (Keller, 497). This proves that working long hours in a health care environment will make nurses more prone to making error that may lead to patient death. Patient death is what the hospital and faculty members are trying to avoid, revoking long hour shifts seems like a proper way to start. As for the health of the nurse, nurses who work long hours are affecting their health in many ways. Some health problems that may occur in nurses are sleep...
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