EVP for 12hr shifts

  1. So this might now be what you're thinking. Nurses I manage work 12hr shifts. This isn't a thread to support or defend it, I need EVP that shows nurses that working too many 12hr shifts is a terrible idea.

    I just had my night shift nurses request to work 7 nights in a row...12hr shifts. This way they can have the alternating weeks off. I know this is a terrible idea, I just want to show them reasons as to the WHY of saying no. I've been searching with little luck so far. Any leads would be appreciated.
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   meanmaryjean
    ANA has a page devoted to nurse fatigue. A cursory search of the literature will give you plenty of ammunition.
  4. by   jrt4
    You might just want to check your states labor laws. Also, I am sure your organization isn't going to want to pay all that overtime without justification. I don't think you need evidence to support that working 7, 12's in a row is not good for anyone.
  5. by   MunoRN
    You'll find the most relevant research in non-nursing specific sources, such as OSHA and DOT white papers. Nursing focused research is mostly on shift length, generally finding that shifts greater than 13 hours are less safe than 8 or 12 hour shifts. The ANA's recommendation involves limiting nurses to only part time schedules, which isn't really practical, although 7 12's on and 7 off would be overtime over a two week schedule which evidence shows isn't particularly safe.

    In terms of fatigue and risk for errors and injuries, there are certainly risks to excessive consecutive shifts, but many employers take this to mean that only 2 or 3 consecutive shifts is optimal, which is also not true. Fatigue that accumulates during a stretch on is only relieved with consecutive shifts off, fewer consecutive shifts off means less recovery time to reduce cumulative fatigue. This isn't really much of an issue with day shifts, but for night shifters cumulative fatigue and the need for longer stretches of consecutive time off is extremely important, and when considering the issue of fatigue the focus should really be solely on night shifters.

    For night shifts, a significant increase in fatigue from baseline begins on consecutive shift 4, but that doesn't mean these increased levels of fatigue can simply be avoided by limiting consecutive shifts to 3 if that also means fewer consecutive nights for recovering from cumulative fatigue. Generally, night shifts don't start to recover until at least the second night off, with meaningful recover not starting until night 3. When workers can't adequately recover from consecutive fatigue then they are starting their next shifts with an elevated level of fatigue, no different than nights 5 and 6 of consecutive shifts. So the short answer is that both long stretches of consecutive shifts as well as short stretches of consecutive recovery time should be avoided.
  6. by   Orca
    I tried something similar to this. For a while it seemed to work. Then call-offs increased, and no one was available to pick up the shifts because everyone was working such long stretches. This isn't a practical plan, UMO.

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