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Does Evidence Based Practice Concerning Nurses' Schedules Matter?

Nurses Article   (11,807 Views | 30 Replies | 626 Words)

Eschell2971 has 4 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Med-Surge; Forensic Nurse.

10 Articles; 30,918 Profile Views; 68 Posts

Evidence Based Research on nurse staffing/scheduling & workloads is all, but ignored. Annually, there are millions of medical errors, many of which can be attributed to nurse scheduling/staffing & workload. Nurses and nursing organizations ignore the research at our peril! You are reading page 2 of Does Evidence Based Practice Concerning Nurses' Schedules Matter?. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

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klriggs53 specializes in Behavioral Health, Disability Case Mgmt.

10 Posts; 1,262 Profile Views

We preach EBP, however when research reveals something we do not want to hear or it affects the pocket book, convenience, or admin control we turn our heads. Back in the 70's (tellin my age), the common practice was 3 eight hr shifts 5 days a week with 12 on,12 0ff for the weekends. Shift diff incentives for eves and nights. It worked well . . . Naturally, as nurses we adapt. If there is in fact research for better nursing care working 8 hr shifts, we will be hard pressed not to move in that direction and avoid being hypocritical.

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Jedrnurse has 25 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in school nurse.

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Can we please stop using the phrase "12 hour shift"? They are never just 12 hours...

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OncoRN84 has 10 years experience and specializes in Oncology.

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I've asked many nurse's on schedule preference and it usually- "I want to do my 3 days and be done." I have a few that wanted to transfer but decided going back to 5 dasys a week just isn't worth it. However, i have consistently brought up the problems with asking workers to stay over for extended meetings. Especially after night shift, a three hour meeting is not only torturous but dangerous as we still must drive home. I think safety needs to be more thoroughly studied regarding nights but I think it would be a hard sell for inpatient RNs.

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gypsyd8 has 10+ years experience and specializes in TELE, CVU, ICU.

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This person has 2 years of experience. Nurses need ratios, not a reduction in hours worked. If I was forced to work 5 days a week without overtime I wouldn't be at the bedside.

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CKPM2RN has 3 years experience as a ASN, EMT-P and specializes in Emergency/Med-Tele.

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12 hour shifts work well for some but not others, we all have our own circadian rhythm, our own bodies that react differently to different situations. Having forced 12 hour shifts is ridiculous. But it really comes down to being chronically understaffed in my opinion. 6:1 in a busy ED, 8 or 10:1 on a floor, 30 or 40:1 in a facility? These are not reasonable and safe numbers. And I think the nurse can safely work a longer shift if he or she doesn't have an overburdened workload.

We all do what we can to make it work the best for our patients while admin tells us to do more with less, gets rid of our flexible hours and punishes us for poor Press-Ganey scores.

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CKPM2RN has 3 years experience as a ASN, EMT-P and specializes in Emergency/Med-Tele.

224 Posts; 7,564 Profile Views

I think overlapping 10s, which I saw in one hospital, would be ideal for everyone, but hospitals seem to be reluctant to try those, as they are reluctant/resistant to any "new" thing.

Overlapping 10's make all the sense in the world! Great patient hand-off, time to chart uninterrupted! One can dream.

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NurseSpeedy has 18 years experience as a ADN, LPN, RN.

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Can we please stop using the phrase "12 hour shift"? They are never just 12 hours...

I would love this post if I could. I miss my "8's", because I knew that they usually would not be 12's, and even in the unlikely chance that they were, I NEVER had to worry about the 12 that turned into a 14, that had a 1 hour drive home...now should I shower, eat dinner, and sleep...or skip dinner to get some sleep?...this is especially true when scheduled three days straight. Think about it. How many people who work in other fields would agree to this craziness? My husband will sometimes work 10 hours, plop down on the couch and say he's wiped. I ask if he wants to add 2-4 hours and do it two additional days in a row...he's no longer upset I'm not in a talking mode when I get home.

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927 Posts; 9,417 Profile Views

i've never heard of overlapping 10's. How does that actually work? I think there needs to be some overlap. Every day I come in, get my assignment, and then the prior shift is trying to go home, so I get report without really knowing the facts (and what wasn't done...). If I'm lucky I may not even have someone who needs me right away for something and I can actually look at the orders and plan my shift. But most days, I'm just getting to my orders and REALLY know what i'm doing a full 2 hrs later into my shift.

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Chisca has 28 years experience as a RN and specializes in Critical Care, Dialysis.

737 Posts; 14,054 Profile Views

What about 18 hours? Is that unsafe? Nephrology nurses are frequently required to work long hours without relief. I think we can all agree that hospital management should be the last authority on what is safe and what isn't.

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Cvepo has 3 years experience and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVICU.

127 Posts; 2,009 Profile Views

I would leave bedside if they took away 12s. I could not imagine doing 5 8-hour night shifts a week. With 3 12-hour shifts, it's so easy to group your shifts, have 3-4 nights off to have a life, then do it all over again.

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Everline specializes in public health, women's health, reproductive health.

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As a hospital floor nurse I did and would chose to work three 12 hour shifts. I'll be honest that this is mostly because I did not like what I was doing and wanted to spend as few days as possible doing it. I can't imagine working at the bedside in a hospital or SNF five days a week. That being said, outside of bedside nursing, I find myself having no problem with 8 hour shifts. Even better, 8 hour shifts that don't include weekends, nights or holidays. This is my current schedule and I love it, despite the fact that I've said in the past I would never want to work five days a week as a nurse. I find that it very much depends on where I am working, the necessity (or lack thereof) of staying after a shift is supposed to finish, and how I feel about my job. I have to admit, EBP has nothing to do with it and probably would not factor into my preference even if there had been adequate study of which schedule is better.

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Jeniele has 1 years experience as a ADN, RN.

51 Posts; 2,142 Profile Views

The real issue with nurse burnout and exhaustion isn't the length of the shift in my opinion, but the staffing ratios and acuity of the patients. Add in the "pamper policies", customer service expectation, and downright mean and rude patients and you have a recipe for disaster.

Everyone will have a shift length that works best for them at their current time of life, and thankfully nursing can typically offer some type of employment that will fit that need.

Patients in acute care are very sick and it boggles my mind that the hour before the patient was "sick enough" to be 2:1 in ICU but is now "well enough" to be 5:1 on the floor I work. I get that improvement can happen rapidly and that is very good for the patient. Most of the time we run out of ICU beds and we play the patient shuffle. So unfortunately what happens is that an acutely ill patient that may not necessarily need intensive care is sent down to a nurse that is now 5:1 and that's when bad things can happen. It's not fair to the patients, and it's not fair to staff. I'm usually a second set of eyes on that patient to be on the lookout for any changes (despite having a patient load of 10 myself) while the poor nurse tries to catch up on their med pass (that's already an hour late), after which they try and figure out what the plan is for this new patient. Somewhere in this mix we both try to deal with the total care patient, the "needy" patient who calls every 15 min, and the high fall risk with injury confused patient who attempts to get out of bed every 10 minutes "to go to work". We have 2 patients that the physician said will go home today during their rounds who are on their lights wanting to know when that will happen, though no orders are in yet for discharge and the charge want's to know who we will have ready first because ED is calling up with a new admit. The total care patient is a "feeder" and it's 12:30 and family wants to know why no one has been in yet to feed their family member and I haven't had a chance to sit, pee, or eat and I've been there since 0630.

This is why nurses are exhausted and that's not even what I would call a horrid day. We need legislation to dictate safe patient ratios based on acuity, until then I don't think any admin or management will listen. Because when something bad does happen, it will be the nurse's fault not theirs.

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