On 28 March 2012, nurses from around the country came together to discuss the issue of nurses working long days (twelve hours or more) on a regular basis and whether this is safe practice.
The chat started with a predominantly positive stance taken by many nurses towards working long days.
As the discussion seemed to lean towards long days being more of a positive thing for nurses, @nursingtimesed tweeted: “#nurseshift Nurses in UK closest to the top of the global table in the burnout stakes acc to NNRU study pub in NT: http://t.co/Winrm09n”
With statistics such as the ones mentioned above, it seems important to address the issue of whether long days could potentially do more harm than good. Many student nurses benefit greatly from working long days, as the rest of the week is spent studying and earning.
As the discussion progressed, it became clear that many nurses believed members of staff should have the choice as to whether they work long days or shorter ones. Also, if nurses did choose to work long days as it suited them, acceptable break times should be allocated.
All in all, it seemed that many of the nurses that took part in the discussion had at some time or another admitted to long days benefitting them. Whether it be for family commitments or study time: long days can often be beneficial to nurses. Conversely, many nurses also admitted to feeling “too tired to function” on shift, or not being given the choice to work shorter days.
There is no right or wrong answer to working long days as a nurse. Many departments vary in workload - physically and mentally, as do the staff. Equally, it is important to recognize and remember our #tweetofthechat for this week - posted by @thetimethief:
“Lorry drivers and pilots are not allowed to work that long for a reason - SAFETY”.
Thank you all as ever for your fantastic contributions! Also, thank you for adhering to the #NMC’s social networking guidelines and remaining professional online.
Mikey Whitehead @STNNurse_Mikey