Frontline nurses are divided over whether long or short shifts are better for patients and staff.
Writing in Nursing Times last week, National Nursing Research Unit deputy director Jill Maben said 12 hour day shifts – increasingly replacing two overlapping shorter shifts – meant staff became more tired and less able to give “unwearied, dignified and compassionate care” (19 January, p25).
More than a 100 nurses have commented on Dr Maben’s views over the last seven days via nursingtimes.net.
One nurse said: “Employers are deluding themselves if they think long shifts, without crossover time, are an effective use of resources. Poor patient care and lack of learning opportunities leads to increased morbidity and mortality.”
But others argued long shifts were better for staff because they meant three-day weeks.
“It’s not the 12 hour shifts that cause staff to have stress and burn out – it’s the short shifts when you have to do seven or eight in a row before your days off,” said one.
Another said: “Leave 12 hour shifts alone! If I had to go back to the insufferable days of five shorter shifts a week I would be out of nursing like you wouldn’t believe.”