Long Work Hours Linked to Nurse Burnout

thermometer%20c.jpgThree-day work weeks for nurses are becoming the norm in many hospitals and are widely popular among nurses because they translate into longer weekends. However, 3-day work weeks are also linked to longer work hours, and according to a new study, these longer work hours are leading to burnout among nurses.

According to the research conducted by scientists at the University Of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, longer work hours and extended work shifts are contributing to symptoms of burnout, and also higher levels of job dissatisfaction and stress among nurses. It shouldn’t be so surprising to Indiana medical malpractice attorneys that job dissatisfaction and burnout are also linked to a much higher risk of medical errors.

The nurses in the study came from New Jersey, Florida, California and Pennsylvania, and represented approximately a quarter of the total nursing population of the United States. More than 23,000 registered nurses took part in the study. The researchers found that as many as 65% of the registered nurses in the study worked 13-hour shifts. Bedside nurses typically work 12-hour shifts.

The researchers focused on nurses who were working the extended shifts, which lasted for 10 hours or more. The researchers found that nurses who worked such long shifts were as much as 2 ½ times more likely to suffer from symptoms of burnout and report lower levels of job satisfaction, compared to nurses who worked shorter shifts.

What’s more, longer shifts are also associated with poor job performance. Nurses who had longer shifts, lasting more than 10 hours, reported poorer job performance compared to nurses who work shorter hours. Seven of ten patient outcomes were believed to be significantly and adversely affected when nurses worked long shifts.

Eight-hour shifts are becoming less popular, because the 3-day week allows nurses to enjoy a much longer weekend. The 3-day work weeks are promoted extensively by nursing organizations because it is believed they are linked to better work-life balance and provide more flexibility to the employee.

Longer work hours may result in longer weekends but they also place nurses at a much higher risk for symptoms of burnout. Several factors increase the burnout risk: Many times, long shifts are combined with overtime hours. Often, nurses may have rotating shifts between day and night as well as consecutive shifts, that increase the risk of stress. In all these cases, the nurses may be at serious risk of compromising the care of the patient, and may be at a much higher risk of making medical errors that harm the patient.

The Indiana medical malpractice attorneys at Montross Muller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy represent persons who have been harmed by medical negligence. If you have been injured by medical malpractice, consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney at our firm.