THURSDAY, Sept. 28, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Higher proportions of long nursing shifts are associated with higher rates of patient incidents (e.g., self-injury and disruptive behavior) in mental health and community hospitals, according to a study published online Sept. 6 in the Journal of Nursing Management.
Chiara Dall’Ora, Ph.D., from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined the association between the use of ≥12-hour shifts in nursing staff (including registered nurses, health care support workers or nursing assistants, and nursing associates) and the rate of patient incidents in mental health and community hospitals. The analysis included data from 898,143 nursing shifts and 38,373 patient incidents (April 2018 to March 2021).
The researchers observed a relationship between ≥12-hour shifts and incident rates, with an increasing proportion of long shifts associated with a small increase in the overall rate of incidents compared with days in wards with no long shifts. However, the rate increased sharply as the proportion of long shifts was greater than 70 percent. Additionally, the rates of self-injury increased more steadily as the proportion of long shifts increased.
“While giving staff choice and flexibility over their shift patterns might lead to lower incident rates for violence against staff and disruptive behavior, all benefits appear to be lost when wards run with 12+ hour shifts only,” the authors write. “Nurse managers and those in charge of creating rotas for nursing staff should avoid implementing 12+ hour shifts as a blanket intervention for all staff.”
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