One-year trial of 12-hour shifts in a non-intensive care unit and an intensive care unit in a public hospital: a qualitative study of 24 nurses’ experiences
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBMJ Open. 2019, 9 (7), 1-11. 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-024292
Download PDFPDF Qualitative research Research One-year trial of 12-hour shifts in a non-intensive care unit and an intensive care unit in a public hospital: a qualitative study of 24 nurses’ experiences Solveig Osborg Ose, Maria Suong Tjønnås, Silje Lill Kaspersen, Hilde Færevik Author affiliations Abstract Objectives The aim of this study was to provide recommendations to hospital owners and employee unions about developing efficient, sustainable and safe work-hour agreements. Employees at two clinics of a hospital, one a non-intensive care and the other a newborn intensive care unit (ICU), trialled 12-hour shifts on weekends for 1 year. Methods We systematically recorded the experiences of 24 nurses’ working 12-hour shifts, 16 in the medical unit and 8 in the ICU for 1 year. All were interviewed before, during and at the end of the trial period. The interview material was recorded, transcribed to text and coded systematically. Results The experiences of working 12-hour shifts differed considerably between participants, especially those in the ICU. Their individual experiences differed in terms of health consequences, effects on their family, appreciation of extra weekends off, perceived effects on patients and perceived work task flexibility. Conclusions The results indicate that individual preference for working 12-hour shifts is a function of own health situation, family situation, work load tolerance, degree of sleep problems, personality and other factors. If the goal is to recruit and retain nurses, nurses should be free to choose to work 12-hour shifts.