Do 12 Hour Shifts Harm Patients? Nurses?

Big Red Carpet Nursing

I’m among those nurses still working 8 hour shifts. While I see the advantages of 12 hour shifts, it seems obvious to me that errors and oversights must increase late in long shifts, and work quality decline. I’ve worked and watched enough 16 hour ‘doubles’  over the years to form an informed opinion. Many and likely most nurses can’t possibly do optimal work for 12 hours straight. When the work suffers, patients suffer.

Worse, it sounds like 12 hour shifts might well increase the risk of short staffing and overtime under employer duress.

My guess? Nurses are getting sold one thing and given another. Patients suffer as nurses do, and management squeezes some more profits out of the bargain. We Americans lack a health care system: haven’t you figure that out yet? We have lots of great health care providers run around by a profit system, all to maximize profits for…

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