Studies on Mandatory Overtime in Healthcare

Studies on Mandatory Overtime in Healthcare

Normally, work performed in shifts is divided into three 8-hour shifts. This was the traditional practice in healthcare in the past. However, currently, extended working hours of 12 hours or more are common in most hospitals. This makes nurses work for 3 days a week, which may enable them to have a good work-life balance. However, there is little evidence on the impact of the long shifts on nurses and the quality of care they provide patients. Griffiths et al. (2014) and Stimpfel, Sloane, and Aiken (2012) undertook studies to determine the impact of mandatory overtime on nurses and quality of care. Griffiths et al.’s (2014) study focused on whether the length of shifts of nurses in 12 European countries had an impact on quality, safety, and care provided by the nurses. On the other hand, Stimpfel, Sloane, and Aiken’s (2012) focuses on the relationship between the length of shifts and burnout, job dissatisfaction, and the intention to leave the job among nurses.

The target audience of Griffiths et al.’s (2014) article is healthcare administrators and legislators in European countries. The subjects of the study are 31,627 registered nurses who are stationed in medical and surgical units of 488 hospitals in 12 European countries. On the other hand, the audience of the study by Stimpfel, Sloane, and Aiken (2012) were American legislators and hospital administrators. The subjects of the study were “22,275 registered nurses from the Multi-State Nursing Care and Patient Safety Study” (p. 2502). The nurses were stationed in 577 hospitals which were in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, and Florida. At least 10 nurses were used in each hospital with study using an average of 29 nurses per hospital.

The study by Griffiths et al. (2014) showed that registered nurses who worked more than 12 hours offered lower quality of care and patient safety. In addition, they left more care undone. Therefore, the study highlights the impact of mandatory overtime of patient care. This would influence hospital administrators and legislators to implement strategies that would help in improving staffing levels in nurses. On the other hand, the study by Stimpfel, Sloane, and Aiken (2012) showed that nurses who worked for longer shifts had a high probability of burnout and job dissatisfaction. This increases nurses’ turnover in hospitals and reduces quality of care nurses offer. Therefore, this study would enable hospital administrators to formulate strategies that would help in improving job satisfaction. This would improve quality of care.

 

  Study by Griffiths et al. (2014) Study by Stimpfel, Sloane, and Aiken (2012)
Significance of the study The study shows the impact of long shifts on quality of care, patient safety and care patient provided by nurses The study shows the impact of long shifts on nurses and how it may influence quality of care
Content of the study The study uses provides information on impact of longer working hours on quality of care in four U.S. states The study shows the impact of longer working hours on nurses in 12 European countries
Method of comparison Content of study Scope of study
Impact of study on healthcare delivery Impact on longer working hours on quality of care Impact of longer working hours on registered nurses and their ability to provide quality care
Were the studies aimed at changing or influencing healthcare delivery Yes Yes

 

References

Griffiths, P., Dall’Ora, C., Simon, M., Ball, J., Lindqvist, R., Rafferty, A.M., … & Aiken, L.H. (2014). Nurses’ Shift Length and Overtime Working in 12 European Countries: The Association with Perceived Quality of Care and Patient Safety. Medical care, 52(11), 975- 981.

Stimpfel, A.W., Sloane, D.M., & Aiken, L.H. (2012). The longer the shifts for hospital nurses, the higher the levels of burnout and patient dissatisfaction. Health Affairs, 31(11), 2501-2509.


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