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12 Hour Shifts are Causing Burnout in Ireland's Nurses

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By Katie McGarr on 11 September 2015

An International Nurse Survey has found that long shifts that are common with Nurses in Ireland and England are more likely to cause burnout and job dissatisfaction.

A Survey by BMJ Open carried out in 488 hospitals in Belgium, England, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and Sweden, has found that 12 Hour Shifts or longer are becoming more commonplace.

“Across all the countries, around one in four (27%) reported high emotional exhaustion, one in 10 (10%) said they experienced high depersonalisation and 17% felt low personal accomplishment – the three recognised measures of burnout.”

Nurses in Ireland (79%) and England (39%)  in particular are working longer shift of 12 + however the highest was Poland with a staggering 99% of Nurses working 12 hours or longer. More than one in four of the entire sample (27%) had worked overtime on their last shift.

What do Longer Hours for Nurses Mean?

These 12 Hour Shifts are common place as they are believed to be the most efficient and desirable shifts for Nurses  which should therefore make Ireland’s Nurses more happy and less likely to leave their Jobs.

However this study suggest the exact opposite:  

For those working 12 + shifts 40% were dissatisfied with their job while 31 % had the intention to leave.

12 Hour Shifts are common place as they are believed to be the most efficient and desirable shifts for Nurses 

The Nursing Shortage in Ireland is reaching critical points as more and more Nurses turn elsewhere for work. Are these 12 Hour Shifts the cause?

Nurses working longer hours will lead to exhaustion making it unsafe for them and of course their patients. If 31% of Ireland’s Nurses have the intention to leave what does this mean for Ireland’s Hospitals?

Are shorter shifts the answer to Ireland’s Nursing Crisis?

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