Long Nursing Shifts Affect Patient Satisfaction Scores
By Jamie Davis
Apparently nurse burnout can lead to a lot of different things. In this particular study coming out of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, they report that nurses working 10 hour shifts or longer correlated to lower patient satisfaction scores.
Long Nursing Shifts Common
How many of you have done that before? Ten-hour shifts or longer? That’s a short shift for most of us. I think many nurses work in 12 hour shifts. Patients cared for by nurses in facilities with longer shift schedules were up to two and a half times more likely to express dissatisfaction with their hospital stays.
Here we are in the midst of this time when everything has to be about patient satisfaction with their care. When patients are dissatisfied with their care it affects our ratings with Medicare. When nurses work long shifts, it makes sense that they are more tired, especially the nurses working lots of overtime or picking up extra shifts. They become tired and that affects their entire manner and demeanor in dealing with patients. Even if they’re cordial and polite, their body language is not easily hidden from the patients and their families.
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
I applaud the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing for doing these kinds of research studies. Nearly 23,000 RNs took part in a study that included nurses from California, Florida, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. These states represent about 25% of the total population and about 20% of the annual hospitalizations in the U.S. This represents a significant number of our patients and nurses.
The authors were looking at patient satisfaction scores and correlating that with nurse hours and the amount of overtime worked. What they found was that there is a correlation with long hours and low patient satisfaction scores. Nurses who are tired or unhappy don’t care as well for their patients. It’s not their fault. It’s just they’re not at the top of their game.
Hospital Administrators Need Changes
I don’t how many studies there have to be before somebody raps the hospital administrator on the head and says, “Hey, we need to do something about this!”